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Cathy
Cathy, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1436
Experience:  Ms, MS.Ed., thirty years clinical practice
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Hi there. I guess this qualifies as a relationship issue.

Customer Question

Hi there. I guess this qualifies as a relationship issue. I'm 43 years old. When I was 14 or so an older neighborhood boy raped me in my home. He was my brother's friend, he stopped by to see if he was home, we chatted about this or that, and he threw me on the floor, pinned me down and entered me once and was going to continue but my parents arrived home unexpectedly. He got off me, zipped himself and left. For reasons I can't go into, I never told anyone. I thought it was my fault, I didn't consider it rape until later and I just didn't want to think about it years later. Fast forward to a month ago--a very good and longtime friend of mine (close friends for 30+ years) started dating this guy. I live away from our hometown now, but I immediately called her and told her the above story. She basically said that she is happy with him, that was a long time ago and he's never done anything to ME. Now, she's dating this guy seriously and taking him to our reunion and other gatherings and hanging around with mutual friends who know nothing about this guy. I won't be around him socially or otherwise and my husband would kill him if he saw him. What am I supposed to do? My heart is broken, she's taking away my friends and social contacts in my hometown and I have no recourse. I'm heartbroken and I want to tell our friends about him. What can I do to feel better and attend functions without the tension? I'm hurt and lost.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Cathy replied 4 years ago.

Hi and thanks for writing JA

 

I have read your post and am so sorry for what you experienced when you were 14 and sorry to hear that it was so traumatizing to you that you were not able to access help on this. As a result it has cost you a friendship however tentative that friendship might have been.

 

A few things that I am a little bit confused about?

 

I am not sure how your ex friend took friends away from you? Did she lie about you? Spread false rumors? I guess if you could clear up this one part we might be better able to help you. How is she doing this?

Thanks so much for the additional information and warm regards, Cathy

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
The problem is that she is taking her boyfriend (who raped me) to events that are important to both of us i.e. our upcoming 25th class reunion, a mutual friend's wedding and other mutual friends gatherings where we would both normally attend. I'm not going because she insists on taking this guy. I guess it's better to say that I'm letting go of those friends because I simply cannot be in the same room with this "man." She told me that it's my problem because I'm being unreasonable. She won't tell any of our mutual friends what this beast did to me and these couples think I'm staying away because I have better things to do. Some of these events have become traditions and dividing my time among our friends won't take the place of being there with all of them. I don't think our mutual friends would approve of what she's doing which is bringing a man who raped me into our circle of friends. I hate the idea of bringing this very personal information to light as common knowledge among my friends. I don't think I should have to, but here I am. Plus, I have no guarantee what their reactions might be even if I do tell them which could further the division. I'm so hurt by all of this I'm beside myself. My choices were: Endure the presence of my rapist to keep my friend, remove myself from my social life because she is now officially exclusive with rapist, or tell everyone I was violated and hope they shun her. Talking with her and expressing what I consider reasonable concerns and expectations really blew up on me. I was told I'm being unfair because he makes her happy. Lastly, the reality is that this friendship I've had is gone because a rapist is worth more to her than me and my well-being---30+ years of friendship vs. 4 days of dating. I don't feel like I have any other choices, therefore I consider her responsible for putting me in the position to let go of my friends or try to stay included by enduring this violator's presence. I don't think it's my job to forget what he did to me because SHE thinks he's a changed man. I'm past wanting harm to come to this asshole, but the fact is just seeing him reminds me of how vulnerable I really can be. Finally, I told her everything I'm telling you. She just said that I'm unfair to ask her not to date him when he makes her happy (this was 4 days into their dating relationship). Yes, I've been in therapy for rape and other life issues (not this friend issue) but this is like have PTSD and his face triggers feelings I haven't had in years. I'm a stable individual who dealt with this violation in a healthy way, but I will never have such a profound peace with the situation that I can attend a friend's wedding and drink champagne a table away from him. Is that so unreasonable? That's a real question, not a rhetorical question.
Expert:  Cathy replied 4 years ago.
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Customer: replied 4 years ago.
If I don't want to socialize with a man who forced me to have sex without my consent I'm being a victim? Truly, I need to know if you're suggesting that I should socialize with this man (with my husband in tow)? Is that the same for all women who have been raped; if they're healthy they won't feel bad seeing their attacker's face on a regular basis? I have two questions and that is all: Do you believe if I truly let go of being a victim, I would be fine with socializing (attending functions, feeling at ease and enjoying myself and not forcing myself to stay on one side of a room) with this man on a regular basis? Next: Are you further saying that if I no longer feel hurt by this man his presence wouldn't be a burden on me? Lastly, please remember that your phrase was incorrect; this isn't a man and his new girlfriend. This is a very dear friend bringing a man who sexually assaulted her very dear friend into their mutual close-knit circle of friends. I don't consider the two sentences to be the same at all.

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Cathy
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Ms, MS.Ed., thirty years clinical practice