The Worst Day Of My Life
Last week was rough, especially on poor Clay, who thinks he’s to blame for Hannah killing herself. And this week isn't any better, with Bryce overpowering Hannah and raping her.
First, here's what you guys said you'd say to Clay when he thought he'd killed Hannah.
If you were with Clay, you would say the same thing we all wish someone would say to Hannah, “It’s NOT your fault.”
Clay is dealing with overwhelming guilt and the wish to undo. Undo. Undo. Feeling like you’re to blame or could have done something differently is actually pretty similar to what a lot of survivors of abuse feel.
The kinds of things you’d say to Clay (OBVS not your fault, you didn’t do anything to ‘deserve’ or ‘make’ this happen, you can get through this, it will hurt and take time and that’s OK, there is no hurry.. etc) are also the kinds of things you can say when you’re talking to someone who’s had an unwanted sexual experience.
And now on to Bryce
There is no easy way to deal with what comes next in the series. This episode, we see the horror that Hannah dealt with the week before her death. After the worst day of her life, Bryce rapes Hannah - despite her repeatedly trying to get out of the spa, and knowing full well she doesn’t want to. Hannah tries to get away and then freezes – you can see the numbness wash over her as he violates her.
Going blank and freezing like Hannah did is actually a really common response when this kind of violence goes down. When you’re faced with overwhelming danger your body takes over and shuts everything down to keep you as safe as possible. Hannah describes feeling “numb” and “dead already”. That’s because her brain has said “this is too much to handle right now, I’m going into survival mode”. This is called trauma.
When you’re experiencing trauma your brain works differently - it stores memory differently, and it deals with emotions differently. This helps you survive.
The problem is that it also means that it is really hard to understand or even talk about what happened to you because the memories come in fragments and flashbacks. Even just a flash of the memory can be enough to make you freeze or be crippled with panic, so you and your brain avoids thinking about it as much as possible.
The issue is that it’s actually impossible to avoid those memories, so shutting them out can often end up dominating your life. There are ways to deal with this, but the best way is to see a GOOD counselor (not like the guy in 13 Reasons!!), learn how to cope with the scary emotions and eventually, once you have built up trust and a sense of safety, talk through what happened.
This will help your brain take it out of its LOCKED BOX OF TRAUMA SECRETS and store it with your other memories as one of the many different things that has happened to you, instead of the thing that defines you from now on.
When Clay goes after a confession from Bryce, we see the horrifying way Bryce sees girls and sex. He says Hannah Baker “wanted” sex because “She got in my tub without a suit, she made eyes”. NOPE! Bryce missed consent week at his school obvs, otherwise he might have read Hannah's body language, which was SCREAMING no.
The only thing that means someone wants to have sex with you is them saying “yes I want to have sex with you”.
Bryce isn’t apologetic because he BELIEVES the toxic idea that girls naturally resist sex - but that doesn’t mean they don’t want it. He thinks that raping girls in his hot tub makes him more of a man. He thinks that “every girl in school wants to be raped by me”.
This sounds insane but is actually just an extreme version of the messages that all boys are sent on the reg – you need to have sex with as a many girls as possible to be a man, when a girl says no she is playing games etc etc.
That’s exactly why we have to repeat and repeat that this is NOT manly behavior. Forcing someone to do something they don’t want to for your own pleasure is actually an incredibly pathetic and sadistic way to be. You are yuck and sad, and no amount of whiskey from crystal tumblers will make you a man, Bryce. Real men respect women.
So now we see what leads Hannah to make her list. She needs to make sense of the world and everything that's happened. She’s even more alone than ever. She wants to forget, but she also wants to take control.
The feeling Hannah had at the beginning of the episode, that people would be better off without her, is starting to take root. It’s a very dangerous place to be, as we know- and as the series shows, it’s absolutely NOT TRUE.
Having suicidal thoughts and feeling like there’s no hope is a horrible and heartbreaking place to be – but you CAN get through it.
Lots of people have got through it, and you can too. It’s important that you reach out to someone you trust, and you can also call or text one of these numbers to talk to somebody who can help.