TW: sexual abuse, PTSD
When I heard that Marvel was coming out with a new series on Netflix and that David Tennant would be in it, I was elated. Not only do I love Marvel, but I am also a huge David Tennant fangirl. I really liked Daredevil, so I had high hopes that Netflix would do a good job with this new series. I’m still a bit of a comic noob, so I wasn’t familiar with the storyline behind Jessica Jones.
When the time came for this new series to be released on Netflix, I was a bit busy and didn’t get to it in the first few days. Then I started seeing warnings on Twitter that, though good, this series could possibly be very triggering to anyone with a history of abuse/PTSD. This was during the time when I was having very serious issues with my own PTSD, although I hadn’t been diagnosed yet, so I decided it wasn’t wise for me to start the series, yet. Now that my new meds have taken effect and I am doing better than I was, I decided to try watching it and see if it was still too soon for me. My roommate and I watched it together, which helped.
To my surprise, instead of being triggered by this series, I was encouraged by it. Jessica faced some horrible, horrible things at the hands of Kilgrave, and her suffering often resonated with me. The long term effects of it were very obvious, and her PTSD symptoms were almost palpable to me, at times. Yet, through it all, Jessica showed incredible resilience and strength of mind and will. Yes, she obviously has some issues, which include her drinking habit, but she doesn’t let that stop her. She continues to live her life as best she can and she reaches out to others like Hope and Malcolm when they are affected by Kilgrave, as well. She goes so far above and beyond to try and help Hope. Are her ways of trying to help her always the best? No. But she does the best that she can.
Seeing how Kilgrave acted towards Jessica and others was also very illuminating, to me. His manipulation often gave me the chills. The way that he was so convinced that there was nothing wrong with what he had done and clearly believed his own justification was eerily familiar to me. The way that Jessica stood up to him and refused to let him gaslight her into thinking that his version of reality was the accurate one was amazing. It takes a lot of strength to stand up to someone like that and to refuse to allow them to change your perception. Not only did she refuse to allow him to change her perception, she also told him point blank that he raped her and refused to budge when he tried to convince her otherwise. She recognized how abusive and manipulative he was being when she stayed with him in her childhood home and she still set some boundaries with him and insisted that he honor them (not touching her, for example).
To me, Jessica developing a resistance to Kilgrave’s powers was symbolic of learning not to let the person/event that caused your trauma continue to control your life. She defied him openly on multiple occasions and refused to allow him to resume control over her, regardless of how much he got under her skin. I know it probably wasn’t meant to be symbolic by the writers, but to me, Jessica Jones will be a reminder of the fact that I can learn to live without letting my PTSD control my life.
I’m really looking forward to seeing how Jessica grows in the next season, now that Kilgrave is gone. I’m looking forward to seeing her work to help others, and hopefully start to heal from the pain and trauma that she went through.
While Jessica Jones is not a great role model, in terms of some bad decisions she makes in the course of the series, as well as her drinking habits, she’s still an inspiration to me and quite the bad ass, despite what she went through. I can’t wait to see the next season!