Editor’s note: Letters to Rhonda and Dr. Cheri come from around the U.S. via our website and are not necessarily from Prescott.
Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,
I am 12 years old and a former friend is telling everyone that I slept with my boyfriend (he’s not my boyfriend anymore).
My younger sister, who is 11, and my former friend are best friends now, and my sister will hardly speak to me. I tried telling her that I did not sleep with him.
We used to share everything but now she moved into my older sister’s room instead of mine. My older sister told my mom and my mom punished me and said she is going to tell my dad. (They are divorced.) My dad will kill me.
I made my older sister tell me what everyone is saying about me.
She said they are calling me a slut. When I started crying and said I didn’t do anything, she didn’t care. My older sister has had sex, but no one in my family said anything to her.
Why am I being picked on? Should I ask this guy why he is spreading these rumors?
I Want a New Life
Dear I Want a New Life,
You are a courageous person to not join in and surrender to the appetites of your peers. It is a strong choice for you to continue living your chosen values and for being true to them. You are loved and we applaud you for living in truth! Truth will reign in the end. Truth matters, even when it isn’t acknowledged.
Having “a new life” is your choice.
Here’s how you can move forward:
Go to your school counselor, clergy, or a therapist, and ask for help in communicating the truth to your family. It might be the difference in your family understanding you and the truth. Maybe you can all receive help together so you won’t feel so alone. Either way, please seek someone to listen to you and your needs.
You can only change your own self and not your family or others. Certainly, you can’t change the unfair behavior of your former boyfriend.
Stop defending and explaining yourself — it only encourages debate. However, even if you did do what they are saying, it is really as important as the fact that you have been betrayed and feel alone. Your issues need to be addressed in order for you to have healthy relationships in your future.
Tell your school administrators what this boy is saying on social media and ask for help. Ask your school to deal with him and his wrong choices. Ignore him from now on.
If you do not ignore him, he will fuel his gross ego with any attention from you. Don’t give him that power. You deserve better than that.
We believe you are too young for a boyfriend right now. You can change your life by becoming involved with a school or church or community activities (choose a comfortable and healthy environment). It will give you relief to serve others and help your pain.
Your responsibility is to find out who you are and to Define Yourself Before Others Do so you may make better choices in good guys. Do not date until you do that—this may mean when you are sixteen or older.
Become a leader in those activities and encourage other young girls to do the same. When other young girls see your good example (maybe even your sisters), they may be inspired by you!
Signed, Rhonda and Dr. Cheri
Rhonda Orr is the president and founder of the Prescott-based Rhonda’s STOP BULLYING Foundation. Dr. Cheri L. McDonald, PhD, LMFT, is a crime-victim specialist. Send your anonymous questions to Rhonda@rhondastopbullying.org. Find out more about Rhonda’s STOP BULLYING Foundation at www. rhondastopbullying.org.