Protothema recently put up an article titled: 'Delicate Columbia Uni students say Ancient Greek myths 'trigger' pain'. According to the article, it seems that 'Columbia University students can handle Hollywood, but are too sensitive for rape, pederasty, bestiality and incest as depicted in Ancient Greek mythology'.

Students at Columbia University published an editorial complaining about Hellenic mythology being studied in one of their classes. They said that the texts “can be difficult to read and discuss as a survivor, a person of colour or a student from a low-income background.” They stated that the texts trigger toxicity. Specifically, the students wrote:

"During the week spent on Ovid’s 'Metamorphoses,' the class was instructed to read the myths of Persephone and Daphne, both of which include vivid depictions of rape and sexual assault. As a survivor of sexual assault, the student described being triggered while reading such detailed accounts of rape throughout the work. However, the student said her professor focused on the beauty of the language and the splendour of the imagery when lecturing on the text. As a result, the student completely disengaged from the class discussion as a means of self-preservation. She did not feel safe in the class. When she approached her professor after class, the student said she was essentially dismissed, and her concerns were ignored.
Ovid’s 'Metamorphoses' is a fixture of Lit Hum, but like so many texts in the Western canon, it contains triggering and offensive material that marginalizes student identities in the classroom. These texts, wrought with histories and narratives of exclusion and oppression, can be difficult to read and discuss as a survivor, a person of colour, or a student from a low-income background."

Look, I have never been raped or otherwise sexually assaulted. I am as white as they come and while my parents were not wealthy, I always had food, and we went on vacation every three or four years or so. Besides the fact that Ovid was a Roman writer who made things appear ten times more brutal than they actually were in Hellenic myth (so bad teacher for teaching Ovid!), I can understand how reading Hellenic mythology without proper explanation and introduction to Hellenic culture can be a triggering experience, at least on sexual assault. I hope other readers can inform me how ancient Hellenic mythology is triggering to POC's and people from low-income households. I don't have the expertise to comment. I asked one of my black friends and she looked at me funny so... take from that what you will.

That said, this is not the way to look at Hellenic mythology. Especially on rape in Hellenic mythology, I have written a really lengthy piece, detailing that context matter extremely. I cannot and will not judge on what triggers or does not trigger survivors. Not ever. If something triggers you in class, you should be able to reach out to your teacher and you should be able to work something out. But I do want to say that mythological stories are not fairytales. They are meant to teach and show the darker side of life as well as the light. It's supposed to cautionary as well as a teaching aid. And again, context matters. Mythology cannot be viewed separately from the culture in which it originated. The culture dictated many of the stories and offered explanations for why this behaviour took place.

For those who read the article, I wanted to offer these words and give a space for discussion, if need be. It's a complicated issue as I put much value in personal truth, but on the other hand, these beautiful tales that I love deeply are not meant to trigger. They are meant to teach. They are meant to warn, inspire, thrill, and foster respect for the power of the Gods. And in the proper context, that is what they do. So invest in the context, please, before missing out of their beauty.