Owl Opinions

Triggered & Cancelled – the Latest Art of Bullying

Triggered is a very common occurrence in today’s social media, nouveau activist environment. Between creating the trigger, getting triggered and responding to triggers there lie many chasms of difference.

Some time ago, an entity identifying as a semi-precious stone on X shared a post myself and another person had shared, blocked us both and gave the comment “do with this information what you will”. It was an article on trans people in sports that we had shared. Many sent me this post and I happened to be on a WhatsApp group of individuals that included trans people as well as the other person who shared the article. We were warned to beware of any backlash. This was quite absurd as the article was quite a balanced one, we are anything but TERFs and we do not discriminate against the trans community. What ensued on WhatsApp was a civil discussion with a trans person, myself and a few others. It was an insightful and informative take. This is what should have transpired on X. Instead, the semi-precious stone decided to make it an attack, inciting and inviting others to bully myself and the other person. She is lucky there was no backlash – I was already prepping lawyers to take legal action should there be the need to.

I will stand for the rights of those marginalised but I will not be bullied, harassed or abused by anyone. We are currently living in a society where we are treading on egg shells because what has happened is in a bid to become sensitised to those who have faced trauma, we have now become the sacrificial punching bags for those who are looking for an avenue to vent.

It is like me taking the stance that as a woman, I have been historically discriminated against by men, and therefore it gives me license to abuse men at will because I am “traumatised” and “triggered”. This is absurd – your trauma does not give you license to abuse others. Your trauma is yours and healing from it is your responsibility. In Sri Lanka, where to have social media access, internet and fluency in English is a privilege, those who are triggered should address their trauma with professionals. Not expect others on social media who they don’t even know, to take their abuse and excuse it and in the process be cancelled for it.

It is rather ironic that at a time when we are talking about tolerance, building bridges between communities, embracing differences and accepting all shades and hues, that we think it is perfectly legitimate to cancel a person for having a different point of view. You don’t need to agree with everyone and everyone does not need to accept you for them to exist on this earth. The answer to integration and bridging gaps is not to ostracise and vilify. It is to educate, raise awareness and accept that there will be those who do not see eye to eye with you. Even if it is a matter that needs to be legally addressed, there is a civil manner of doing it. You do not abuse people and destroy their lives because you don’t like how they think.

Recently, I was told about an incident where a person was bullied and made to apologise by a group of individuals who used their trauma as a tool to wield power over the said individual. It was truly horrifying hearing this story because it showed how much people would abuse and misuse their own trauma for personal gain. I advised the person concerned to seek legal counsel and action. There is a reason prisoners are treated in a humane manner – because it a sign of a civilised society that understands that people are not black and white. Yet in the trauma, trigger happy, woke – cancel brigade, all these civil norms have been thrown to the gallows. What now prevails is a threat of abuse at the hands of the abused – this is a vicious cycle and it needs to be regulated, curtailed and managed within the legal and civil norms of a society.


Meet Lilanka
“what is meant to be comes about of what one does”.
An eclectic personality with a penchant for creativity, Lilanka is an old soul who loves life, laughter and stepping off the beaten track. She finds joy in nature, travelling and venting her existential frustrations via her writing while calming her body with food and her soul with music. Her motto is – “what is meant to be comes about of what one does”.
A collection of eclectic expressions from life according to Lilanka Botejue. From her creative outbursts and passionate views to her love for nature, food, music and archaeology, Owl Muses is an attempt to capture these moments in time.
Follow @ instagram