Missing the Point of “13 Reasons Why”

So I’ve been reading everyone’s comments and posts on Facebook.  And people are completely ignoring a big point in the series 13 Reasons Why.  This is your fair warning: spoiler alert!

I understand that Hannah killing herself can be triggering.  I get that, I really do.  If suicide is triggering to you, please do not watch this.  But if not, you need to watch.  And get the point.

But people keep talking about the “bullying” and how the show sends such a good message about it.   And how eye opening it is.  And I’m just like, was….was that all you got from it?  I’m not sure if people are too polite to talk about it or what.  But a big huge freaking deal that the whole damn movie centers around is not being talked about.  So I will.

Hannah Baker was raped.  After being raped she wanted to end her life.  Sure, there are some other things that contributed to this, but this is what put her over the edge.  She was still dealing with all the other factors and obstacles that came up.  She was fighting through them.  But the rape is a different story.

I see a lot of people hinting at it but no one is directly talking about it.  Women have raved about the show.  And I think that is because even if they aren’t a victim of sexual abuse, they have had derogatory remarks made to them that just make them feel gross and want to crawl out of their skin.  Every single one of them has a friend or family member that has gone through it whether they know so or not.  So they can appreciate what the show is about.

You see the life go out of her.  A part of her died and you can see it happen.  And that’s what I think is the most important part of this story.  The part that I haven’t seen anyone really talk talk about up front.

You so often hear about fraternities and likewise being charged for rape.  The fact that people can even commit an act like this, laughing it off with friends is truly disgusting.  Just this week I have heard about football players being suspended for it.  It is an epidemic.  Yes, I am going to call it that.  An epidemic.  One which people are rarely given a sentence they deserve.

Look at Brock Turner.  That slime ball was caught by two other males and held down until cops came.  And he got off.  They always get off.  And then his sweet old dad pens a letter saying that prison would be “a steep price to pay for his 20 minutes of action.” No regard whatsoever for the woman involved.  None at all.  There was outcry, outrage.  What changed?  Nothing.  We just continue down the rabbit hole, getting a president that “grabs ’em by their pussy.”

This is the sad reality.  This is the state of America.  Powerful people in powerful places consider women their toys, their objects to use at will.  This isn’t a Sims game.  We have free will.  We can tell you no and you will need to deal with it.

I think that if more boys saw this show, if you catch them at a younger age and show them what a truly despicable act this is, they may think twice as they grow older.  I have many male friends that are as disgusted by cases like Brock Turner as I am.  But there are far more in higher places that honestly don’t give a shit.  Those people hold offices, are judges, the president.  Maybe if we caught them young, the excuses would stop.  Maybe the questioning of clothing, morals, or alcohol of the survivor would fucking stop.  Look at Jessica in 13 Reasons Why.  She had no idea what happened to her.  Look how it still destroyed her when she found out.  You can see the downhill spiral of them both.

Hannah reaches out to her counselor Mr. Porter and tries to talk to him about it.  Knowing he did something wrong he hid talking to her at all the entire time.   He questioned her the way many women are in regards to drugs and alcohol telling her to “let it go.” If you watch the tidbit after the show where the actors and directors talk about making the movie, one of them says “it’s okay to admit that Hannah kind of set up Mr. Porter.”  Apparently in regards to his comments.  I was appalled at that comment.  She didn’t set him up.  He didn’t listen, he didn’t want to hear, period.  This guy missed some of the point of this and he took part in creating the damn show.  Listening without blaming is so incredibly important.  Especially as a counselor.  This was his job.  You have be trained to be a counselor at the school.  He knew how he should have reacted to the news.  He knew what he should have done and that he should have reported it.  He did nothing.  But he was not set up.

Things snowballed from there.  Other things contributed to Hannah’s suicide but it was the rape that set it in motion.  Rape affects your life forever.  FOREVER.  You can work on things and have times where you don’t think about it at all.  But it subconsciously affects you as well.  If Hannah were to live, she may have problems with intimate relationships, sex, being alone, checking behind her shoulder, and in constant fight or flight mode.  She might cry out of no where.  Certain items, smells, colors, time of day, places may take her back to that horrible day.  She may have problems trusting people.  Should she have children or a siblings, she may be extremely over protective.  But she didn’t.  Hannah killed herself.

She did not kill herself because of bullying.  Though bullying is a big message in this show as well, it is not THE message.  She killed herself because she was raped.  Because someone had sex with her, without her permission, while she was crying.  She killed herself because people didn’t listen.  Because she just wanted that awful feeling in her stomach to end.  Because she wanted the pain to stop.  Because she was told to let it go.  So she did, in the only way she knew how.

I am not by any means promoting suicide.  But that is the decision that many people, men, women, and everyone in between, land on after a rape.  It is horrible and not the answer.  But this is why it is so important for people to respond correctly if someone admits a rape to you.  To stand by them, love them, uplift them.  They are going to feel terrible.  Be there for them.

And men take note.  This epidemic can stop with you.  Educate each other about it.  There are constant reminders of the torment women are put through all throughout this series. Stop it if you witness it.  Your pride and popularity is not worth more than someone’s dignity.

Did you see it?  The part where she dies inside?  Where the life goes out of her and her eyes go dull.  That’s the most important part of this show.  That is exactly what it feels like.  Remember that.


A Survivor


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