Tag Archives: Suicide

Bullies, Suicide and “13 Reasons Why”

I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I decided to take a peek at “13 Reasons Why” on Netflix. And yes, I am well aware of all the negative commentary surrounding it.

However, one thing I will say, is that I thought the series was well done. The writing, story, acting, and cinematography is superb.

“13 Reasons Why” is about a smart, pretty teenager named Hannah Baker who begins attending a new school, and becomes a target after a guy she liked took a photo of her coming down a slide. He decides to show the revealing photo to his jock buddies, and one of them thought it was a perfectly good idea to text it to everyone in the school.

Credit: Bully | by Jonathon Narvey | Flickr Creative Commons

It was disheartening to watch how these teenagers relentlessly bully her after that photo was sent. She did her best to cope with the cruelty that bombarded her on a daily basis. But things took a turn for the worst, when the same guy who texted the photo, raped her.

After this occurred, as a last resort, she visits with her school counsellor, which unfortunately, made matters worse. It was after this meeting, she decided to take her life. But before she does, she records 13 cassette tapes, leaving messages for everyone she holds responsible, except for one, her friend Clay Jensen.

The critics say “13 Reasons Why” glorifies rape and suicide. But I disagree. I believe the producers intention was to shock people into awareness and create a conversation to propel change.

I understand why some people wouldn’t want their small children watching it. However, I believe it should be viewed by parents and teenagers alike because of its important message.

I understand all too well about triggers, however, there is more violence in “The Walking Dead” than there is in “13 Reasons Why.” So, is it perfectly okay for kids to watch stuff like “The Walking Dead,” but not okay for them to be educated on a real and prevalent issue, such as bullying, rape and suicide?

Statistics say, suicide is the third leading cause of death in America between the ages of 10 to 24. Did you know every 98 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted, and every 8 minutes, it’s a child?

The story of “13 Reasons Why” reminds me of a YouTube video I watched several years ago of a girl who was being bullied. She made this video before she ended her life. Her name was Amanda Todd. She was just one of many who kill themselves because they see no other way out of their situation.

Just recently, I came across a story on Facebook of an eight year old boy from Ohio who committed suicide because of the relentless bullying he endured. Why hadn’t the school stepped in and stopped it? Why is bullying allowed or ignored in our public schools? Why aren’t changes being instituted to insure the safety of our children attending school?

Yet, the critics are up in arms about “13 Reasons Why.” I don’t understand. Don’t they see what is going on? Aren’t they aware of the epidemic? Aren’t they paying attention to what is happening to our children in schools across America?

Yes, the content is graphic, but so is the reality. Parents and victims of bullies need to see and understand the damage it causes. Not turn a blind eye or pretend it isn’t happening. No one can afford to ignore this problem anymore.

Parents, children, principals, teachers…everyone has a part to play. Parents can’t leave parenting up to the schools, because the schools can’t do it. However, I do believe schools need to send a strong message that bullying won’t be tolerated. There needs to be accountability and a better security system in place.

It is a shame our schools have to turn into a juvenile detention center instead of being an institution for learning.

Awareness and knowledge is the first step, and I believe “13 Reasons Why” accomplished that. Now the rest is on us. Instead of protesting, debating and disagreeing about this series, why not use the energy to be proactive in spreading awareness and helping to stop bullying which is claiming the lives of our youth.

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Why Do You Write?

I enjoy reading interviews of writers and their creative process.

In the past few days, I have been reading interviews of great authors, such as Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, William Faulkner and Gustave Flaubert.

Courtesy of Creative Commons

I noticed a common thread in these authors is narcissism.

There seems to be a correlation between creative genius and mental illness.

Ernest Hemingway shot himself. F. Scott Fitzgerald was depressed. William Faulkner was an alcoholic. Actually, all three were alcoholics. Gustave Flaubert’s personal life was a bit ‘out there’.

******

I’ve been lurking behind the scenes and observing writers lately.

Writers seem to be plagued by insecurities, much like great authors were.

Writers want to be known. They want their writing to be read and heard. They want to know their writing matters to others and is making a difference in someone’s life.

Personally, I don’t get many comments or traffic on my blog. Nor do I have a large following, audience or platform.

I have had to come to terms that it may always stay this way.

Occasionally, I’ll get a reader who tells me they enjoy my posts and likes my writing. But, not very many.

Truthfully, the more I write and share what God puts on my heart, the less people seem to like it and thus, I get less traffic.

Which is why I had to ask myself the following questions:

1) Am I writing for God, myself or others?

2) Why do I write in the first place?

3) Will I continue to write even if no one reads it and/or my audience never grows?

My answers:

1) I write for God and myself.

2) I write because I love to write. I love words. I love the artistic expression and creative process. I love reading books and writing.

3) Now this one was a hard one to answer, because as I mentioned above, all writers want to be heard and appreciated. But I’ve come to the conclusion, that I do not want my writing to be about someone else liking or accepting it. I want God’s approval. I want to write what I’m passionate about whether anyone else agrees with it or likes it or not. Other people liking my writing is just the icing on the cake.

I’ve discovered that to continue writing, the ‘why’ has to be bigger than the ‘obstacle’.

If your why isn’t bigger than your obstacle, then you won’t keep at it.

If you are only writing for man’s applause or recognition, you will eventually be disappointed and give up.

Writing for others is the wrong focus and motivation.

Writers have to be comfortable and content  for art’s sake.

Even if no one reads your writing, you should still want to write anyway.

Writing should never be about other people, but about God and you.

This is the reason why I write.

Now it’s your turn, why do you write?

 

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