How much do we know about what happens behind the closed doors of any high school? How many harmful and potentially disturbing information about school bullying is hidden from the outside world? Why do we, instead of raising those questions, choose to hide behind the so-called comfort zone where we feel safer to live in denial? School bullying is real. And, whether we want it or not, schools are equally responsible for what happens to the children we send to share with the society, which sadly, is as damaged as the human mind itself.
So, what can we do about it? How can we help stop this? With all the backlash Netflix has received due to the controversy surrounding 13 Reasons Why, it seems the necessary change will never happen. It did not happen with the countless school shootings and the lives that were lost for reasons we will never know about. Season two of “13 Reasons Why” is as painful as the first one. It hurts and it hurts a lot. The burden of the implication of actions not taken is unbearable and as real as the show itself. There is no painkiller to ease the pain because what did not happen to us does not mean it did not to others.
That’s why Netflix’s show is by far the most important thing every young adult and the parents who are raising one must see to ensure we are better prepared for the society that does not do much to prevent violence. We can only prevent it by being careful and more attentive to our kids than before. In the aftermath of Hannah Baker’s suicide, season two takes us to the courtroom where we learn more about Hannah and the people who were a part of her audio tapes. Some, as you may realize, get a chance to relieve themselves from the secret they kept to themselves and told the world the true reasons for their actions that were seen for Hannah Baker as betrayal or gave the additional reasons to take her own life.
School, obviously, is a well-established system not everyone can defeat when it comes to proving them wrong. This series is not an exception; it tells us what it is. The moment of the jurors coming back with their verdict could have been predictable because that’s what it is. In the meantime, the man that was responsible for most of the bullying in school, Bryce Walker, came from a very rich family with opportunities someone like Justin Foley could not afford to have. Even his trial is another example of how the rich and famous are easily getting away with rape, as we learn throughout the series, they’re easily getting a second chance. The double standards of the justice system and the unfairness of the judiciary is open and as sad as it could get.
The most crucial moment of season two is its final episode where Tyler Down was raped in the bathroom of Liberty High School, the same school that just won its case against the Baker family. The school that once again failed to recognize that the damning signs of Hannah Baker’s case was not the last one. In fact, if they continue ignoring all those alarming signs, bullying of any kind will never stop. Tyler Down, same as Hannah Baker and Jessica, was a victim of sexual assault. Three individuals reacted to it differently; one takes her own life, the second one finds the courage to report it, and the third one reaches for a rifle to get his own justice.
In the end, we can debate a lot about the rape scene of Tyler Down or his decision to commit mass shooting. We can talk a lot about the necessity of the same scene to be shown. The truth is, I’ve personally heard a lot of stories like the one happening to Tyler Down or Hannah Baker or Jessica, even Chloe, who was drugged and raped by her own boyfriend yet continued staying with him for reasons only known to her. We may like or not like what “13 Reasons Why” forces us to see. Is It traumatizing? Maybe. It is harmful? Perhaps. Let’s not forget all that you are about to see is a reflection of the society some of us are lucky enough to know nothing about.
That said, what should we do about it? Sign a petition and get the show canceled because it is disturbing? Maybe it’s because some young adults do what the series shows yet we prefer not to talk about it? Canceling the show or talking about how controversial it is won’t stop school bullying; suicides won’t end, and school bullying that may lead to school shootings may not end either if we continue living in denial. It’s the least what we can do for our kids – to start a conversation that can end the horrific actions of children who somehow feel entitled to harm and hurt others due to whatever unjustifiable reasons they may provide – because we adults enable them to continue doing it by remaining silent.