*Trigger warnings below that have to deal with sexual assault and suicide, please be cautious when going forward*
13 Reasons Why (2017) is a fictional Netflix series that discusses serious topics that deal with sexual assault and suicide. The main character Hannah Baker, played by Katherine Langford, leaves behind thirteen cassette tapes that depict all she feels is responsible for her taking her life.
Throughout the series, we follow the character Clay Jensen, played by Dylan Minnette, who is trying to figure out why Hannah took her life in the first place. Not knowing if he had any part in it because he was deeply in love with her. The audience comes to find he actually had nothing to do with it, but a lot of his classmates did. Trying to figure out if his classmates did what Hannah says they did on the tape, he comes to find out she was bullied. Subjected to harassment by most of them and was sexually assaulted by one. Hannah out of options tried to reach out to the last authority figure that might believe her but was brushed off in a way that was her final straw. Later, in season one, she decided to take her own life by slitting her wrists in her bathtub. Her mom finding her later on when the bathwater has run under the door into the hallway.
The sexual assault scenes and suicide scene was not censored at all. Netflix did put a trigger warning at the beginning of the very first episode, but that was all they did. Parents were outraged at the fact that it was not censored and there were hardly any trigger warnings before the start of the episodes. One couple, in particular, blames this TV show and Netflix for the death of their daughter. A 14-year old middle school cheerleader took her own life in the same fashion the character Hannah Baker did on the series. Leaving letters for her loved ones behind, much like Hannah left cassette rapes. The parents tried to get the show canceled claiming the show should be censored according to ABC News.
In response to all of the criticism and backlash, Netflix decided to put further trigger warnings at the beginning of the series for each episode as well as before the rape and suicide scenes. Also, decided to edit out the scene where you see Hannah Baker take her own life in a graphic way. Making sure to add resources for anyone in need of help.
If Netflix did not receive the backlash it did, I believe there still would be fewer trigger warnings that should have been there in the first place. “Seeing that graphic scene of Hannah taking her life the way she slit your wrists, it was like you could almost feel that pain. Being a sixteen-year-old and seeing that really affected me, but imagine being younger than that and seeing that scene without the preshow trigger warnings they put in place after. Even with those warnings, that scene should have been edited in the first place,” stated an anonymous source. This tv series discusses serious issues that go on every day and should be talked about and shown on TV. In order for people to wake up and realize that maybe what they are doing is actually hurting someone extensively.
Unsure if a TV series is to blame or not for a young girl’s death, but when showing these graphic scenes on TV to a young audience there always should have been preshow trigger warnings set in place.