My brother was raped. What the hell do I do?
posted by anonymous to human relations (37 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I know that the answer is basically "be there for him," since I can't go out and exact Kill-Bill-style retribution like I would like to do, but I would very much love some advice on how to think about this and what to say to him, as well as a couple of other issues I will mention below.
My brother is a very gruff, country sort of guy who lives in an extremely small town where we both grew up (a place I avoid as much as possible). Over the past year, he has been referring to one night at a bar when he got "beat up" over and over again, talking about taking revenge (which confused the hell out of me). He finally told me a few weeks ago that, actually, he was raped that night. I don't know every detail, but he had taken some medication and then drank a lot on top of it, and was apparently arguing with everyone in sight. He went outside to fight some people, where he was held down and raped with an object.
He is vague on the details, either because he can't talk about it or because he can't remember, but there were apparently several people involved, and at least one of these people has had an important role in his life for a long time.
He feels almost like there is a conspiracy of silence around this, and he absolutely will not go to the police about this, because he is pretty sure that at least one person who is a cop already knows, and someone who was involved is closely related to other police officers in this town. In any case, I am not sure I wouldn't feel the same--it seems akin to going to Roscoe P. Coltrain for rape crisis help. He also will not consider therapy, and I am not going to gently urge it any more. Instead, he mostly seems to fantasize about some kind of violent retribution. I am fairly certain that he won't do this. However, he is very much seeking some kind of resolution and a way to live with this, and I am the only person he feels he can trust.
He wants to call me tomorrow and then ask one of the people involved about it. He just wants me on the phone in case the person he is going to confront tries to hurt him in response. I told him that he could, of course, call me, but a part of me is really nervous and worried about this.
A complicating factor here is that my brother has had serious drug problems since he was a young teenager and only recently (a couple of years ago) stopped doing the more serious drugs (he still smokes a lot of pot, but pot >>> crack). The drug problems and some family history initially made me wonder if he'd lost his mind a little, but upon reflecting and discussing this with my therapist, I do believe that he's telling me the truth, and truth based in reality. This belief rests in the way he told about the rape; it took him a whole year to work up the courage to tell me this one thing. That is not how someone with delusions behaves.
But: He is pretty fixated on there being some kind of conspiracy to cover this up, and he feels as if his life has been threatened a couple of times since that night, basically if he makes any hint that he's angry about what happened. Which I get: Good old boys doing something kind of gay might feel really weird about it. It just seems so crazy, like a Lifetime movie or something.
I think that his drug problems, and the fact that he barely talks at all, has convinced a lot of people that he is really stupid, or so stunned from all the drugs that he's barely there. He is there. He's been calling me a lot in this past year, and while he's a little emotionally immature from being on drugs for so long and certainly has a few other things that worry me a little, he's not spaced or stupid. I have wondered a bit if these people were essentially attacking someone they saw as witless, as monsters sometimes do.
He mentioned this to my mother, recently. I am not sure if he told her everything. Her response was, "You need to get your head clear." Which made him worry that she already knew all about it and never said a word. He also told me that he feels like she hates him and thinks he's everything she ever disliked about our father. Do I talk to her and tell her to not be so horrible? I don't really trust her at all, for what it's worth, but my brother feels so alone right now, and I wish someone else was on his side.
What I WANT is for him to leave that town, forever. He tells me that he's not interested in leaving, that it's his home. I ache for him. I don't know exactly what's going on, but I want him out of there so badly.
I also want to stop feeling crazy about this. A part of me still wonders how much of this is true, and if I should be worried about my brother's sanity. Another part of me worries for his safety. Upon hearing this story, what do you think? What is your reaction? I worry that I'm too close to this to have any perspective at all, and I cling to the conversation I had with my therapist about this as a kind of touchstone that tells me that I have not been sucked into a small town, drug-addled Twilight Zone.
Oh, another complicating factor is something he told me tonight: One of the things he got into a fight about is someone talking poorly about me. I'm a lesbian. He even said, tonight, that he was raped because I'm a lesbian. My partner says that this makes her feel unsafe in that town, and she wants to get a hotel in a nearby town whenever we visit, rather than staying in my mother's house. Is she overreacting? I am not sure. I grew up there.
Help? Advice? It's possible that I just really, really need to tell people about this, and an anon AskMe post is perfect for that, but man, some feedback would help me a lot. How does someone like him process something like this and get past it? What can I do to help?