A few years ago, when cyber bullying was climbing to fame, a close high school friend (hereby known as A) sent me a text at 11 PM in the night. These were her words:
“Mamati ka kenyak, haan nga siyak diyay.” You have to believe me, it wasn’t me.
What she was referring to, of course, was a fake facebook account that quickly came to fame in our school. The said account went posting in different people’s profile’s, calling them “sluts” or criticizing them. People were outraged of course. How dare this fake account post words like that without even having the guts to tell us who they really were.
Fingers were pointed, and eventually everyone came into a conclusion, it was A. She was the person behind the account. She was terrorizing the other students.
And as it always does in high school, fire ignited and drama flared. Friends turned on friends, and people were isolated from others, forced to face hours of schooling alone.
It became clearer to me, after a few days, that a new kind of bullying was occuring. But it wasn’t the people whose accounts got posted in that were getting bullied, no matter how hurtful the words. It was the person who had to face all the fingers pointed at her. It was the person who got humiliated in front of a whole room of people, when she tried to beg them to see she wasn’t behind any fake accounts. It was the person who had to bare getting judged by hurtful eyes; eyes who thought they were all better than her, all because of sourceless rumors.
That night, when she sent me the text, I knew that the person who sent the message was innocent. And that she was alone. And that she was hurt. And I chose to believe her, despite what other people said. I’ve never regretted that decision.
But I do regret just standing by as people hurt her. I regret not doing more.
The truth came out, a few years later. And it turns out A was indeed innocent. People are saying it’s okay now, that at least we knew who was really behind all the hurtful words. But I know it’s not; because one fifteen year old had to go through all that humiliation and isolation, and no matter what you do, you can’t go back in time to bring all that back. You can’t put your arm around her and tell her it’s okay. Because it’s not.
To the person who was, indeed, behind the fake account. I only have one question: How could you have stood by and watched a person suffer like that? I hope to confront you someday.
Accusations go a long way, but so do apologies. And you owe her that.