This is long and rambling, but I feel like I needed to get it out there...even if no one reads it. It's mostly just to make myself feel better.
Everyone who knows me knows that I absolutely ADORE Toby Turner's YouTube videos. I've been a fan since...I don't know when. Just after high school maybe? Maybe a year or two later? Something like that. If you have heard of him lately, it hasn't exactly been in a good light. There were allegations that he had drugged and raped a girl. While I don't personally believe her, I can't say whether the allegations are true or false. I wasn't there, I don't know any of the people involved personally, so I can't say whether it's happened or not. Not my place, honestly. I just know what I believe.
The reason I bring this up is because this whole situation reminded me of something that happened when I was 15 that I would have rather forgotten because it changed everything between a friend and myself. I won't give any names, so we'll call my friend "F" for this story.
It was my sophomore year of high school, so this happened about 12 years ago (wow, I feel old now) and "F" (a friend I'd literally had my whole life) just told me about a very tragic event that happened in her household. No details as that would give away her identity to people who may know her. Her entire family was destroyed. She was definitely going through some weird emotions and all I could do was to be there for her. She was probably going to move away for a while and maybe visit me sometimes. I was devastated at having a friend move away, and I felt very selfish for feeling that way.
Fast forward a couple weeks. My friend tells me she's been raped. F just suffered this horrible event in her household and now this has happened? I can not deal with this anger I feel because F was like my sister. I grew up with this girl. Everything in my being wanted to strangle this BOY (we will call him "S"). I tried to be there for her as she cried and all I wanted to do was cry with her, but the seething anger and hatred for S, someone I thought I knew, was more than enough to keep me from crying too.
After a few times of her talking to me and me trying my hardest to convince her to file charges, she still refused. I get it. As a fellow survivor, I get it. I really, really do. I still tried, though. I wanted S to pay for hurting F like he did. I wanted him to pay.
Soon, though, things started sounding funny. She wouldn't remember certain details. I wrote this off as PTSD because again, I get it. She started trying to ruin S's reputation. This didn't bother me so much because I thought he deserved it. I mean...he raped her. He hurt my best friend in the entire world. How could I not think he deserved it?
She succeeded. S was labeled a rapist throughout the school. He was never popular to begin with, but things got vastly worse for him. He became a complete outcast and was constantly ridiculed. Several times he attempted suicide because nobody believed him when he denied being a rapist.
F finally moved away a couple months later. This is where things started to come out.
S started trying to appeal to all of F's friends saying that he never hurt her. Naturally I didn't believe him because how could someone make that up? I was disgusted that he even had the audacity to look at me let alone talk to me. The other girls in our little clique felt the same. How dare he.
Another month or so later, it was F's birthday. We were all gathered for her party where she introduced her new boyfriend to us. Who shows up but S? When everyone was obviously disgusted that he dared to even show his face, F says, "I invited him." Everyone was pretty surprised and a little confused. I talked to her later at her party and asked her why.
She told me that she wanted to show off her boyfriend. She told me that her boyfriend wanted to put the fear of God into him. Then she told me something that made my jaw drop. She said that he never raped her. She just wanted to get back at him for taking her virginity and then dumping her. My heart sank. In that moment I felt so much shame at the way I had treated this boy. This poor, poor S who hadn't done the absolutely horrible thing that she had accused him of. That she had made everyone believe he had done.
I was so angry with her that I left the party. No word as to why, where I was going, or anything. I walked home in the middle of the night by myself. I couldn't handle all the different emotions that were running through me. Guilt at the way I had treated S, anger that I had been lied to by someone I trusted so absolutely, fear that if he ever decided to press charges, I could be in trouble too, and selfish for all of the above. I was disgusted with myself. I was disgusted with her.
At 15, this was all too much to deal with.
Several months later, my mother announced to the family that we were moving at the end of the school year.
F and I carried on a friendship, but things were very stiff. I didn't trust her anymore, but I didn't know how to not be friends with her.
During our final exams in school that year (before we moved), my assigned seat in the auditorium was right next to S. During our hour break for lunch, I asked if I could talk to him. I apologized for everything that I had put him through and I even apologized for F because I knew she didn't think she'd done anything wrong. I apologized for everything. I cried, he cried, and when the exams were over, we went our separate ways. I felt better after getting everything off my chest and seeing him smile because someone finally believed him made me feel even better.
Nothing will ever take away what I did to him in high school. I was young, dumb, and incredibly naive. He never deserved the hell we put him through. I thought I was a vigilante, but really I was just a bully.
When I moved away, I stopped talking to F. I really had nothing to say to her. I still hear from her every once in a while. She's married with two kids now.
Good for her. I wish her the best.
I wonder sometimes if she ever thinks about what she did. I wonder if she ever feels bad for what she did. I also wonder if she ever apologized to him. I mean...she DID invite him to the party, I guess. Maybe that was her way of apologizing? I don't know.
I only brought all this up because of this whole thing going on with Tobuscus. I've been feeling ill all over again about what happened with F and S since hearing about it. I am a weird one, I have too much empathy for people I don't know.