We Need to Talk About '13 Reasons Why'

We need to talk about 13 Reasons Why. More specifically, what happened to Jessica and Hannah.

*Major Spoilers ahead*

13 Reasons Why has to be one of the most gut wrenching things I have ever come across, and yet I couldn't look away. Something a lot of you can relate to, I'm sure.

Days after finishing the series, I still can't get parts of it out of my brain. It was the sexual assault themes that kept me up at night.

You probably have someone in your life that every single character reminds you of. Yes, even Bryce. The past two weeks have been filled with news stories of people relating to the bullying and the feeling of being alone at one point in their youth. What surprised me the most about all of the attention and press surrounding the show was how little people were talking about the rape and sexual assualt. 

I have scrolled though countless videos, pictures, and tweets about bullying and encouraging people to treat each other better, but I could count the articles or posts I've seen about the sexual assaults on one hand. Nobody wants to talk about rape even when it's thrown in our faces. I want to tell y'all what all of this taught me, but mostly I just want to start a conversation because sometimes that's all it takes. 

When Bryce raped Jessica, I remember sitting in my bed mortified for this fictional character who was being violated and whose life would never be the same. A person's body is just that. It is THEIR body, not anyone else’s. What's almost worse than that is how her boyfriend, Justin, thought it was more important to protect his friend Bryce than protecting his girlfriend. So rather than turn him in or making him stop, Justin lied and said it didn't happen (but that's a whole different plot of the show).

Let's just get one thing straight: a girl's body, no matter how she's dressed or how much she has had to drank, is still HER body, not someone else's play thing. I was so broken up for this girl that wasn't even real. I started looking for people on social media who related to me and how I felt about the situation (like why Hannah didn't hit the POS in the head with a lamp), but I found next to nothing. So I continued watching.

Then Hannah's rape came. I guess I should've started this article with the fact that I read the book at an age when the severity and all of the emotions that come with sexaul assault were a foreign language to me. Since then, I have seen the pain of sexual assault and rape first hand, second hand, third hand, anyway you want to look at it. I couldn't believe how graphic the scene was and how it seemed to go on forever, making me all the more uncomfortable (which was the point). Again, I searched the web for someone who was as bothered by this as I was, and again, my search came up virtually empty. 

Rape and sexual assault are two of the most damaging things that can happen in a person’s life. As a society, we don't talk about it enough, and it goes unreported when it happens because the victims don't want to be called liars, that they were asking for it, or my personal favorite, "she's a slut anyway." Why is it more important to protect the quarterback’s reputation over the girl he assaulted? Why does what a girl is wearing have any affect on her rape?

We have to stop treating rape and sexual assault this way. According to RAINN.Org, someone is assaulted every 98 seconds in the United States alone, and 9/10 of all rape victims are female. The more staggering statistics though comes when you start to look into how many cases get reported and how many of those perpetrators get incarcerated. I'll give you a hint, its about 33/1000. This has to stop. We have to talk about it.

13 Reasons Why gave us the perfect outlet to get the conversation going about the seriousness of sexual assault. Rape and sexual assault will continue to happen until we all decide to do something about it. It starts by talking about it, even if it is uncomfortable.

13 Reasons Why put sexual assault and rape out there in a way that was so detailed and graphic, we couldn't look away, and yet, we still can't or won't talk about it.

For anyone who has experienced rape or sexuual assault in anyway, you are not alone. I'm sorry it is taking a TV show shoving it in the world's face as graphically as possible for the conversation to start, but at least they did it that way so maybe people will understand how serious of a problem this really is. I'm going to tip my hat in their direction for putting it out there for the world to see. 

Hopefully we can keep the conversation about sexual assault going.

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted and needs help, here is a link to the National Sexual Assault Hotline

 

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