In light of 16 days of activism against women and child abuse, I saw it fit to tell my account of having a friend who was a victim of abuse. I just want to encourage everyone to do all they can to help victims and bring awareness to this worthy cause. In the interest of protecting people’s identities, names have been changed.
I was in 7th grade when a new student, Bianca, came into my class. She came close to a month after the term has already begun. How our seating was set up was that there were 6 rows with 2 people sharing a desk. My best friend, Teala, and I sat together and our friend Missy sat behind us without a partner. So Bianca was instructed to seat next to her.
Immediately something about her seemed rather off. She was super open and talkative one minute then she was closed off and possessive of her things the next. Naturally I just thought that it was first day jitters, going into a new school in the final year must be pretty nerve-wrecking. I asked Teala if she though anything was queer about our new classmate and she just said I was reading too much into it.
Weeks went by and eventually all four of us become thick as thieves. We were inseparable and we shared everything… Or so I thought. One day Bianca got into a tiff with one of our classmates Karen. I don’t remember what the fight was about but it was so insignificant however Bianca’s reaction to it was extremely aggressive. I recall her and Karen going to the grounds outside school to go fight where rumour has it, Bianca moped the floor with her behind! I couldn’t help but to think… Maybe she was fighting something in her more than some petty hiccup with Karen.
After the June holidays Bianca had poor attendance. When she did come to school Teala and I would ask where’s she’s been and she always came up with excuses like “I had to do something” or “I had to take care of my brother”. One day we had one of those glorious days where we had recess from lunch until the end of the day. And so we did a lot of talking… Teala, Bianca and I. She opened up to us about how she lived with her uncle who had repeatedly raped her.
Immediately we encouraged her to seek help and that she wouldn’t have to go through it alone because we can help (how best 13 year olds can help). We had faith in the cops and that there’s someone out there who’d stop what her uncle did. She begged us not to tell anyone and promptly told us she called the cops and he was arrested. She also said that was why she couldn’t come to school all the time because there was no one at the house. Of cause this didn’t make any sense to us and we figured she was lying.
Her uncle was her caretaker and if he wasn’t around anymore, she and her brother would lose a breadwinner. She attended school for no more than 2 weeks after our discussion and after that she just disappeared. We never saw her again, she never came to our farewell nor did she come to fetch her report card. Where she went is still a mystery today but I hope that wherever she is she got all the help she needed.
It’s important to know that there is always a way out of a difficult situation. You don’t have to run yourself into a wall for the sake of minimal comfort. Speak out and you have no idea how many more people you can liberate.