So after much hype, I’ve started watching Thirteen Reasons Why. For those unfamiliar with the synopsis, the story goes like this:
13 Reasons Why opens with the aftermath of high school student Hannah Baker’s suicide. Clay Jensen, Hannah’s classmate, his crush and co-worker, receives 13 cassette tapes detailing the reasons Hannah killed herself. Hannah was bullied, assaulted and ignored while she was alive, but her death and the tapes she left behind changed that. She gained power through suicide, and that’s a dangerous message.
While most of you are thinking – “urgh, not another teen drama”, I was immediately left rather concerned and disturbed that as a 32 year old, mother to a 5 year old little girl, this is what she will be facing once she heads to school – bullying, assault (no matter which way it happens) and the worst part of it all – parents naïve enough to believe that their child is the bully or is being bullied – and regarding a family reputation and social slander more important than a life.
Is this the human beings we’ve become – the blame game to say “it’s never my child (that’s being bullied or is the bully)”. You say that your child must feel comfortable enough to talk about their feelings – but are we really taking the time to listen to them with no judgment. If my child ever came home and said an adult (and by adult, I don’t care if it’s my ex-husband, family member, friend or stranger) says she mustn’t talk about what is between the two of them, I will flip through the roof. This is how abuse begins. When the abuser says “don’t tell anyone hey”. And while you may say “This mom is totally tripping,” you and I both know we live in a sick society where children are getting abused, kidnapped and murdered on a daily basis.
And yes, while the drama is a terrible attempt at discussing a rather difficult subject, and psychologists believe that suicide is linked to mental illness, parents, teachers and principals, do what Hannah’s mom did – walk into the school bathroom stalls and see what the kids, your kids are writing. And your kid is just as guilty as her classmate. You as a parent have then failed.
If you think it cant happen to your child, I’m sure the parents below thought the exact same thing:
So while I am half way through the season, I’m keen to see it unfold. And parents, do yourselves a favour, remove the blinkers of unicorns and fairies and watch the show. I’d highly recommend it.