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Not Feeling It

by Lee Conderacci

Bryce and Chloe are in a relationship. In this scene, they are watching tv when Bryce tries to initiate sex. Chloe gives many nonverbal and verbal cues that she does not want to have sex, or even engage in foreplay, including repeatedly pushing him away, but Bryce continues to physically touch, grope, and kiss her.

Despite Chloe's resistance, Bryce removes her pants and underwear and continues his physical assault of her until she stops resisting and appears to zone out or disassociate, which is a common response/survival tactic among victims of sexual assault. Bryce continues, and engages in sexual intercourse with Chloe as she stares, dead-eyed, into space.

In the show, Bryce is presented as a sexual predator who has raped and assaulted multiple women. This scene is framed as an example of his disregard for women and for sexual consent practices.

This scene also shows, consciously, it seems, how sexual assault can happen within intimate partner relationships. Being in a sexual relationship does not imply consent to sex at all times; however, the pressure to say "yes" to a romantic partner even if you want to say "no" can be great. In this example, Bryce actually overrides Chloe's resistance with his physical strength, so even if she were inclined to put up a greater fight here, he would likely be able to overpower her.

Even if Chloe did not actively resist Bryce's advances, her lack of enthusiastic and willing consent and Bryce's pushing forward with sexual contact regardless makes this ambiguous at best, and Bryce's actions could indeed be considered assault.

13 Reasons Why: Not Enthusiastic

13 Reasons Why is a Netflix series about the events surrounding a teenage girl's suicide. Sex and sexuality, as well as sexual violence and assault, play crucial roles in plot development and are represented frequently in the show.

from 13 Reasons Why (2018)
Creator: Brian Yorkey
Distributor: Netflix
Posted by Lee Conderacci