This post contains spoilers about 13 Reasons Why, Season 2 from Netflix.
I’ve finished watching “13 Reasons Why” season 2, and as a way to digest the themes in the show Netflix put together an addendum “Beyond the Reasons”. The series is meant to raise awareness on suicide prevention as well as depression, anxiety, rape, gun violence and bullying. To learn more click here, to learn about gun safety. They did this with Season 1 after there was a bit of an uproar around the notion that the show glamourised teen suicide by showing not just one suicide but also an attempted suicide, and they have continued it after Season 2 to help talk through some of the heavy topics it contains.
Season 2 of “13 Reasons Why” includes more depictions of sexual violence, drug use, gang-violence, gun-violence (though thankfully thwarted on both attempts), teen abandonment, victims facing their abusers, and so much more. So there is a lot to talk though.
It’s great to see the show was so entrenched in the idea of reality and care that they had counsellors and therapists on the set to talk to the actors about what they would face in each scene before it happened and to wind down the actors after the scenes were complete. I imagine some of the scenes were very hard to film.
One series of events this season revolved around Hannah, the catalyst for the show, having a loving and consensual relationship with Zack, which included sex. A relationship ending when it became obvious to Hannah that Zack was more interested in keeping up appearances with his friends than making their relationship public.
Well in the events of season 1, when Hannah is raped by Bryce in the hot tub, we’re pretty much lead to believe she is a virgin, but season 2 reveals this not to be the case by letting us know about the relationship she had with Zack the summer previous.
The disappoint real-life thing is that Kathryn Langford, who plays Hannah, says she has been approached by people who said to her upon learning Hannah wasn’t in fact a virgin “so that means the thing that happened with Hannah and Bryce doesn’t mean that much anymore.” And I was like WHAT! Why would people say such a thing.
Kathryn went on to say she would hope that viewers would take away that just because Hannah had had sex with Zack, doesn’t change the severity of what Bryce did, it doesn’t matter what your sexual history has been makes sexual violence any more acceptable. And how true is that.
I was sad to think that people think that a person who is sexually active would feel any different about being raped. Rape, any form of sexual violence, isn’t about sex, it’s about power, it is an act of violence, one that nothing can prepare you for.
Compassion should always be the response to a declaration of pain. Embrace the ones you love.
The other gut-wrenching part of the show is when Hannah’s mum, Olivia, played by Kate Walsh, hands Clay a sheet of paper with the reasons “Why not”, on which there were “11 Reasons Why Not”. Olivia then confirms with with Clay that he knows there are ALWAYS more “Reasons Why Not”.
So our second big point to take away from the show is there are always more reasons why not. Go on and live your life, live your truth, and live it right. Reach out to your friends and family, reach out to support services, in Australia you can contact:
- Kids Help Line: 1800 55 1800
- Lifeline: 13 11 14
No person should get to a point where they feel their only option is death. We only have one life, it’s the most precious thing, make yours great.