My thoughts on 13 Reasons Why and why you shouldn’t turn away

Almost every day, I hear another person talking about the new Netflix series 13 Reasons Why. Usually I hear something along the lines of someone asking what 13 Reasons Why is about and then a viewer saying “It’s about a girl who kills herself and leaves behind tapes of why she did it!” a little too happily.

It’s not that I have a problem with the show or people wanting to watch it. I haven’t seen the series but I have read the book and although it’s been many years since then, I remember also being pretty engrossed in it.

What I do have a problem with is the way that some viewers are talking about it. In a sense, I almost feel like they are taking it lightly and that the whole issue of suicide and rape is being glorified when it shouldn’t be.

I want people to realize that 13 Reasons Why is real life. It isn’t just another Netflix series to be super excited about. It’s real and it’s happening. Every. Single. Day.

I tell you this now because I know. I’ve been there too many times to count. Fortunately, I have great friends, family, and a medical team that have talked me down from that cliff.

While I haven’t watched and may never watch the sexual assault scenes in 13 Reasons Why, I encourage people who can watch them, to watch them. I know they may be graphic as I’ve heard and very uncomfortable but that’s okay. They should be. However, they shouldn’t be cut out and I’m glad they aren’t.

As a survivor of sexual assault, I know that what survivors go through is not something that can be hidden or cut out. It’s uncomfortable and it’s scary and it’s traumatic and it’s there. I can’t cut out those scenes in my head any more than they should have in 13 Reasons Why.

I encourage you to watch those scenes if you can. Even if they make you extremely uncomfortable which they should. Don’t turn your head away or fast forward through it.

I am only saying this because I think that if you truly want to understand what Hannah was going through, then you have to watch the good and the bad. You will have to spend time grappling with it after you finish the episode and that’s ok.

I applaud Jay Asher for writing a book and the producers for creating a show that will help people better understand bullying, suicide, and sexual assault. I think it is important that viewers understand how impactful 13 Reasons Why will be for our culture and I hope if you watch the show, you will realize that it’s not just another Netflix series. It’s happening and it’s real.


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