13 reasons why is a Netflix original series based off a book of the same title written by Jay Asher. The story is centered around seven tapes left behind by a girl named Hannah Baker who had died by suicide, stating thirteen reasons why she took her life. It’s a book that highlights bullying, sexual assault, mental health among others. Reading this book took me down a traumatic lane from about thirteen years ago.
It was the year 2007. I was in my second year in senior high when this new boy joined our class almost half way into the term. We’ll call him M. According to our school rules, all your notes have to be up to date before you can be cleared for exam and I think as at then, we were averaging about 12 to 14 subjects. I don’t really remember.
One lunch break, I saw M having a hard time copying his notes, so I walked up to him and offered to help him with some. It was no news that I had pretty fast fingers. Over the weekend, I completed the notes and returned them to him on Monday. We started talking more often and we became close, often hanging out in school and going home together.
One Friday after school, we were heading home when he said he had to pick something at a friend’s house who lives behind school. We were going to just pop in and out. When we got there, this said friend wasn’t home. We met his older brother instead and he also left after M whispered something to his ear. I didn’t read anything to this strange behavior. I guess I was either really trusting or I was super naïve. I mean M is my friend and the door was wide open. What could go wrong?
Everything. First of all, he tried to make me do a slow dance with him which was the most awkward thing ever. Then he started saying some things and making some funny moves. Him trying to kiss me made me realize I had to be out of there like yesterday. What the heck? I was disappointed and irritated because it suddenly dawned one me that this was his intention all the while and he had tricked me down. I left the house in annoyance as his pleas faded into the wind.
Come Monday, I had let go of the whole drama but was determined to avoid his lane for good. Little did I know that my life as I knew it was about to be flipped. Earlier that morning, I had noticed a group of my classmates looking at me funny. I didn’t read much into it until one of them cornered me during the long break.
“I know what you did with M.” He had this mischievous look on his face.
“Uhn? What are you talking about?”
“Stop pretending. I know you followed M to N’s house on Friday.”
“Yes, I did but nothing happened.”
“N’s neighbor saw the both of you and she already told his mum that you guys came to the house to hook up. She’s upset about it and is coming to report you to the principal.”
This was where my heart stopped. Thing is, I was sort of a model student. I go to school, mind my business, stay out of trouble and get them good grades. Combined with the fact that my mum was the consulting guidance counselor to my school. GUIDANCE. COUNSELOR. My life flashed before me as I knew the implication of what was about to unfold. What would the whole school think of me? What would they say of my mum? There was no way anyone would believe I didn’t have sex with this guy. I mean, I followed him to the house!
“I can talk to N’s mum so she won’t come to see the principal but you’ll have to pay me.” He said, jolting me back to the present.
I was desperate to get this near scandal over with, so I was willing to pay. “How much?” I asked.
My knees weakened. My feeding money then was #40. Where did he expect me to find such money?
“I don’t have such money,” I said weakly. “Please, you need to get me out of this mess. I didn’t do anything with M.”
“Well, if you don’t have money, you can pay with something else.”
“You can give me what you gave M.”
I couldn’t believe my ears. “You want me to sleep with you? I told you nothing happened with M!”
“Stop lying. He showed us proof.”
What in the world?
I would later find out that that fateful Friday, M had come to school with a pack of condoms and had bragged to some boys that he was going to have sex with me. I don’t know how he pulled the “proof” off but whatever he did was enough to convince almost half the boys in class.
For three weeks, I went back and forth with this guy. Him threatening to bring N’s mum if I didn’t sleep with him, me spending every conversation we had crying, pleading and trying to convince him of my innocence. I started dreading coming to school and would go to bed hoping I wouldn’t wake up. I just wanted to disappear. I resume and close school with him breathing down my neck with threats. Some of my friends noticed the boy was always around me and wanted to know what was going on but I couldn’t open up to them. I was ashamed of something I didn’t even do. My classes went in a daze. God, I suffered silently.
One day, I had reached the end of the road. I was done with the blackmail and the emotional torture. I cried and cried and spoke to God to save me from this mess. That morning, I braced myself for the usual harassment but none came. I kept waiting for it throughout the day and he totally avoided me. By the third day, I was the one who went to him to ask if N’s mum was still going to come to school but he brushed me away angrily.
That’s how this matter died o. It was a miracle. M left the school the next term but I was still traumatized for a while as I kept holding my breath, waiting for N’s mum to show up in school and drag me to hell. I swore never to be nice to any new student again. Like ever.
Remembering this incident, my heart breaks for that little girl who didn’t have the courage to stand up for herself, who had to endure the constant harassment and blackmailing, whose innocence no one cared about as his ‘he-said’ never gave room for a ‘she-said’. That little girl who cared too soon and trusted too much in a world filled with wolves adorning sheep skin. That little girl I’d very much like to give giant hug now.
I’d probably never run into my accuser and my blackmailer ever again but per adventure you both accidentally find yourself reading this blog post,..why me?
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