When I first started to procrastinate studying last week by starting 13 Reasons Why, I had absolutely no idea what to expect. I had never read the book nor did I watch the trailer, but after the first episode I was instantly hooked. Initially, I was confused. I wondered where Clay fit into the whole story, who the rest of the tapes were about, but most importantly- was Hannah telling the truth? But tape after tape I was anxious to finally hear Clay’s tape and understand why he was one of the reasons in the first place. I wanted answers but more importantly, I wanted to see justice being served.
What made the show so addicting was the reality of it all. The story shows the real effects of bullying, slut-shaming, sexual assault, and the signs of suicide. Hannah Baker didn’t kill herself for one reason, but 13 reasons constantly piling up and making her feel like ending her life was the only solution. The show’s characters don’t hold back on language, drugs and alcohol, but more importantly the show doesn’t breeze over sexual assault. They show as much as appropriately possible, truly showing just how much of a horrifying experience it really is for the victim.
13 Reasons Why also makes note to talk about something equally as bad- doing absolutely nothing. In Zach’s tape, although he had a decent heart, when Hannah poured her heart out to him on how she was feeling, he did nothing. He had the chance to get her help and possibly save her life, but he simply ignored the note and Hannah. Even when she tried to get help before she killed herself and reach out to a counselor, his advice to her was to simply “move on” if she didn’t plan on pressing charges. Not only did Zach and Mr. Bryce have the opportunity to help her, but so did everyone else on those tapes. They all could have helped her if only they did something, rather than just sitting and ignoring it all.
While the show definitely gave me some moments of tears, all was made bearable with the company of an amazing soundtrack. The producers, including singer and actress Selena Gomez, created a soundtrack of not just cruising-on-the-highway-at-midnight songs, but inspirational lift-me-ups as well.
It’s important to note that if you ever have experienced sexual abuse, have suicidal thoughts or know anyone who has had any of these experiences- please reach out. You are not alone and people are here to help.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline- (800) 273-8255
DuPage County Crisis Services- (630) 627-1700
Linden Oaks at Edwards Hospital- 24 hour help line: (630) 305-5027
The Benedictine Counseling Center is located on the main level of the Krasa Student Center, Room 112. To schedule an appointment, call (630) 829-1800 or stop by during office hours. Office hours are Monday-Friday, 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m