Trigger Warning: Victims of sexual assault and those who have struggled with self-injury and/or suicidal thoughts probably shouldn't read this. All you need to know is that I don't think you should watch the show. If you are currently struggling with suicidal thoughts, PLEASE call 1-800-273-8255 (USA) or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org to get help. The world needs you!
13 Reasons Why, a Netflix original series about a girl who ultimately commits suicide, has been blowing up my news feed lately. It came out a couple of months ago, and I'm still seeing videos and blog posts about it. I was hesitant to watch it because experts said it was bad news, but curiosity finally won out and I watched it. I knew I probably shouldn't, but I did anyways. I wish I hadn't.
The first few episodes were relatively innocuous. They were about the more minor slights that ultimately drove the main character to suicide. I can actually see the value in showing these episodes to teenagers to give them an idea of the impact their thoughtless words can have on others. Past that, though, the show went way too far.
One of the main things I hated about the show was the fact that it showed two different rapes happening right there on the screen. A) That can be very traumatic for survivors of sexual assault to witness, and B) those are not images that I can easily get out of my head. They flash by at unbidden and have even interfered with my connection with my husband in a small way. It's not a major problem, but it's one I wish I had avoided.
The rape scenes were hard to watch, but I got through them. What broke me was the graphic on-screen suicide. It shows her very violently slitting her wrists. I watched the first slash and covered my eyes, suddenly and completely devastated. The depiction touched a nerve so deep I didn't think it was there anymore, but I fell apart for hours. I couldn't function. I was lucky enough to have a loving, compassionate husband there to hold me, but a lot of people aren't that lucky, and they would have to go through that alone.
Many of you know that I used to suffer from self-injury, something that hasn't been a part of my life for over five years now. But knowing that I have held a knife to my own skin and watching her wreck hers was hell. They should not have shown it on screen. Experts warned them not to, and they did it anyways, probably for shock value. Well shock it did. It's been something I've been actively fighting to get out of my mind for days. (Don't worry, I am completely safe and not in danger of a relapse or of committing suicide myself. I'm just feeling deeply disturbed by what I have seen.)
In short, don't watch this show. It's so graphic and so devastating, and you just don't need to see it. ESPECIALLY if you have been through any of the things the main character went through or felt any of the things she felt. Be good to one another. Set an example for teens in your circle of influence and teach them that their actions can have grave consequences. Listen to and love anyone who is hurting. And skip 13 Reasons Why.