13 Lessons Learned From Watching “13 Reasons Why” Season 2
It was last year when Netflix released the first season of “13 Reasons Why” a show that shook us all to the core, with its unapologetic depiction of high school traumas, bullying, rape, and suicide. It’s was only fair to expect that season 2 that came out May 19th wouldn’t be any less daring and just as eye-opening.
The show’s story is about a girl who takes her life but not before recording 13 tapes, each one with a reason why she killed herself. Her instructions were that each person who receives the tapes is one of the reasons why she killed herself. After each person finishes listening to the tapes, they must pass the package on to the next person. If anyone breaks the chain, a separate set of tapes will be released to the public.
This is not a show you watch lightly while eating dinner; it’s a show that teaches you about life lessons we hope no one gets to learn the hard way.
1. Parents don’t know as much as they think they do about their kids’ life.
Its no secret teenagers aren’t the most communicative “species” out there, and this may sometimes lead parents down one of two ugly paths. Either the parents just give in to the fact they won’t be able to make kids talk (you can’t make teenagers do anything) so they stop trying to know what’s happening in their child’s life, or they get too pushy and overprotective. Both ways are not the best to nurture a healthy trusting relationship with your teenager. You have to ask the right questions in the right way at the right time and give them a loving trusting space for them to come to you willingly.
2. Teenagers don’t tell their parents everything, but not because they won’t understand.
Your children know deep down that if their parents are involved in their life enough, they probably know them better than anyone else, maybe even more than themselves. So, maybe the reason why they don’t tell them all the bad stuff that they do or is done to them is not that they’re afraid of punishment or of not being understood. Maybe they’re afraid of their parents understanding too much, and that changes everything in a teenagers mind.
3. Bullying is as dangerous as a gun to a child’s head.
Never ever take bullying lightly. No degree of bullying is ever “harmless” or “is good for building character”, anyone who says that, has either never been bullied or has been and is deeply suppressing whatever damage that was conflicted on them. So, as a parent, never ever take it lightly if you see someone pushing someone else around, calling them names, or spreading rumors. You never know just how much that simple act of cruelty can push someone to the edge, and maybe be one of the reasons they see no point in living anymore.
4. Schools are responsible for keeping their establishment “Bully Free”.
All schools should enforce a Zero Tolerance policy towards drugs, alcohol, violence, and bullying of any form, be it physical, verbal, or attitudinal. School is where most of the bullying takes place and the school has a big responsibility in making sure every student feels safe going to school. Being a victim of bullying can lead kids to suffer from major issues growing up and may even turn them into bullies themselves once given the chance. Counselors enforced rules, and constant supervision from the principal and staff are necessary for a school to remain safe and bully-free.
5. Things will get better, but only after you speak your truth.
It’s hard to talk about our feelings sometimes, especially so if we’ve been badly hurt, so hurt that saying it out loud will somehow prove that it really did happen, and that’s something you can’t face right now. Bottling things up will never, in this universe or the next, be a good idea, it will only fester inside you to the point where you don’t recognize yourself in the mirror anymore. If you had any traumatic experience happen to you, were beaten up, or sexually assaulted in any way, the only way things will get better is only after you talk to someone about it. If you can’t find someone to talk to, then go to a crisis help center, group sessions with people with similar experiences, this is the only way you will start to gain control over your own body, soul, and mind again, and one day you will feel okay again.
6. Know what “Consent” means, and make sure you have it first.
The show highly emphasized on “sexual consent” and for good reason. So many people don’t know what it means to get a “yes” from a woman before engaging in intercourse. If you never ask your partner properly whether they are willing to have sex with you or not, then you never really got verbal consent, just because a woman or man is not saying “stop” doesn’t always mean they are not saying it in their minds but are too embarrassed or afraid to say it out loud, for their own reasons.
Examples of ways to ask for consent:
- Is this okay with you?
- Are you sure you want to do this?
- We don’t have to do this if you don’t want to?
- I’m only okay with this if you are?
- Do you want me to stop?
