I’ve been thinking a lot before even beginning to write what I have in my mind. To be frank, I have asked myself many times what my main goal of running my own website is? Freedom and independence? What value does this bring to you or someone else? If, let’s say, I cover one particular movie or do an interview, will that keep you interested enough to continue going through it? Maybe one single line somewhere written by me may ignite in you a new and brilliant idea? I don’t know if I’m being honest with you.
But one thing I know for a fact is that certain movies or series I cover here do leave an impact in my life. Some I let just go, but some stay with me like they’re a part of my soul. Today hearing another school shooting in Texas that claimed 10 lives, I could not help myself but ask one question after seeing the face of a suspect – What if that life-changing decision he made could have been prevented? Why on earth did he need to spare the life of people he liked just because he wanted them to share his story?
What I am going to say next is something you may not hear often, but I humbly ask you to not judge me for anything you read from now on. My intention is not to defend the shooter, but rather get deep into the real cause that made this young man take the gun of his father, head towards the school and do that inhumane act. But when I try to draw parallels between reality and fictional story in Netflix’s “13 Reasons Why” I no longer know if the world we live in is real or just fiction. But I truly like to picture what would’ve happened if Hannah Baker had made another decision to take the lives of those who hurt her but spare her own…
Hannah Baker from “13 Reasons Why” slit her wrists and bled to death. But before she committed suicide, she recorded 12 tapes providing 13 reasons why she killed herself. First, she starts with Justin. Then Jessica, who both have broken her heart. Alex, Tyler, Courtney, Marcus have contributed in destroying her reputation. Bryce Walker is the man who broke her soul by not only treating her as if she was trash, but raped her, while at the end of season one says to Clay that, “every girl in the school wants to be raped.” And Clay, the young man who should not have been on that list, but was necessary to capture the deadly chain that begins from the moment when he loses his courage to do the right thing.
Now leaving aside the storyline, it makes more sense to jump into the concept of “13 reasons Why” and try to provide specific reasons why it’s the only show that’s uncompromising when it comes to uncovering the reality of school bullying, the way the school tries to hide it, or how they enable such a thing to happen what happened to Hannah Baker and to many other teenagers in real life who have to either kill themselves or kill the one who caused the pain.
Let’s do the simple math – Alex, Tyler, Courtney, Marcus, Bryce Walker, Justin, Sheri, Zach, Jessica and Mr. Porter are reasons why Hannah had to give up her own life even when she could have, albeit good that she did not, taken a gun and make another decision. But what Hannah Baker does is truly astounding, heart-wrenching, powerful, painful but yet necessary. At some point she knew she won’t be able to move on with her life, and no matter how hard I tried, it felt right to agree with her because who wouldn’t if they were in her shoes? However, her tapes serve as proof that nothing can be as powerful as the truth, but what can be done in order to have the truth protected and come out as soon as the change arises?
By getting back to the individuals that have helped greatly in order for Hannah to rush with her decision, the message she sends through her death to those who decided to leave behind is what every school, every teacher, every parent and every kid must learn from. And by saying learning does not mean to do exactly what Hannah did, but begin recognizing the signs today rather than tomorrow when it can be too late. But what are those signs and how can we notice them is why “13 Reasons Why” should be used as a great reference to prevent a tragedy from occurring ahead of time.
According to numbers provided by Axios, these are the 10 deadliest school shootings since Columbine (15 deaths) which are quite alarming and horrifying:
- 2007 Virginia Tech University, Blacksburg, Va. — 33 deaths
- 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School, Newtown, Conn. — 27 deaths
- 2018 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Parkland, Fla. — 17 deaths
- 2015 Umpqua Community College, Roseburg, Ore. — 10 deaths
- 2018 Santa Fe High School, Santa Fe, Tex.— 10 deaths
- 2005 Red Lake Senior High School, Red Lake, Minn. — 7 deaths
- 2012 Oikos University, Oakland, Calif. — 7 deaths
- 2006 West Nickel Mines School, Bart Township, Penn. — 6 deaths
- 2008 Northern Illinois University, Dekalb, Ill. — 6 deaths
- 2014 Marysville Pilchuck High School, Marysville, Wa. — 5 deaths
According to National Voices for Equality, Education, and Enlightenment Supports below are the bullying statistics:
- Every 7 MINUTES a child is bullied. Adult intervention – 4%. Peer intervention – 11%. No intervention – 85%.
- Biracial and multiracial youth are more likely to be victimized than youth who identify with a single race.
- Bullied students tend to grow up more socially anxious, with less self-esteem and require more mental health services throughout life.
- Only 7% of U.S. parents are worried about cyberbullying; yet 33% of teenagers have been victims of cyberbullying
- Kids who are obese, gay, or have disabilities are up to 63% more likely to be bullied than other children.
