Too young to understand


This article describes sexual assault. Reader discretion is advised.

Netflix released a show called “13 Reasons Why” on Saturday, April 1. The show follows the story of Hannah Baker as she explains the 13 reasons why she committed suicide. Hannah recorded 13 tapes before she died in which she detailed her experiences as a victim of bullying, sexual harassment and rape in the months leading up to her death. The show reminded me of a girl I know who had  a similar experience.

It all started when the girl was four years old. She had an older cousin from out of town who was staying with her family. At the time her cousin was around 16 or 17 years old. The girl absolutely adored her older cousin because he was always so sweet and nice to her. She felt like he was an older brother. That is, until he betrayed her trust.

During his stay the older cousin had been sleeping in the girl’s room, but one night the boy did something unforgivable. The girl woke up to something in her hand and her older cousin whispering in her ear.

“Grab it,” he said.

When the girl looked down she saw that it was something bad, something that did not seem right to her. Upon realizing this the girl started to cry and call for her mom. The boy panicked and tried to comfort her before taking her to her mom’s bedroom.

The girl’s mom asked what was wrong, but the girl did not know how to explain it because she did not know what the object in her hand was or what had happened. The only thing she knew was that it scared her. That night, the girl did not sleep. For the rest of her cousin’s stay, she slept in her mom’s room.

Ever since that day she has tried to suppress the memory of what happened, but inside she slowly started to hate her older cousin more and more. She did not understand why she hated him, she just knew that it was related to what happened that night.

It was not until nine years later when she realized what had truly happened: She had been molested.

According to the National Sex Offender Public Website, about 1.8 million adolescents are victims of sexual assault, which is defined by the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, as “sexual content or behavior that occurs without explicit consent of the victim. Some forms of sexual assault include: Attempted rape, fondling or unwanted sexual touching, forcing a victim to perform sexual acts, such as oral sex or penetrating the perpetrator’s body or penetration of the victim’s body, also known as rape.”

It is 2017, and people still have a problem grasping the concept of consent when it comes to sexual contact or intercourse. Many people believe that if a person does not clearly say no then it is acceptable to continue making sexual advances on that person.

Well guess what, not saying “no” does not always mean giving consent. Unfortunately, my generation has struggled with this concept.

“13 Reasons Why” captures the millennial generation’s inability to come to terms with consent and sexual assault, but it is sad to say that the show did capture it. Is it that bad to where everyone in America knows of this problem? What is being done to fix it? Do people even care? The fact that I am even asking these questions absolutely terrifies me.

Why is sex such a taboo topic? If anything, it should be something that is embraced since that is how humans procreate.

It is my belief that to stop or at least reduce the number of sexual assault cases, there should be better sex education in schools and at home. We need to teach children and learn for ourselves the importance of consent and what it looks like. Do not avoid the topic because that is when people can get a distorted view of sex at a young age.

The violence has to stop. Victims feel disgusting, ashamed and oftentimes will not tell people because they will be blamed for the assault. When people are sexually assaulted they will carry those feelings and memories with them for the rest of their life.

Trust me on this, I am the girl from the story.