You have to ask for consent. You have to stop what you’re doing, look them in the eyes and be as sincere as you can while asking, you have to mean it, so they feel safe to answer honestly. If talking about one’s feelings was hard, talking about what you want or don’t want in bed is 100 times harder. Please, keep that in mind.
7. It is rape even when it is your partner.
Some people believe that just because a man is married to a woman then he can do whatever he pleases with her. NO.
It is her body and she can choose whether she wants to invite him or not, period. Rape is the violation of one’s body, using it in ways they did not give consent for. Your relationship with them is of no consequence, just because they are married to you doesn’t mean they want to have sex with you right now, and if you push them into it, then this is essentially rape. People who engage in sexual activity must get their partners consent. Every. Single. Time!
8. Girls don’t just get themselves into bad situations, guys make the situations bad.
Such a common misconception by men and unfortunately women too is that women who have been a victim of a dangerous situation had that happen to them because of the woman’s poor choices. Because, all women should use their psychic abilities to predict when a nice party she was invited to is going to be the place she gets attacked and maybe even raped, by her date, or someone else at the party! Men have to understand that, no woman will willingly enter a bad situation where she feels unsafe, no woman wants to be raped.
9. You can’t fight fire with fire.
If you’ve been bullied in any way, and want to feel in control of your own life again, revenge is never the answer. No form of revenge is too small for it to be okay to do. Don’t kid yourself into thinking that you have to take matters into your own hands because no one will do anything. If the authorities or the people in charge of handling these things are not to be trusted to do right by you, then you find yourself the right person in charge to stand by you, if you decide to bully your aggressor or blackmail them and tell yourself “they deserve it” then you just became exactly like them, or worse even. If you fight fire with fire, everybody burns, that means you too.
10. Bullies are not born, they’re raised.
No one is born a bully. Almost every bully in this world is like that because they have it bad at home. These bullies could have parents that are beating them, abusing them, not providing them with the parental care they need, or maybe they are absentee parents that don’t care that much. Your bully could have no parents at all and their guardian could do an awful job teaching them how to still be kind when the world is unkind to you. So, parents, if your kid is a bully, you need to assess the situation and find out why is he acting out that way, because more cases than not, the reason is something you are doing or not doing for them.
11. If you see something wrong, speak up.
If you see someone being assaulted in any shape or form and you keep quiet about it, then you just aided in the assault of said person. No matter your reasons at the time, not speaking up about this will eat you up inside and eventually ruin your life. Not to mention, you just helped someone else’s life get ruined. It really is true when they say “the truth will set you free”, doing the right thing is not always the easy thing, and that’s why it’s so important that more of us find it in us to be brave enough for those who need us to be.
12. You are not doing anyone any favors by killing yourself
- “No one will miss me”
- “I mess everything up”
- ” They’ll be happier without me”
- “They want me gone”
- “The world will be a better place without me in it”
These are just some of the ways someone thinking of suicide can use to reason and justify their decision as if they are doing the world a favor. They are all wrong! Killing yourself is NEVER an act of good, it’s an evil thing to do. When someone takes their own life they don’t just end their life, they end life as they know it for all those who know and love them. They remain in a state of anger, confusion, and self-blame, and only if they’re lucky, they somehow find a way to forgive you for doing this to them.
13. There are always Reasons Why Not
As many reasons you can come up with as to why you should kill yourself, there are always more reasons why you should NOT kill yourself. If you can’t see enough of these reasons why you shouldn’t go through with it, then you need to talk to someone to help you see what you’re currently can’t. When we’re depressed or angry, it’s so easy for us to paint the whole world black and believe that this is how it’s always going to be. Life will always get better, nothing ever stays the same, good or bad, everything changes and this too shall pass.
If you’re currently going through something, you’re depressed or are emotionally unstable for any reason, it’s probably not a good idea for you to watch “13 Reasons Why” alone. You can watch it with someone you trust and knows what you’re going through. Unfortunately, Egypt doesn’t have a suicide crisis center, and topics such as rape and suicide are still major taboos in our culture, but there is nothing wrong about speaking your truth when starting a conversation could possibly help save a life.
So help us spread the word, sharing this could be the easiest way for you to possibly help save a life.