Hi, my name is Melinda Sordino. I just finished up my freshman year at Merryweather High School in Syracuse, New York. My school was going through an identity crisis this year and so was I. Though I did learn that I’m pretty good at art and that trees aren’t the worst artistic subject. My first year of high school was kind of rocky, especially because I had been holding a secret inside. But I’m not afraid to speak now, and I’ll prove it by sharing my story with you.
I used to have a group of friends, Rachel, Ivy and Nichole. We did everything together like shop and go to parties. That all changed over the summer, which I’ll get to in a minute. I had to start freshman year with no friends. I met Heather on the first day of school. She was new to our area and she wanted to be popular. She wanted to “belong!” We hung out all year, but I’m happy to say we don’t hang out any more. I got to know my lab partner, David, during the year too, and Ivy and I became friendly again. Rachel and I weren’t able to reconcile, and Nichole was always too sporty for me anyway. I’m happy with the friends I have now. At least I know they’re true.
So here is why I started my freshman year without any friends. Over the summer, I was raped at a party by popular senior Andy Evans. I called the cops from the party, getting everyone in trouble for gathering and drinking underage. It’s one of the unwritten rules of partying: don’t call the cops. Unfortunately for me, I never spoke up about what really happened, so everyone thought I was just some freak who liked to break up parties. I stayed silent for the longest time. When I eventually did tell someone, Rachel, she accused me of being a liar. It wasn’t until I wrote about Andy being a creep on the bathroom wall and other girls responded that I realized I wasn’t alone and someone would believe me. He tried to attack me in the janitor’s closet at the end of the year, but that time I fought back and was able to escape.
High school is one big popularity contest. Heather was very concerned with being popular. She wanted to fit in with the Marthas. You know, the Martha Stewart wannabes. Andy Evans was popular. That’s why I thought no one would believe me if I told the truth about the rape. Why would one of the most popular guys in school have anything to do with a freshman nobody? Especially a freshman nobody who calls the cops on parties.
Part of the reason I went off alone with Andy at the party is because I liked him. He was good looking and popular. He was a senior and he was talking to ME. I wanted to believe he could actually want me, not just want to sleep with me. I also think I like my lab partner David, but I’m still a little raw from the rape and the confession. We’re just friends, for now. Who knows what will come in the future.
I was definitely bullied and gossiped about because of what happened over the summer. Then I was gossiped about again after I finally told my secret. I was kicked, taunted, elbowed, jabbed, and had my hair pulled. People don’t take kindly to others messing up their drunken fun. The bullying has subsided, the gossip has not. This time, at least I’m getting some credit for putting skeevy Andy in his place. He has the fat lip to prove it.