- 1 MILLION children were harassed, threatened or subjected to other forms of cyberbullying on FACEBOOK during the past year.
- 86% of students said, “other kids picking on them, making fun of them or bullying them” causes teenagers to turn to lethal violence in schools.
- It is estimated that 160,000 children miss school every day due to fear of attack or intimidation by other students. Source: National Education Association.
- American schools harbor approximately 2.1 million bullies and 2.7 million of their victims. Dan Olweus, National School Safety Center.
- Suicide remains among the leading causes of death of children under 14. In most cases, the young people die from hanging.
- Suicide rates among 10 to 14-year-olds have grown more than 50 percent over the last three decades. (The American Association of Suicidology, AAS)
- A new review of studies from 13 countries found signs of an apparent connection between bullying, being bullied, and suicide. (Yale School of Medicine)
- Suicide rates among children between the ages of 10 & 14 are very low, but are “creeping up.” (Ann Haas, Director of the Suicide Prevention Project at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention)
- The suicide rate among young male adults in Massachusetts rose 28 percent in 2007. However, that does not reflect deaths among teenagers and students Carl’s age. (Massachusetts Dept. of Public Health, in a report released April 8, 2009)
- Since 2002, at least 15 schoolchildren ages 11 to 14 have committed suicide in Massachusetts. Three of them were Carl’s age. (“Constantly Bulled, He Ends His Life at Age 11,” by Milton J. Valencia. The Boston Globe, April 20, 2009)
- Suicide rates among 10 to 14-year-olds have grown more than 50 percent over the last three decades. (The American Association of Suicidology, AAS)
- In 2005 (the last year nationwide stats were available), 270 children in the 10-14 age group killed themselves. (AAS)
- 1 in 7 Students in Grades K-12 is either a bully or a victim of bullying.
- 56% of students have personally witnessed some type of bullying at school.
- 15% of all school absenteeism is directly related to fears of being bullied at school.
- 71% of students report incidents of bullying as a problem at their school.
- 1 out of 20 students has seen a student with a gun at school.
- 282,000 students are physically attacked in secondary schools each month.
- Those in the lower grades reported being in twice as many fights as those in the higher grades. However, there is a lower rate of serious violent crimes in the elementary level than in the middle or high schools.
- 90% of 4th through 8th graders report being victims of bullying.
- Among students, homicide perpetrators were more than twice as likely as homicide victims to have been bullied by peers.
- Bullying statistics say revenge is the strongest motivation for school shootings.
- 87% of students said shootings are motivated by a desire to “get back at those who have hurt them.”
- 86% of students said, “other kids picking on them, making fun of them or bullying them” causes teenagers to turn to lethal violence in the schools.
- 61% of students said students shoot others because they have been victims of physical abuse at home.
- 54% of students said witnessing physical abuse at home can lead to violence in school.
- According to bullying statistics, 1 out of every 10 students who drops out of school does so because of repeated bullying.
- Harassment and bullying have been linked to 75% of school-shooting incidents.
LGBT BULLYING STATISTICS
- In a 2007 study, 86% of LGBT students said that they had experienced harassment at school during the previous year. (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network — GLSEN)
- Research indicates that LGBT youth may be more likely to think about and attempt suicide than heterosexual teens. (GLSEN)
- In a 2005 survey, students said their peers were most often bullied because of their appearance, but the next top reason was because of actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender expression. (“From Teasing to Torment: School Climate of America” — GLSEN and Harris Interactive)
- According to the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network 2007 National School Climate Survey of more than 6,000 students…
- Nearly 9 out of 10 LGBT youth reported being verbally harassed at school in the past year because of their sexual orientation
- Nearly half (44.1 percent) reported being physically harassed
- About a quarter (22.1 percent) reported being physically assaulted.
- Nearly two-thirds (60.8 percent) who experienced harassment or assault never reported the incident to the school
- Of those who did report the incident, nearly one-third (31.1 percent) said the school staff did nothing in response
CYBER BULLYING STATISTICS:
- 32% of online teens say they have been targets of a range of annoying or potentially menacing online activities. 15% of teens overall say someone has forwarded or posted a private message they’ve written, 13% say someone has spread a rumor about them online, 13% say someone has sent them a threatening or aggressive message, and 6% say someone has posted embarrassing pictures of them online.
- 38% of online girls report being bullied, compared with 26% of online boys. In particular, 41% of older girls (15-17) report being bullied—more than any other age or gender group.
- 39% of social network users have been cyber bullied in some way, compared with 22% of online teens who do not use social networks.
- 20% of teens (12-17) say “people are mostly unkind” on online social networks. Younger teenage girls (12-13) are considerably more likely to say this. One in three (33%) younger teen girls who use social media say that people their age are “mostly unkind” to one another on social network sites.
