13 Reasons Why may have gotten some amazing dialogue going about teen suicide and sexual assault, but Alisha Boe, who plays Jessica Davis, says that some fans just didn’t get it. The young star of the Netflix series says that some fans even blamed Jessica’s rape on her, saying that she deserved what she got because of her behavior.
“It’s been super interesting because I didn’t expect it, because when we filmed the show… I thought everyone would sympathize with Jessica because of what she’s been through, to me that made the most sense. She’s a survivor and she’s been trying to deal with it and she’s acting out because of it.
“But what I realized when the show came out, I was getting comments and being tagged in photos and fan theories that I can’t help but look at, but basically, people are slut-shaming Jessica. They’re calling her a bitch and they’re saying she deserved it that I should take Justin back and I shouldn’t be that drunk at a party and it made me take a second and step back and realize, wow, we as a society are not able to not blame the rape survivor but more so we want to take Justin’s side because he’s charming and has a nice smile.
“And that makes me so hurt and angry and it makes me want to get more involved in being an advocate for women and men who are sexually assaulted and are survivors of rape because the conversation still hasn’t changed.”
Our show @13reasonswhy came out tonight and I couldn't be more overwhelmed with pride and joy. After 7 years of holding onto this book, I couldn't of picked a better time for this message to exist. Jay Asher wrote a beautifully tragic, compelling story and we were lucky to have brought it to life. Thank you to every single soul that put their heart into this passion project
Although Alisha Boe points out the obvious double standard that 13 Reasons Why highlights, she also says that the show has given hope to many teens who have suffered from sexual assault. The star says many young women have been reaching out to her to say that they appreciate her sensitive portrayal and have been able to finally speak out about what happened to them because of her.
“On top of just the backlash Jessica Davis has been getting, the positive side of that is I’ve been getting hundreds of messages and in-person fans have come up to me saying [things like], ‘Thank you so much, this show saved my life, I was raped or I was sexually assaulted and this is my first time saying it out loud,’ or ‘Now I’m finally comfortable to talk about it openly,’ and I think that’s just what we wanted to do… that’s what we sent out to do.”
Joy Gorman, the executive producer of the show, said that it has even helped women much older than Jessica’s 13 Reasons Why character finally let their families know about what has happened to them.
“And on the other side, I’m not 20 years old like Alisha, but I can’t believe the women my age and women in their 30’s and 40’s who have reached out to me to say, ‘I finally told my father after Jessica Davis told her father.’ It’s pretty powerful to know you’re not alone,” Joy said.
Although the series has won accolades and tons of support from fans, there are plenty who also think 13 Reasons Why glorifies suicide and that a Season 2 should not be in the works. Several critics also have stated that a second season of 13 Reasons Why makes no sense, and thus networks should not indulge fans by continuing to renew series that have clearly overstayed their welcome.
13 Reasons Why will divert from its original source material, the novel of the same name by Jay Asher, and continue to tell the story of the characters.
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