|Jack and Toni|
My name is Robin and I’m a 7th grader in middle school. I’m writing because a friend of mine is having some problems. She is my best friend and trusts me with everything because she knows that I can keep a secret and won’t tell. This is a huge problem and I don’t know what to do. My friend is being hurt by someone in her family. I don’t go over to her house anymore because of the secret and now, I just don’t feel okay there. I know I need to tell, but I don’t want to lose her friendship or have her family torn apart. What can I do as her best friend and secret keeper?
Thank you for writing. I know it takes a good friend to help out when the person you care about is, for whatever reason, unable to help themselves. This is a difficult situation because your friend trusts you with her secret and you want to keep your word, but if someone is being hurt by keeping the secret then that changes everything. There are good and bad secrets. Good secrets may be about a present you bought for your mom and you don’t want her to know about it or who is the person behind the mask at Halloween. Those types of secrets will come out in time, they are not forever secrets. Secrets can hurt people. Sometimes hurting secrets make people feel bad about them.
Keeping secrets about being hurt physically, sexually or emotionally is not good. Someone wrote, “It’s like a garbage can that’s overflowing. Not only can it get stinky, but it also takes a lot of energy to keep the lid on those secrets. It is time to open up that garbage can and let those secrets out. It is time to tell the truth.” You may try to talk to your friend and let her know that you can stand by her through whatever happens after she tells and that the hurting probably won’t stop until she does tell. If she still doesn’t want to tell then it is up to you. I don’t say this lightly because it is a big deal and you may lose that friendship, but her getting hurt will stop. I know whatever you decide will be difficult. Tell your friend about the Children’s Advocacy Center where she will be well cared for and have someone help her through the hard times to come. She can call my mom, Toni, and talk to her about what may happen if she chooses to tell. Again, thank you for being such a good friend.