It has been only a few weeks since the release of the show, and it has been the talk of the town. Gaining popularity not only in the US, but India too, Netflix’s “13 Reasons Why” is a story about a girl who commits suicide, and how she leaves tapes revealing 13 reasons on why she killed herself.
Based on Jay Asher’s bestselling young-adult novel by the same name, the show’s protagonist Hannah Baker is a chirpy young woman in high school. However, certain circumstances lead her to end her life. Her suicide is a mystery until a box of tapes arrives at her friend, Clay Jensen’s house. In the tapes, she reveals the reasons (mostly what other people did to her) why she ended her life.
The show deals with sensitive topics such as online bullying, depression, sexual assault, rape and more.
With the advent of technology, and with teenagers getting easy access to mobile phones and social networks, online bullying is has become very common. According to EndCyberBullying.Org, India ranks third in the global cyber bullying list. In a survey, they found that 77 per cent of Indian children online has been bullied in some form or the other. Sexual assault is also common among teenagers, but is rarely reported because of the social stigma attached to it.
Victims of online bullying, sexual assault and rape usually don’t open up about these issues with adults. This is where the peers can step in and help. Teenagers who are not interested in their school, work or hobbies, who are obsessed with death or talk about how nothing matters, who make drastic changes to their appearance suddenly (in the show, Hannah chops off her long locks) are all showing signs that they could be depressed or dealing with some heavy emotional problems.
Jay Asher described the series to be a ‘cautionary tale’ – something that everyone should watch because it depicts just how certain actions, that may not mean much, can actually destroy someone’s life. In the show, Hannah describes the series of events as the ‘Butterfly Effect’.
According to the Lancet Report, suicide is the most common cause of death among India’s youth. Although there are many other factors that have led to these statistics, young adults in India struggle with issues that are discussed in the show.
’13 Reasons Why’ is a must watch regardless of whether you are a teenager or not. The most important message it delivers is on the importance of communication. It is important to make people going through a crisis feel that their problems can be solved and their voices will be heard. It is important to raise awareness on these sensitive topics, and Netflix has done a brilliant job on that.
Pic credits: The New York Times