- 15% of teens on social networks have experienced someone being mean or cruel to them on a social network site. There are no statistically significant differences by age, gender, race, socioeconomic status, or any other demographic characteristic.
- 13% of teens who use social media (12-17) say they have had an experience on a social network that made them feel nervous about going to school the next day. This is more common among younger teens (20%) than older teens (11%).
- 88% of social media-using teens say they have seen someone be mean or cruel to another person on a social network site. 12% of these say they witness this kind of behavior “frequently.”
- When teens see others being mean or cruel on social networks,frequently see other people just ignoring what is going on, 27% see others defending the victim, 20% see others telling the offender to stop, and 19% see others join in on the harassment.
- 36% of teens who have witnessed others being cruel on social networks have looked to someone for advice about what to do.
- 67% of all teens say bullying and harassment happens more offline than online.
- parents know their child has been bullied over social media. In over half of these cases, their child was a repeat victim. Over half of parents whose children have social media accounts are concerned about cyberbullying and more than three-quarters of parents have discussed the issue of online bullying with their children.
- 11% of middle school students were victims of cyberbullying in the past two months. Girls are more likely than boys to be victims or bully/victims.
- “Hyper-networking” teens(those who spend more than three hours per school day on online social networks) ar likely to be a victim of cyberbullying, compared to those who don’t spend as much time on social networks.
- 95% of social media-using teens who have witnessed cruel behavior on social networking sites say they have seen others ignoring the mean behavior; 55% witness this frequently. (Pew Internet Research Center, FOSI, Cable in the Classroom, 2011)
- 84% have seen the people defend the person being harassed; 27% report seeing this frequently.
- 84% have seen the people tell cyberbullies to stop bullying; 20% report seeing this frequently.
- 66% of teens who have witnessed online cruelty have also witnessed others joining; 21% say they have also joined in the harassment. (Pew Internet Research Center, FOSI, Cable in the Classroom, 2011)
- Only 7% of U.S. parents are worried about cyberbullying, even though 33% of teenagers have been victims of cyberbullying (Pew Internet and American Life Survey, 2011)
- 85% of parent of youth ages 13-17 report their child has a social networking account. (American Osteopathic Association, 2011)
- 52% of parents are worried their child will be bullied via social networking sites. (American Osteopathic Association, 2011)
- 1 in 6 parents know their child has been bullied via a social networking site. (American Osteopathic Association, 2011)
- One million children were harassed, threatend or subjected to other forms of cyberbullying on Facebook during the past year. (Consumer Reports, 2011)
- 43% of teens aged 13 to 17 report that they have experienced some sort of cyberbullying in the past year.
- More girls are cyberbullies than boys (59% girls and 41% boys).
- Cyberbullies spend more time online than other teens overall (38.4 hours compared to 26.8 hours).
School Violence STATISTICS:
- 100,000 students carry a gun to school each day
- 28% of youths who carry weapons have witnessed violence at home
- Among students, homicide perpetrators were more than twice as likely as homicide victims to have been bullies by peers.
- More youth violence occurs on school grounds as opposed to on the way to school.
- 1/3 of students surveyed said they heard another student threaten to kill someone.
Teachers & Bullying:
- Teachers are also assaulted, robbed & bullied. 84 crimes per 1,000 teachers per year.
By going through these numbers, and completely putting the focus into school bullying, I would like every parent to ask one question; Why do schools deny that bullying causes suicide? Or, why their anti-bullying preventive programs do not work? Or what can we do to stop events like the one which happened with Hannah Baker or anyone else from happening?
Tragedies like these always demand immediate attention, but we fail to provide it either because we are worried about school’s reputation, rich donors, their children, or are too tolerant towards violence in school and have our attention focused on less important things such as banning the word “best friend” from being used in junior or senior kindergarten. But if we go back to “13 Reasons Why” and Hannah Baker’s decision, I wonder what would have happened if she had decided to take the life of every individual that thought their life was more important that Hannah’s? Let’s imagine for a second if she did so, would she be labeled as a young girl with mental issues, villain and troubled girl, or begin the real conversation rather than blaming others for our own guilt? And discover the truth behind any of the school shootings where they turn students into student murderers by admitting the fact of bullying?
To conclude this long analysis, I would like to emphasise why it’s important for everyone to see “13 Reasons Why”. Indeed, it’s unbearable to watch, and sometimes you might begin hating life itself as you go through from one tape to another, but the solution begins with a conversation, and conversations will open up the wounds that might finally get the chance to be healed. We must do something to reduce school shootings, suicides, and the first step to that is not doing something impossible, but looking around and find the new generation that’s next to you, whether it’s your son, nephew, daughter, uncle, or just a random person. Education will help overcome the depression in society, but the right behavior, good manners, respect, politeness, dignity and being humane and kind will put all of us on the right track for our children to do the right thing where we have failed them.