Numerous articles have surfaced about 13 Reasons Why and its controversies surrounding suicide... but did we almost miss an opportunity to speak about another important topic...sexual assault? Also on Netflix is “13 Reasons - Beyond the Reasons”, which offers some excellent insight but can be easily missed by being packaged separately from the series. It almost could have had more impact for viewers (and possibly even combat all that controversy) if small spinets followed each episode in the series. Regardless, here are some words from the cast and creators about sexual assault...
Photo: Her Campus Media, Boston University.
"So many victims [of assault] are afraid to come forward because immediately the victim shaming starts, and oftentimes is worse than the initial assault".
"[People reporting assault] have their entire character judged and criticized".
"Very rarely do we show the bravery and the candour, and the pain that exists on the other side of being a survivor [of sexual assault], and how deeply damaging that is...which is both seen with Hannah and Jessica".
"When you are in that position [having been assaulted], it can be so hard to reach out because you don’t want to burden someone and you don’t think people want to listen, or you don’t think that people care".
"The challenge for Hannah is that she would have had to have the strength to describe what had happened to her, and the courage and determination to label it rape to get [the guidance counsellor's] attention, and she was not able to do that. And that is not her fault".
"Sexual assault comes with so much shame on top of the pain, on top of the violation that for victims to talk about it is incredibly hard and takes an incredibly safe space and someone who is very skilled in making it possible for the victims to talk about it".
Fight. Flight. Freeze. - Trauma Response
"Whenever someone is faced with a major trauma, they have the fight, flight or freeze response. They will either fight their way out of it, run away from it, or freeze. And especially if they have accumulated trauma in the past, then the more likely response will be that they freeze. And that is what happened with Hannah".
"She may have even dissociated a bit. A lot of times victims of trauma talk about feeling apart from their body".
13 Reasons Why | Beyond The Reasons
Toronto Distress Centres 408 Help Line
Toronto Rape Crisis Centre