Tape 7: Side A – Mr. Porter
When it comes to the tapes we have now reached the final destination… or for the Hannah she reached the end of the road. Hannah’s now at the point of no return and there’s only one person that can save her from her bloody end and it’s the school’s guidance counselor Mr. Porter. In the book in the very beginning in the epilogue Clay reveals that Mr. Porter would be the last person to receive the tapes so there was no mystery at all on who would be lucky #13 of the “Baker’s Dozen” The real question would be however why would Mr. Porter be on Hannah’s shitlist? It’s odd because of all the names on the list Mr.Porter is the only adult to be named and to receive the tapes and Hannah point blank says to #13 “YOU CAN TAKE THE TAPES AND GO STRAIGHT TO HELL!” Was Hannah’s anger towards Mr. Porter warranted or was she a “vengeful harpy” as so many haters of this story wrongly accuse her of? Let’s talk about it.
To sum up Mr. Porter’s tape: Hannah is physical, mentally and emotionally broken and ultimately decided to commit suicide and mail her cassette suicide note to start the events of this story. But before she does that she decides to give life ONE LAST TRY and decides to get professional help, so she arranges a meeting with her school guidance counselor Mr. Porter. Unlike the other people of the tape where she talks about what they did to her, with the meeting with Mr.Porter she live records both of them secretly with the tape recorder hidden in her bag. Hannah tells Mr. Porter in a vague way all of the bad things that’s been happening to her. Mr. Porter tries to draw out more information to try to come up with solution. Hannah says that “something” had happened to her at a party by a senior at the school. Rather than actually come up with helpful advice to tell Hannah he actually tells her to wait until that senior graduates so you won’t have to be bothered with him anymore. The lack of help from Mr. Porter was the final nail in the coffin as Hannah leaves the school, drops off the cassette tapes in the mail for Justin to receive, drops off the 2nd copy of tapes to Tony’s house, then she goes to her home to commit suicide.
Now there are a lot of people that actually defend that Mr. Porter did nothing wrong… I’m not one of those people. I believe he was doing a decent job of helping Hannah right up until he told her to “forget about the guy that has done something to you” that’s is where he fucked up royalty. There are 2 things you should never tell a woman that has gone through sexual harassment of any kind: you should never blame the victim or say that it was their fault, and you should never tell the victim to “just move on” because doing either of those is victim shaming and can cause possibly more damage than there is. With the case of Hannah she used up her one last lifeline to save herself with Mr. Porter and he failed her and he knows it. Unlike the others on the list where they can deny and say it’s “Hannah’s truth” of what really happened Mr. Porter actual voice and words are on the tape since Hannah recorded the meeting so he can’t deny at all what he said and there is at least 12 people that knows the shitty job as a counselor he had done.
Teenagers doing stupid shit is one thing they don’t know any better but adults in authority roles there is no excuse at all when it comes to stupidity. As a lot of people pointed out if those tapes leak to the public he will DEFINITELY get into some trouble: shame, definitely fired, and possibly some jail time for not legally calling the cops/parents of a possible rape victim confessing to a crime happening to them. You can also imagine listening to this tape that makes Jessica really question of reporting her rape by Bryce since knowing that reporting a rape crime might not get the serious attention from people in charge. It makes perfect sense of Hanhan telling Mr. Porter to go straight to hell because of his lack of involvement but it does show how kids at school literally have to fend for themselves before they turn 18 since many adults don’t take “kid problems” seriously at all. I don’t know Mr. Porter’s fate in the books but in the show Hannah’s parents does receive a copy of the tapes so when they hear Hannah’s meeting before her suicide it’s a safe bet that Mr. Porter is gonna have his hands full dealing with very angry parents wanting to cut his head off for not saving their child.