Can we get real for a minute?

Getting Real

Yesterday I did not blog . I wanted to because I had much to say but I needed time to get my emotions in order so the words I had to say made sense.

I’ve been watching a series on Netflix called 13 Reasons Why. The first season dealt with a girl named Hannah Baker who took her life. Each episode of the first season deals with one person who she feels played a part in the reason for her death. She recorded cassettes before she died and everyone on each tape has to listen to all 13 tapes then pass it on to the next person. It was heartbreaking and so real.

Then seasons two comes along. **SPOILERS AHEAD** The season deals with the aftermath of Hannah’s death from season 1. The memorial for Hannah, the parents breaking up because the father cheated, the ongoing bullying, the school totally being responsible and yet not getting blamed in court, rebellion, all out fighting in the school halls, vandalism, guns, and of course lots of drugs and alcohol because hey we’re dealing with teenagers right?! The coverups and the lying. SO MUCH LYING!!!

And then there is Tyler and Bryce. These were the characters that bothered me the most throughout the second season. Bryce is a rich kid with parents who constantly leave him home because they are always off in the world doing something or other and they have been doing this most of his life. He is a sick bastard who rapes girls, drugs girls, and even takes pictures of all his conquests. One of the girls finally stands up to him and takes him to court. And you know what this bastard gets?! Three freaking months of probation. NO JAIL TIME!!! Seriously WTF?! But we all know it’s because he comes from a rich family. His former best friend Justin gets 6 months in juvenile detention for knowing it was going on but not doing anything about it!! Naturally it’s because Justin is poor and comes from a broken home. Again WTF?!

**GRAPHIC CONTENT AHEAD***

Tyler is kind of an outcast and he finally finds some friends at school that are also outcasts who initially support him against the jocks who are bullying him. But eventually Tyler goes a little too far and the crew abandons him. Tyler is sent away to get some help. He comes back seemingly doing better. But the kids he was friends with before being sent away still don’t want to be friends, and the girl he liked was now dating someone else. Tyler told the truth in court about the bullying going on in school. Naturally because of what Tyler did as well as some other students he is still a target when he returns to school from this program. So on his first day back some jocks grab Tyler and shove him into the bathroom. They hit his head against the sink and then shove his head into the toilet several times. Then they hold him down while another jock shoves a mop handle up Tyler’s buttocks as far as it will go.

I was not prepared for this scene.

Honestly I thought they were going to drown him in the water or beat the shit out of him. I was not expecting this and it really shook me to the core. I’ve been a victim of rape and sexual assault unfortunately more then once. I am not ashamed to share this because I have survived these attacks and become a more compassionate individual and advocate because of it. Do I wish it had never happened? One hundred million times over YES! I have chronic anxiety and it is very difficult for me to go out into the community alone. I am making progress but it’s still scary.

I can handle watching shows like Law and Order Special Victims Unit which deals with sexual assault crimes. I love Criminal Minds which deals with serial killers and why they do what they do. But for some reason this shook me to my core. I mean I literally was crying, shaking, and felt like I was going to vomit. It triggered so many emotions at once I didn’t know what to do with myself. I couldn’t even put into words later how I felt when trying to explain it to my husband. I felt so violated watching that.

And then Tyler goes home from school and DOESN’T TELL ANYONE!! And you know why? Because he did the first time and NOTHING CHANGED! In fact it made it worse. And unfortunately this is the reality kids face today. There is no break from the bullying. You go to school, it’s there. You go out in your neighborhood, still there. Online bullying is sometimes worse then in person because people feel more empowered behind a screen. I wish I knew the answers about what to do for these kids now. When I was growing up I was bullied unmercifully both verbally and physically. But it stopped when I got home.

The show is excellent and I highly recommend it. I would definitely be careful watching it if you are easily triggered by self-harm, suicide, or discussions about or viewing sexual assault. I strongly recommend watching with someone who cares about you and who you can trust.