Before you go any further in The 13 Reasons Why message, read my intro to the 13 hidden messages. Once you’ve gone through the previous tapes blogs, you’ll understand the rest of my tapes blogs.



Here is the fifth message hidden within the 13 Reasons Why main message.

Tape 5: If You Come Forward, Nothing Will Happen

This hidden message within 13 Reasons Why message really has me irked. I’m a strong advocate for men and women who have been sexually abused and this is one area thirteen reasons why really messed up.

After Hannah is raped, she goes to the school counselor and reveals her secret. However, because she doesn’t reveal who did it to her, the counselor pretty much tells her that there’s nothing he can do. He tells her to move on.

These words are absolutely destroying to someone who’s been sexually abused. What’s worse is how this hidden message found within the 13 Reasons Why message deters sexual abuse victims from coming forward. It basically tells it’s vulnerable audience that if you come forward about being raped or sexually assaulted, unless you’re willing to go to bat with the world, you will be ignored.  As a result, they continue to suffer in silence which only perpetuates their pain.

This message is entirely false in Canada

More importantly, this message found within the 13 Reasons Why message is entirely false. While I can’t speak for the other parts of the world, I can speak for Canada. If you come forward about the sexual abuse you or someone else told you about, that person, assuming they’re in a position of authority or trust to the child is obligated to report it.

In other words, Hannah’s situation, where she tells the school counseler of her rape, would immediately be reported and investigated. If he failed to do so, he would be facing serious criminal consequences.

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Who to Report Sexual Abuse To

If someone is responsible for the trust and safety of a child, they must report all indications or suspicions of sexual abuse.

  • Doctors, nurse, medical personnel
  • Teachers
  • School staff, such as the counselors
  • Principals
  • Social workers
  • Daycare worker or babysitter
  • Police
  • Guardian
  • Members or operators of a child care facility
  • Youth recreational officers

Canadians are OBLIGATED to Take Action

More specifically, here are the legal responsibilities of reporting abuse for each province in Canada, provided by Victims of Abuse.  Keep in mind, these are specific to children (under 18 years of age).

If you have reported sexual abuse and the appropriate personnel did not take proper actions, they are committing a serious offence and should be reported.


The Child and Family Services Act, section 72 (1) states the following has reasonable grounds to report any suspicions of abuse or neglect of a child:

  • Any professional or official duties with respect to children
  • Anyone who believes a child is being abused or neglected must file a report
  • Report must be made to appropriate society, organization or person designed to receive such reports, such as the police, children’s services, etc.



Under section 4 (1) of the Child, Youth, and Family Enhancement Act:

  • Anyone with reasonable and probable grounds to believe that a child is in need of help must file a report


British Columbia

Under the Child, Family, and Community Service Act, section 14 (1):

  • Anyone who has reason to believe a child needs protection must promptly report the matter to proper authorities, such as police, welfare, children’s services, etc.



Under the Child and Family Service Act of Manitoba, section 18 (1):

  • Anyone with information that leads the person to believe that a child is in need of protection needs to file a report to an agency or the guardian of the child
    • If the abuse or neglect done by a parent or guardian, the person must file a report with appropriate agency, such as the police
  • Anyone who reasonably believes that a representation, material or recording is, or might be, child pornography has to promptly report the information to a reporting entity, such as the police



Under Child and Family Services Act, under section 12 (1):

  • Anyone who has grounds to believe that a child is in need of protection must report the information to an officer or peace officer


Under the Youth Protection Act of Quebec, section 39:

  • Any professional providing care or dispenses services to children or adolescents, any employee of an institution, any teacher or any policeman is obligated to report all situations
  • Anyone may report suspicions of abuse but they are not obligated to


New Brunswick

Under the Family Services Act, section 30 (1):

  • Anyone with information causing suspicions that a child has or is experiencing sexual abuse must report the situation without delay
  • A professional person who doesn’t report such information will face the consequences of committing such an offence


Nova Scotia

Under the Children and Family Services Act, section 23 (1):

  • Anyone with information indicating that a child is in need of protective services must report that information to an agency
  • Section 24 (2) states that every person who performs professional or official duties with respect to a child, who has reasonable grounds to suspect that a child is or may be suffering or may have suffered abuse must report the suspicion



Under the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, section 15:

  • Anyone with information that a child is or may be in need of protective intervention must immediately report the matter


Prince Edward Island

In PEI, section 10 (1) of the Child Protection Act:

  • Anyone with knowledge, or who has reasonable grounds to suspect that a child is in need of protection must report the suspicions without delay



According to the Child and Family Services Act, section 22 (1):

  • Anyone with reason to believe that a child is in need of protective intervention shall immediately report the information


Northwest Territories

Under section 8 (1) of the Child and Family Services Act:

  •  Anyone with information for the need of protection of a child must report the matter to children services without delay



The Child and Family Services Act of Nunavut states:

  • Anyone who knows or believes a child is in need of protection must report it to a Child Protection Worker, or if unavailable, to a Peace Officer


In other words…

If you report sexual abuse in Canada, it will not be dismissed, despite what it says in the 13 Reasons Why message.


13 Reasons Why Message about Sexual Abuse is Dangerously Inaccurate

There’s no other way to say it – the 13 Reasons Why message about sexual abuse is incredibly harmful and works against what so many sexual abuse organizations and professionals have been striving for.

If you’ve been sexually abuse, you don’t have to suffer in silence. You will be believed, the situation will be investigated, and consequences will come to those who are responsible for causing you such harm and pain.

Don’t let the 13 Reasons Why message fool you. You are not alone and you don’t have to forget about it and move on. There is help and it’s waiting for you. Depending on your province, you may have to reach out to the right personnel but the help is there for you.

Together, we can overcome this battle. You are not alone.

There are laws that protect you, even if you’re not Canadian. Here is a list of sexual abuse help line for kids for different parts of the world. If your country isn’t on the list, you can contact the National & Worldwide help lines.

If you or someone you know is suffering, please contact the Canadian National Suicide Helpline.

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