When She Fell

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Disclosure: Hey guys! I've been commissioned by the Telus #RiseAbove campaign to write a story to help combat cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is something that a lot of teenagers these days have to face and more often than not, the consequences are terrifying and unfortunate. I, along with many others on Wattpad, are lucky enough to be given a platform to share our experiences in hopes that we'll be able to spread awareness and combat this harrowing issue. I hope you guys will enjoy this short piece that I wrote for this campaign.

* * *

I don't think anyone had anything bad to say about Brooke Sanders before the incident.

She was a girl that rarely stood out, blending into the crowd whenever needed to—an essential trait of any student that wanted to survive these halls.

But I guess it didn't really matter who she was before.

That was high school. You could do everything right but the second you stepped out of line, your reputation was essentially screwed.

Except things were slightly different when it came to Brooke's case.

She didn't step out of line.

Someone else did.

And she suffered because of it.

I was in the cafeteria when I saw the video.

"You know you want to kiss me, Zach," a drunk-looking Brooke slurred at the camera.

"I want to do a lot more than just kiss you," Zach's voice sounded from behind the camera.

"She's a mess," Viktor remarked, pausing the video. "She wasn't even supposed to be at that party. She went because she needed to get out of the house. Abusive household."

When the video resumed, somehow, Brooke and Zach ended up in bed, hands all over each other. He resumed recording her in nothing but her undergarments. A playful chuckle from Zach and a tear of a foil packet later, the rest was history.

I couldn't believe that Zach would do such a thing—to record someone at her most vulnerable and post it on the internet.

Hot rage simmered within the depths of me.

It got worse when I saw the comments. With every bit of insult they threw at her, my blood began to boil.

It was sickening.

When the bell rang, I went to find Brooke. I needed to know if she was okay; I didn't want her to feel like the entire world was against her.

I found her by her locker. She was on the verge of tears so I went straight for her and gave her a hug.

"I'm so sorry. Zach is an asshole," I murmured. "We're going to get those videos taken down and we're going to do whatever we can so you get the justice you deserve."

It's been two months since the incident.

Since then, the video got removed.

But the Sanders family has a copy to be kept as evidence. They're going to press charges.

Illinois has an all-party consent law which means things aren't looking good for Zach right now.

Me and Brooke became good friends. I urged her to get counselling to deal with the cyberbullying. She's working through her anxiety with her therapist every once a week.

Until now, the comments keep coming.

They are stab wounds to her reputation, and they might never go away.

But she's learning to deal with them one step at a time.

What happened to Brooke was horrible but she knows that it should not let it define her. She has learnt to stop feeding into the negativity thrown at her and instead, became fiercely resilient.

And I'm so proud of her. 

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