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Many people have become engrossed by a new series on Netflix called "13 Reasons Why." This show, co-produced by Selena Gomez and based on the book of the same name by Jay Asher, has become a sensation seemingly overnight. On Rotten Tomatoes, the series has an approval rating of 91% and on Metacritic, it has a score of 76 out of 100. What has factored into its success? Is it the wide range of diverse characters? The videography that paints scenes in a striking way? Or is it the intriguing plot: part romance, part drama, part mystery? These are all major factors that have gone into making this show a hit. But one key component is its shock factor.

"13 Reasons Why" hasn’t shied away from talking about, and showing the repercussions that can come from even the smallest of actions.

What is this show all about?

The premise of the show is that a young high school girl, Hannah Baker (played by Katherine Langford), has committed suicide, leaving behind a shocked and saddened community. By all accounts, (take for example her locker, which is shown to be decorated with the well wishes of her classmates) Hannah was a well-liked girl. But as the series progresses it’s steadily revealed that things aren’t as they seem. Clay Jensen (played by Dylan Minnette) receives a set of cassette tapes from Hannah Baker herself that tell a very different, more sinister story. By going back and forth between past and present events, the show, narrated by Baker, goes through everything that led up to her decision to take her life.

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What makes this show unique?

This show has done more than entertain its viewers. Its sparked a conversation about two topics that carry with them heavy stigmas: suicide and sexual assault. These are two subjects things that no one seems comfortable with discussing. However, they're topics that sorely need to be addressed. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, "the annual suicide rate is 13.26 per 100,000 individuals. On average, there are 121 suicides per day." The statistics for sexual assault are just as staggering. The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) reported that in America someone is sexually assaulted every 98 seconds. People under the age of 34 make up more than half of those victims. Even more troubling, only 6 out of every 1,000 perpetrators end up going to jail.

This show has pushed those topics to the forefront, shining a light on them. In scenes that one would describe as graphic, the show forces watchers to really see sexual assault and suicide for what they are: tragic, damaging, and in no way glamorous.

Negative reception to the major lessons being taught

Some have argued against the graphic scenes in the show. They feel that the sensationalized portrayals will lead young people to follow what they see on screen. When talking to ABC, Dan Reidenberg, the executive director for Suicide Awareness Voices of Education, a group that focuses on suicide prevention, said, "The show actually doesn't present a viable alternative to suicide. The show doesn't talk about mental illness or depression, doesn't name those words. My thoughts about the series are that it's probably done more harm than any good."

Although that outlook has merit, one can only hope that it won't be the case. These subjects, as sensitive as they are, often get pushed to the back burner when it comes to discussing the well-being of young people, even though its been shown that suicide is the second leading cause of death among teenagers.

The scenes depicting sexual assault and suicide in this show are indeed hard to watch, but they do serve a purpose. One also shouldn't forget what goes on between those scenes -- moments in which viewers can see what led up to those occurrences. Viewers are given insight into the signs to look for that may often go unnoticed when it comes to those who may be suffering from depression and suicidal thoughts.

Yes, this show has pushed ahead in the frontier that is television. In an artful way, its shown how words and actions can have a larger impact than we might think. It also shows how those around us may be in search of help, and the importance of paying attention so as not to miss the signs. In doing so, "13 Reasons Why" has certainly started a nationwide (and potentially global) conversation.