'13 Reasons Why' actor Devin Druid says Tyler's brutal sexual assault scene is just a reflection of reality
In season 2, Tyler is seen attacked by a group of bullies in the school bathroom, who beat him up before proceeding to sexually assault him with a mop.
With just three days to go for the highly anticipated premiere of Netflix's '13 Reasons Why' season 3, the one incident that has still managed to sit with fans, mostly because of how unnerving it was, is the brutal rape scene of one its male characters, Tyler Down, in season 2.
Labelled as one of the most controversial points in a TV show because of how graphic the portrayal of the scene was, the show has managed to draw massive flak for the reckless nature of its execution and the stigma associated with the issue of male rape, which is something that doesn't get addressed in pop culture much. And if you ask actor Devin Druid, who is about to reprise his role of Tyler in the upcoming third season, the scene was something the show focusing on harrowing incidents of sexual assault, suicide, and bullying of teens, couldn't do without.
In season 2, Tyler was seen attacked by a group of bullies in the school bathroom, who beat him up and then proceeded to sexually assault him with a mop. "Sexual assault is such a common issue, as much as we don't like to think about it," Druid remarked, addressing the harrowing experience of his character in the second season of the show.
"Two out of three college girls are assaulted on campus, and that's become such a regular aspect of our culture. In season 1, two girls were sexually assaulted and nobody bats an eye, and then a male character is sexually assaulted and it's violent and that's how these things are in the real world," he added.
While it's true that the debut season of the show did garner massive criticism for its graphic suicide scene of the protagonist, and one of the assaulted characters, Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford), there's also no denying her and another character, Jessica Davis' sexual assault weren't labelled as controversial as Tyler's.
Speaking further about the same, Druid said: "There are kids even younger than Tyler - a high school senior - who are being assaulted and even more brutal ways, with baseball bats. There was 'Law & Order' episode about a hockey player who was assaulted, and so are young kids. These things are happening all the time, to a point where that episode became a big talking point."
While the show did get its fair share of criticism, Druid would like to note that the lack of open discourse on the issue of male rape is what has lead to a misconception about their show's portrayal being an elaborate fiction. "I even saw a lot of people online saying like this doesn't happen. But oh no, it does. It's how often the issue is not talked about that leads people to think this is all fiction. That's why we want to bring awareness."
And clearly, the idea of opening the conversation has worked, because Druid recalls getting "messages from young men and mothers of boys who told me that they and their sons had gone through similar things, and by seeing their stories portrayed on such a big show to a wide audience, they felt validated and understood that their message and their stories were getting out there, and would inspire change to our culture, and to society. So it's such an important thing and something that I'm really glad to be a part of.
'13 Reasons Why' premieres season 3 on Friday, August 23 only on Netflix.