13 Reasons Why Creator Brian Yorkey Addresses That Season 2 Rape Scene
"We’re committed on this show to telling truthful stories about things that young people go through in as unflinching a way as we can."
*Warning: This post contains 13 Reasons Why season 2 spoilers*
When 13 Reasons Why creators decided to show Hannah Baker’s graphic suicide in season one, a huge debate was sparked as to whether it was entirely necessary considering the show’s young audience.
But creator Brian Yorkey and several writers defended their decision at the time, arguing that such detail was required to educate people on the reality of taking your own life and that it’s not as peaceful as it so often described.
We recently spoke to Katherine Langford about what it was like to film Hannah's suicide >>>
However a similar conversation has been sparked yet again, this time surrounding the show’s second season finale which sees Tyler Down being brutally raped by three athletes.
After trying several de-escalation techniques when his classmates confront him, they go ahead and smash his head against a sink, beat him up and sodomize him with a mop handle. The entire time the camera is on Tyler’s face, much like Hannah’s scene with Bryce from season one, making for an extremely uncomfortable viewing experience.
However Yorkey has now explained why they chose to include this in the first place, following a call for the show to be removed entirely as many hail the storyline 'unncessecary'. Speaking as via statement via Vulture:
“We’re committed on this show to telling truthful stories about things that young people go through in as unflinching a way as we can. We fully understand that that means some of the scenes in the show will be difficult to watch. I think Netflix has helped provide viewers with lots of resources for understanding that this may not be the show for everybody, and also resources for people who do watch it and are troubled and need help.”
“But the fact is that, as intense as that scene is, and as strong as are our reactions to it may be, it doesn’t even come close to the pain experienced by the people who actually go through these things,” Yorkey continued. “When we talk about something being ‘disgusting’ or hard to watch, often that means we are attaching shame to the experience. We would rather not be confronted with it. We would rather it stay out of our consciousness. This is why these kinds of assaults are underreported. This is why victims have a hard time seeking help. We believe that talking about it is so much better than silence.”
He goes on to add that the scene wasn't simply written from pure imagination, but in fact is based on real life events that people have gone through during high school.
“When we dug into that research, I think we were all astounded to find how many times this happened, this disturbingly similar story of a male high-school athlete violating a weaker boy with some sort of instrument, like a mop handle or a pool cue,” he said.
“If there’s a greater sense of backlash about this scene, especially it being hard to watch, ‘disgusting,’ or inappropriate, that goes to the point that we need to be talking about the fact that things like this happen. The fact that this would be somehow more disgusting than what happened to Hannah and Jessica, I’m shocked but not surprised.”
If you’ve been affected by any of the topics mentioned in this article, please head to 13reasonswhy.info for more resources.