How to deal with a complicated semi-sexual assault?
June 2, 2015 12:52 PM   Subscribe

Difficulty level: it was mostly nonviolent, largely unsuccessful, and perpetuated by my husband's best friend, who happens to be an old ex and had been (I thought) a close friend to me. What is reasonable to feel and more importantly, what should I do?

So essentially, "Adam" - is an old ex of mine in a tight knit friend circle. Our breakup was long over when I started dating his friend Charlie, who I ultimately married. Adam said he was happy for us and that everything was cool and seemed to be Charlies' greatest supporter, which let us all be friends and do a lot of things together without it feeling weird.

One night when I was hanging out with Adam, after a few drinks, while we were alone, he confessed that he never stopped loving me and tried to kiss me. I ducked that pretty easily and tried to tell him to cool down - I figured it was just one of those things and he'd get over it - but Adam kept trying to kiss me and actually started groping at me - grabbing my breasts, trying to lift my skirt and get at my groin, and grabbing one of my hands and forcing it onto his crotch. Adam started telling me that we had to have sex, that maybe Charlie would be cool with it, and actually grabbed my head and forced it still so he could actually land a kiss. I managed to break his hold and ultimately somehow got it through to him that I did not actually want to have sex with him and he needed to go home, so he did.

Adam apologized the next day and took full blame, saying he had been very drunk, that he was drinking during the daytime most days and was already drunk when he saw me (which I had not realized), that he did love me but would never get drunk around me again to make sure nothing would happen. Adam asked me not to tell Charlie, and said it would destroy Charlie because Charlie doesn't have a lot of friends. I wanted to tell Charlie, especially because Adam didn't want me to, but found myself having a hard time of it. I was secondguessing myself - had I done anything to lead Adam to think his attentions would be welcomed? Should I have not been alone with Adam even though he was acting harmless?

I ultimately did tell Charlie a couple weeks later, but he didn't react the way that I would have hoped he would. He asked if I screamed, he was angry I hadn't told him sooner, and he said he would need to talk to Adam to 'get the truth'.

When Charlie talked to Adam, Adam lied his ass off and bro'd up - told Charlie that I had come on to him, that I had said Charlie would be fine with it, that it had nothing to do with me and Adam just couldn't turn down any woman offering, that he was sorry if he'd misread my offer. Charlie now says that because our 'stories were different' that he's going to have to 'dig' to get the 'real truth'. Charlie is saying he can't be around Adam right now, but he seems to be leaving the door open for Adam to be forgiven in future, which I find upsetting. Charlie is also moping a lot and acting like the real problem here is that now he can't be friends with Adam anymore, saying if he would he would have 'gone back in time and prevented you(us) from hanging out', not that Adam is a kind of rapey shit.

tl;dr: What is reasonable to feel about ex-boyfriend, ex-friend Adam? Is it reasonable to put a foot down and say he's not welcome in our house anymore? What is reasonable to feel about husband Charlie? And what do I do to move forward?
posted by sockeroonie to Human Relations (99 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
 
I am so sorry this is happening to you. It's reasonable to feel anything that you feel. I would suggest writing your feelings down in a journal. During times of great distress in my life when I did not know what to feel or how reasonable my feelings were I found that keeping a journal was incredibly helpful in terms of walking myself through the crisis and my emotions.

I also think a therapist may be helpful as someone to talk to. An objective third party.

Take care of yourself and don't let anyone tell you how to feel about this. It's ok to feel whatever you end up feeling and those feelings may change and switch around and contradict themselves at times. Just take care of yourself and be kind to yourself.
posted by sockermom at 12:56 PM on June 2, 2015 [6 favorites]


that's not a "semi" sexual assault. That is a full on sexual assault. I give you permission to get this person out of your life entirely, and stop blaming yourself, and have a come to jesus talk with your husband to make sure he doesn't blame you either. This sounds awful and traumatic. Please consider counseling to help you process the bullshit you're being subjected to. I'm really sorry about all of this.
posted by janey47 at 12:57 PM on June 2, 2015 [130 favorites]


This guy assaulted you, lied to your husband and tried to break up your marriage? Yes, completely okay to say he is not ever allowed to see you again. And you need to tell your husband to stop defending someone who assaulted you.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:57 PM on June 2, 2015 [118 favorites]


What is reasonable to feel about ex-boyfriend, ex-friend Adam?

Hatred is pretty reasonable. Reporting him to the police would also be reasonable (but probably will go no farther than it did with Charlie, sadly).

Is it reasonable to put a foot down and say he's not welcome in our house anymore?

Entirely reasonable.

What is reasonable to feel about husband Charlie?

Rage would be reasonable. Betrayal, etc. He is explicitly not taking your side, and that is the bottom line. When it's he-said-she-said, your spouse should always take your side, and frankly, it shouldn't have even gotten to he-said-she-said, because he should trust you when you say that you were sexually assaulted (and it wasn't semi-sexual assault, it was full-on sexual assault).

