It appears the controversial show “13 Reasons Why” is being renewed for a second season–which some people are excited about, while others are confused. Personally, I’m somewhere in between. I thought the show failed to raise awareness on suicide in a safe way (especially for teens), as I wrote about here–but I’m also curious to see where the writers are going to take the show. This could be a way for them to do better than they did the first time around.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the show is awaiting official confirmation, would focus on a plot line introduced in the first season. The main character, Hannah Baker, died last season, so would follow another character, one of many the show interoduced. Brian Yorkey, the showrunner, said he wants the new season to start a dialogue and conversation about sexual assault:
“What we hope, as good television can do, is that it gets people talking. If they can talk about what happened to Hannah and Jessica [who were raped] and what these kids went through, they can talk about what they’re going through in their own lives. That has to happen first before anything can get better.”
Last season, both Hannah and Jessica were assaulted by Bryce, the quintessential mean jock at the school. As a show that wants to raise awareness in general, this would be the perfect time–and topic–to do so, especially given the political climate.
High school and college campuses are known for being places with high rape statistics, so much so that even Joe Biden recently talked about rape on college campuses, telling his audience:
“Guys, a woman who is dead drunk cannot consent — You are raping her!” he said. “We’ve got to talk about this. Consent requires affirmative consent!”
Women ages of 18-21 are three times more likely to be sexually assaulted than women of other ages, according to RAINN. In general, “11.2% of all students experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation (among all graduate and undergraduate students).”
If there’s ever a time to explore this, now is the time, especially since in the show’s plotline, Clay has a taped confession from Bryce. Meanwhile Jessica begins to tell her father about her own assault, and we can assume Hannah’s parents will find out about her assault because of the tapes.
The aftermath of sexual assault needs to be discussed, and a thoughtful treatment of the topic could be helpful for teens who traverse this world everyday.