I’ve been wanting to weigh in on this whole Thirteen Reasons Why thing for a couple weeks now. I’ve read and heard that they have been getting a lot of flack. That the show is glorifying suicide… that it’s promoting suicide. I am just one person… but I disagree. I think that my opinion is relatively trustworthy and valid because… you see… the experiences that Hannah Baker had, I had. I was called a slut in high school, I was bullied and did some bullying myself and most importantly; I was raped by a “friend”… and then bullied some more. Did I think about killing myself? Yes. A lot. Am I glad I didn’t follow through? … I am. And watching Thirteen Reasons Why really solidified that for me.
Towards the end of the series, after a classmate rapes Hannah, she has come to her decision. She can’t take the pain anymore and she decides to kill herself. She slits her wrists in a bathtub and lets herself bleed to death. I can’t tell you how many times that exact thought has played out in my mind. I hate it. I hate that I’ve had those thoughts. It makes me feel weak and weird and ashamed. But, the truth is… the truth in everything is that I am not alone (and neither are you). So many people have had those feelings. Some follow through, and some do not. I will tell you… watching my thoughts unfold in a very real way in front of my eyes moved me. I cried. Hard. It was overwhelming, it still is, but it was also very therapeutic and healing. So many people go through something similar to this in high school, college and beyond. Life is hard and complicated and messy and the less we talk about it, the harder it is.
What immediately followed Hannah committing suicide is the exact reason I never committed to suicide, the reason I always talked myself out of it. The finding. I could never bring myself to committing because I could not stomach the thought of someone finding me that way… someone having to see me (someone they potentially loved, even though that was hard for me to believe in those moments) in such a horrific way. I couldn’t put that on anyone. I played it out hundreds, maybe thousands of times in my head. I just couldn’t do that to anyone I loved, even though I had a hard time believing that they loved me.
People love to blame the victim; we should have been more careful. We should have been less provocative. We shouldn’t have been sexually active. We should have spoken up. We should have fought harder. That’s fucked up.
I’m not here to demonize the guy that raped me, or the other people that did shitty things to me. I have chosen to believe that everyone makes mistakes and have chosen to forgive those people who have hurt me and I hope I have been forgiven if I have hurt others. But. BUT. Do not think that it is ok to blame me for my being raped. It was 15 years ago and I still think about it every god damn day. It has effected me in ways that you, nor I will ever fully understand. I verbally said no. I was physically picked up and brought into a bedroom. I said no numerous times. My clothes we removed from my body and I was raped. I have guilt and shame that do not belong to me. The guilt and shame are forced upon me by him and those who chose to believe I am at fault. I also feel guilt and shame that I did not speak up and go to the police. But, I forgive 16 year old me. I feel for her. She was just kid that made some mistakes all because she didn’t feel loved. All she wanted was to be loved. But, instead, she was raped.
After the series was over I immediately started writing about my specific experience, which I will share with you very soon. It was healing in a way. This is healing. To be able to finally come out and say, yes, I was raped and no, it was not my fault. It was not brutal or violent but that does not make it consensual, it is still rape and it was still wrong.
I think it is important for people like me, who have had similar situations to start speaking up. Let’s share our stories and start teaching our children to have more respect for one another, to not take what is not given to them or agreed upon with them, that any sex other than consensual sex is rape. End of story. No exceptions.
All my love.