Don’t we all wish that every person who ever wronged us would confess their guilt, whether it be in comfort of a simple vent session between friends or the awkward stares in a courtroom where they are sworn to the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help them God. Wouldn’t it be nice to have all the traumatic events that haunt our dreams have some closure? Well, that dream is a distant one in the case of most sexual assault victims. Most of the people in this world that have suffered through the coping process of rebuilding their lives after such an event, still live with the ache and pain every single day. An ache that shakes a person to the core and causes issues later in life.
The controversial-hit TV series that rattled the nation, 13 Reasons Why is what some of those apart of the younger generations are calling their “anthem”. Anthem through the exposure of the raw and ugly truth that is High School. This TV series follows the unveiling of the events and pain a young girl named Hannah Baker (played by Katherine Langford) suffered before taking her own life, and the connections between fellow classmates and other influences in her life all seen through the eyes of a boy named Clay Jenson (played by Dylan Minnette). Who believed Hannah to be perfect and he was completely smitten by her. He becomes obsessed with bringing her death justice by bringing a rapist forward and while doing so tried to shed some light on the real things that happen in high school. The cruelty of fellow students, and how the whispers that turn to text messages then to tweets and so on to forever become a person’s label, the only thing they are remembered for, their mistakes become their history. After the airing of the first season stipulation and controversy rooted into the hearts of concerned parents and guardians throughout the nation with claims of how the show is glorifying suicide and rape. Where there are quite a few very graphic and dark scenes where the sexual assaults and suicides have been shown with full detail, there is also deep and reviling dialogue that a large majority of the youth in this world have found relatable.
Season 2 takes place over several days of a trail where the Bakers are suing the school district for their negligence in connecting for Hannah Bakers attempt of suicide due to bullying in their school. The episodes include the testimonies of the students and people on the tapes or mentioned in the tapes left by Hannah Baker in Season 1. While having thought to set the record for shock as the highest in Television history they shattered their own standards in Season 2. Where the internal issues of homosexuality and the whispers of fellow classmates and other struggles teenagers can face in high school are shown for all to watch. Through a series of shocking twists and turns the audience learns about the not so perfect past and mistakes left behind the by an “innocent girl” who has her story plastered all over small town America.
One of the most compelling aspects about the second season of 13 Reasons Why is the way the schools team of attorneys attack the memory of a young girl and the reason behind her death. The reason it stuck out amongst the other obvious debatable topics to me is because the glaring truth of how the school system has obvious corruption. Where rather than accept blame and at least some responsibility in their part of Hannah Baker’s death the school district would rather tarnish the name of a girl who felt so sad and alone she took her own life. Which, sadly holds truth in more than in just the fictional worlds we see on TV. But all over the country school districts and private institutions hide behind the demand of those signing their paychecks and funding them or the lack thereof. Essentially refuse to help so many of those who cry out for help. I know from first hand experience, I was bullied heavily in my junior high and high school years and in my time of need I found no help within my school or local resources. Many times I was called a liar and I should’t “stretch the truth and bend it to my own will”.
While this TV series has forever made a statement when it comes to the things children go through in high school and the severity of depression that can overcome teenagers. It’s hard to try to make situations that are so ugly and hard to face understandable for someone who wasn’t there or wasn’t in your head. The most important message to be taken from watching this show or reading about it online is that ignorance is the worst disease and while prevention is the most desired result one must learn about the issue and try to stand in someone else’s shoes rather be quick to judge and play down the severity of someones cry for help.