And what do I do to move forward?

Counseling for yourself at the least, couples counseling if he's willing.
posted by Etrigan at 12:58 PM on June 2, 2015 [56 favorites]


I don't have some great insight on the questions, but I wanted to say that this wasn't a semi-sexual assault, it was a sexual assault and you are absolutely entitled to feel violated by that.

It's entirely reasonable to no longer want to be anywhere near Adam. I don't even know what to tell you about Charlie. That's one first-class jackass you married, but you are married and I don't think one throws DTMFA around lightly when people are married. That said: He doesn't trust you and he is not supporting you following a sexual assault. That's some pretty serious "bad husband" stuff.

Finally, I note that if you did DTMFA then Charlie could still be friends with Adam, which seems to be a concern for him
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 12:59 PM on June 2, 2015 [18 favorites]


Anything that you are feeling is reasonable to feel. Your feelings are valid. Anger, feeling betrayed, hurt, sadness--it is all valid. Please give yourself permission to experience your feelings without guilt. This sounds like a very traumatic and difficult situation. I would also strongly suggest therapy, especially because your husband is being the opposite of supportive at a time when he most needs to be supportive, and that is a serious problem in and of itself.

Good luck and please be kind to yourself.
posted by Librarypt at 1:04 PM on June 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm glad that other people invoked DTMFA first, because... yeah. That is serious, serious, awful behavior on his part.

I'm so sorry your feelings and perceptions are being minimized. nthing that this is assault and, at the very least, you should not have to have anything to do with Adam anymore, no questions asked.
posted by missrachael at 1:05 PM on June 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


This was entirely sexual assault (and it was violent) and you are entitled to feel how you feel. You do not ever have to speak to Adam again, and I'm not sure what maintaining contact with him would accomplish.

Your husband maybe needed to recover from the shock at first, but if he still doesn't believe you then you're effectively divorced already and the paperwork just hasn't been filled out. It turns out he's a horrible human being, and that's going to be a huge rolling shock to you for some time, and is a second reason to seek out some counseling. I'm so sorry he's treating you like this.
posted by Lyn Never at 1:05 PM on June 2, 2015 [17 favorites]


What is reasonable to feel about ex-boyfriend, ex-friend Adam?

In your own words he's a rapey shit. His actions were disgusting and unconscionable and if you feel that he should, for instance, be shot from a cannon into the sun, even that is perfectly reasonable considering his actions.

Is it reasonable to put a foot down and say he's not welcome in our house anymore?

Very, absolutely yes.

What is reasonable to feel about husband Charlie?

This is a complicated one because he is on the one hand your husband and on the other hand completely wrong on all counts: he has no excuse for taking his friend's word with the same amount of veracity as his wife's, he has no right to be upset with you for not telling you before you were ready to do so, and he's clearly trying to keep up a friendship with a dude who assaulted his wife (and, I will fucking bet you other people as well.) if you feel angry or hurt or resentful, that's all reasonable considering the behavior you described from Charlie.

And what do I do to move forward?

Is it possible to get Charlie to go to a mediator (like a therapist) familiar with this territory? I mean, he's wrong, you're right and if he's not accepting it from you, then maybe a professional could help.
posted by griphus at 1:07 PM on June 2, 2015 [21 favorites]


This is absolutely sexual assault. You are entirely justified in never wanting to see Adam again. You are, in fact, entirely justified in reporting the matter to the police.

Charlie likely needs time to process this mentally and emotionally; it's likely quite a blow to him to consider the fact that someone he has been friends with for a long time could do something like this. Ultimately, he needs to stand by your side, though. It's sad that he does not trust you.

(I know if I heard one of MY friends had done something like that to MY wife, he'd be out of my life entirely faster than you can say Jack Robinson, and I don't care HOW long we've been friends. None of my friends, however, has ever dated my wife.)

Good advice to get yourself a therapist, though.
posted by tckma at 1:11 PM on June 2, 2015 [6 favorites]


Have a serious talk with your husband. Tell him that you've had a bit more time to process things, and you're realizing that this was a full-on sexual assault. You're no longer willing to minimize Adam's actions even a little bit. And that you understand that Charlie is in denial about his friend betraying him, but you don't have the luxury of denial - he betrayed you and sexually assaulted you, and then lied about it. And that disbelieving his wife's sexual assault is going to lead to more trouble for him than whether Adam is his friend - it will lead to significant trouble in your marriage, and already has. Because this amounts to a second betrayal of sorts - a spouse is supposed to be there to support his wife during a difficult, possibly traumatic event, and he hasn't been there for you.

If you believe all of that (and you should), you have to tell him.
posted by naju at 1:11 PM on June 2, 2015 [62 favorites]


I'm pretty good in a crisis (thanks, childhood abuse!) so below is what I would do. Instead, you might want to call around to rape/crisis intervention helplines to find someone professional to help you sort out your options. Like I said, here is what I would do to validate my experiences and keep myself safe and strong moving forward....



