Jessica gives a speech at the assembly about trauma and survivors. It encourages Tyler to go public as a sexual assault survivor and even file a report against Monty. Clay is arrested for Bryce’s murder and more is revealed about what happened on Homecoming night.
What Happens in Episode 12
The episode opens with Clay wanting to disappear. He appears hopeless about his situation given that the police seem to have made up their minds that he is guilty. Before leaving, Clay calls Tyler who urges Clay to come to the assembly, emphasizing that it is an important event.
The assembly is a public apology regarding the Homecoming protest/incident, a “day of accountability and healing.” Jessica makes a speech about trauma and healing, telling the student body that true recovery cannot happen if “all we do is cover up the wounds and hope that they’ll go away.” Her speech points out that sexual assault affects everyone, even if you are not aware of it. In a way to show her point of all of the survivors among the class, she asks survivors to stand up. Many students, including Tyler and Justin, publicly reveal that they are survivors of sexual assault. Clay is arrested at the end of the assembly.
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Justin opens up to Jessica about his childhood sexual abuse history for the first time. This is clearly something that continues to impact him years later.
A highlight of this episode is its focus on the survivors of sexual assault. Jessica’s speech at the assembly brings up how important healing is for survivors. With everyone working together, she hopes that the truth can shine through and real change can happen. Jessica creates a powerful message when she states “If you think sexual assault doesn’t affect your life, you’re wrong. There are survivors all around us; people you care about who you never knew were suffering in silence.” While she encourages other survivors to open up and tell their story, she also provides a supportive message by acknowledging that not everyone is ready and it’s okay to take one’s time.
In a flashback to the Homecoming game, Clay sees Ani and Bryce kiss, which makes him incredibly upset. After Clay drops off Tyler, he goes to speak to Bryce, but Bryce isn’t home.
Bryce sees interactions between Chloe (his ex) and Zach before the start of the Homecoming game, which appears to bring out intense anger and jealousy. At half-time, Bryce attacks Zach’s leg on purpose. Once Zach is released from the hospital, he finds Bryce at the pier and beats him up since “[he] took away [Zack’s] future tonight.” Given how severe the injuries were, Zach believes he murdered Bryce. He even goes to the police station to confess. However, it turns out that Bryce died by drowning, so Zach is not the murderer.
Tyler goes to the police station to report the sexual assault by Monty, leading to Monty’s arrest for the assault and possibly for Bryce’s murder.
The episode ends with Ani and Jessica meeting up. Ani admits she slept with Bryce. She asks Jessica what was the worst thing she has ever done? Is Jessica looking more like a suspect at this point?
Tyler stood up during the assembly to show that he is a survivor as well, which was interesting because there seemed to a bigger reaction from other students associated related to male sexual assault. Sexual assaults can happen to anyone, so it is important to note that “survivors” can look like anyone regardless of sex, race, etc. It also brings up the point that sexual assaults can happen for various reasons. Why Bryce went after girls is not the same reason why Monty went after Tyler. However, the damage — physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually — that happens as a result can be similar.
- Jessica mentions sexual assault impacts everyone. Do you think this is true? How can we make things better?
- Justin opens up to Jessica about a childhood sexual assault history. What are the long-term consequences of sexual assault?
- How can someone get help for dealing with their traumatic past?
Let us know your answers in the comments below or by posting a thought on The Mighty using #13ReasonsWhy.