My best friend, another teenage girl referred to here as E, is being victimized at my school. I’ve had a crush on her for so long, but another one of my friends (T) asked her out. E said yes to respect T’s feelings, but T started bragging to everyone that “I have a girlfriend! Look at how controversial that is! E is my girlfriend!”. T never really cared for E, so E broke up with her. Because of all of the attention T sent towards E, people started asking her questions. E is a calm, shy girl who balks under attention. Today she had a guy ask her “Can I ask you a gay question? Why don’t you like guys anymore?” and, I’m sorry in advance for language, “Are you going to eat p****y when you grow up? Do you know what a vagina looks like?”. She was nearly in tears as she told me this, and she said this wasn’t even the beginning of what this kid asked E. E is my best friend, and an incredibly sweet girl that always puts the feelings of others before her own. I don’t want to see this victimization of E anymore, and at this point I am ready to attack anyone who harasses her. I want to be able to help her, but she doesn’t want to go to administration. She is depressed and has experienced suicidal thoughts, some of which she’s told me about. I don’t want to lose E. I feel helpless watching her close in on herself as the days go by and the harassment grows larger. What can I do to help her?
E is blessed to have a friend like you. Your desire to help her is completely understandable. It is difficult to witness a friend experience the kind of harrassment/bullying you described. As her friend, the best thing you can do is provide support. Be there to listen when she needs an understanding ear. Going to the school administration shoud be her choice. Approaching the school may require “outing herself”. SInce the bullying centers on a perception of her sexuality, that issue will be raised. Once the school is involved, the parents will be contacted. Is E out to her parents? If not, this could become a more difficult situation.
You are wise to contact someone regarding E’s depression and suicidal thoughts. There is a fine line between holding your friend’s confidence and notifying an adult to a potentially dangerous situation. Can you encourage E to talk to a trusted adult, a close relative, a teacher, or a school counselor? Talking will help reduce a sense of isolation while providing an opportunity to work through the issues. On http://www.helpguide.org/mental/depression_teen_teenagers.htm you can learn more about depression and its treatment. On http://mentalhealth.samhsa.gov/databases/ you can search for mental health services in your area. You could also contact the Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists by calling 215-222-2800 or by visiting their website at http://www.aglp.org for help in finding someone in your area . Sharing this information could help.
E can always call the Trevor lifeline at 1-866-4-U-Trevor, (1-866-488-7386), 24 hours 7 days a week. You can provide her with this information. Also, Trevorspace, at http://www.trevorspace.org, is the Trevor Project’s safe, online social networking site for LGBTQ young people ages 13 to 24 their friends and allies. It’s a great supportive community where you can connect with others who might have had or are having the same questions that you’re having about dealing with bullies at school.