I once had a conversation with a classmate that started with “Promise me you won’t tell anyone first ok?” I promised. Then she told me something that broke my heart.
She told me that she had been abused and I immediately offered to hug her which I asked and she accepted. She and I were only in sixth grade and it was unfortunately something that I had heard before from friends in my life.
I listened to her and asked if she would think about giving me permission to share this with someone. She told me she would think about it and let me know. I know that if I had told someone without her permission she would have denied it and then stopped being friends with me.
It is never easy to hear a friend that was abused. Unfortunately, it was something that happened far too often in that community that I lived in. It didn’t matter what gender you were, you probably were abused. I found out years later that one of my guy friends was abused as well. It made me sad.
How can you care about someone as a friend and help them but they aren’t ready to ask for help? I don’t have an answer for that just that it was something that I frequently faced. I can only offer help and I said that if there was something I could do I would do it, and they seemed relieved and content that I offered support and believed them.
You don’t have to have all the answers in life, but just listening they said was a great help. This girl left a year later and her family moved from the area. I hope that she is happy and that she found some healing in her life.