From Lies to Friendship

January 12, 2010
By Anonymous

Every time her name comes up in a conversation I am filled with regret. Just knowing what my friends and I did to her makes me wish I could go back in time. Her name is Lauren and something horrible happened to her. My friends and I did not treat her the way she should have been treated after this horrific incident. We would only look at the bad qualities she has and then talk about her behind her back. While all this was happening I kept thinking to myself that this should not be happing. We should be trying to be friends with her. Eventually she found out what we had been saying about her.
It all started at the beginning of eighth grade when she came to the school. Joining our school in eighth grade is not good because we are all friends and it is our last year together. We did welcome her but I knew inside that some kind of drama would happen. She came to school one day and looked like she was in pain and had been crying. I wonder why she is crying. Should I go talk to her? At first I thought she found out that we had been gossiping about her. But that was not the case at all. “Hey Lauren, what’s wrong?” I heard Christina ask her on the way to class. They were walking and whispering so I did not hear what she said, but I knew it must have been bad because Lauren started crying. “Is it okay if we talk in the hall with Lauren for a few minutes?” I asked the teacher. “Of course. You can just get the notes from a friend.” The teacher kindly responded. We were sitting alone in the quiet hallway. She looks so sad and hurt. I broke the silence and nervously asked, “So what happened?” It took her a second, but she told us everything. Oh my goodness! That is horrible! That is all I was thinking the whole time. I could not stop shaking my head in worry and sorrow. That’s how we we found out that she had been sexually abused the night before.
After that it all went downhill. She told all the girls and one girl told a bunch of the people in our class. The same girl with the big mouth started a rumor that what happened to her wasn’t true and she was just saying that to get attention because she didn’t have many friends. I guess it was just so hard to believe that we couldn’t grasp the concept. So when we heard this other explanation it was easy to be dramatic teenagers and believe the rumor. I still wondered if it really had happened to her.
After many fights and girl meetings in the long hallways during school, we finally had a meeting with the teachers in the art lab. The room was cold and at first it was very awkward. All of us got a turn to say how we felt. The teachers explained to us that she needs friends because it is true and horrible of us not to believe her. Tears were running down every face in the room from feeling so remorseful and ashamed. “Will someone pray for us to end the meeting?” a teacher asked. “I will.” I weakly offered. I started to pray but could not speak over my tears so the teacher finished for me. I looked up and saw Lauren’s face. She looked horrified, tired, and misunderstood. Today, every time I think of her, that lonely face shows up in my head. I will never again abandon a person when they need help. From now on I will think back to how much a difference trust and friendship would have made in Lauren’s life and apply it to what might happen later.

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