Pack up your stuff. Phone friends or family and sort out a place to stay.

Go to the police. Report the assault. Agree to press charges.

Seek out a therapist or other trauma specialist. Get care and support.

Talk to a lawyer about getting legally separated. Consider couples counseling while you live apart, but ultimately, you likely need a divorce. I can't understand your husband's position. I don't think you could forgive him for not believing you, do you? Someone assaulted you in your own home, your husband's reaction is not appropriate to the situation.

I'm so sorry.

Whatever you decide will be right for you. I personally couldn't spend another second with these men. YMMV.
posted by jbenben at 1:13 PM on June 2, 2015 [19 favorites]


"You need to believe me to stay married to me" would also be reasonable.

If you, a person I never met, told me out of the fucking blue my best friend had sexually assaulted you... I would implicitly believe you, because you have no reason to lie and my best friend would have every reason to lie. People just don't lie about this stuff nearly as often as it happens.

Your husband is not a court of law he doesn’t need to “get all the facts” he needs to believe you. This isn’t fucking dragnet it’s your life and your marriage.
posted by French Fry at 1:21 PM on June 2, 2015 [68 favorites]


If I were in this situation, I'd be filing a police report and pressing charges against Adam (despite my lack of faith that our justice system will take appropriate action), and divorcing Charlie. I would never trust either of these men again. This sort of garbage reaction is exactly what you don't need from your partner in life.
posted by ktkt at 1:22 PM on June 2, 2015 [9 favorites]


I am so sorry you are going through this.

You would be well rid of both of these losers.
posted by Snazzy67 at 1:23 PM on June 2, 2015 [7 favorites]


What is reasonable to feel about ex-boyfriend, ex-friend Adam?

You get to decide how you feel, but it's totally appropriate to feel betrayed, angry, upset, shaken... however you feel is okay.

Is it reasonable to put a foot down and say he's not welcome in our house anymore?

Yes! I recommend this. Being drunk does not make his behavior excusable. It sounds like he is having some serious problems with drinking and possibly mental illness generally, but it's not ever appropriate for him to sexually assault you or anyone else.

What is reasonable to feel about husband Charlie?

Again, you get to feel however you feel, and no one else should tell you how to feel. Charlie needs to step up and support you, which means believing your account of events and getting that Adam has a reason to lie but you don't. I'm sure it's hard to come to terms with that a trusted friend committed a sexual assault, but if he's prioritizing his history with Adam and desire to continue that friendship over your safety then it's time to go. Rape apologism has no place in a loving partnership.

And what do I do to move forward?

I think jbenben is right about calling a crisis line for assistance in sorting out what to do next and what you want to do next. Reach out to people who believe you and spend time with them or stay with them. Do whatever makes you feel safe and supported. Avoid Adam. Get counseling. Decide if you want to stay in your marriage and what would need to happen for that to be viable.
posted by bile and syntax at 1:25 PM on June 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


I would rid myself of both these complete and utter assholes by any means necessary up to and including faking my own death. Adam is a vile human being but your husband really takes the piece of shit cake.
posted by poffin boffin at 1:26 PM on June 2, 2015 [36 favorites]


You know, on re-reading, Charlie isn't just saying that maybe you misunderstood or some such bullshit. He's actually saying that he believes that maybe it was your intent to cheat on him and that you outright and deliberately lied about your attempt to cheat on him. The enormity (in both the common and pedantic meanings of the word) is unfathomable.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 1:28 PM on June 2, 2015 [45 favorites]


Just want to say that abandoning the marital home is something divorce attorneys counsel against. You should still leave for the short term. I'm kinda worried both you and your husband are in shock. I'm kinda worried about Adam's drinking problems, his willingness to do violence, and the lack of protection your husband is showing towards you.

So, the first item on my personal ToDo list was "Pack and leave" because I don't know how anything can get sorted out before you are actually somewhere safe amongst people who support and believe you. Go find those people, even if they are at a shelter. Seriously.

Shock is a huge huge thing when you've been transgressed against. It causes you to shut down. Make phone calls, reach out, tell your story. Get help. Get someplace safe.
posted by jbenben at 1:29 PM on June 2, 2015 [6 favorites]


Also, Charlie seems to be really keen on keeping a friend who, if he believes Adam's story, didn't bother to tell him that his wife had propositioned him. Even if the situation was taking place in Opposite Land and Adam was the one telling the truth and you were the one making shit up to cover your ass, that still does no favors to the two of them.
posted by griphus at 1:29 PM on June 2, 2015 [19 favorites]


You were 100% sexually assaulted by Adam, whose dissembling to Charlie firmly moves him from the "made a horrible mistake while drunk" square to the "loathsome piece of shit" square.

Charlie is failing at being a husband and partner to you by not trusting and supporting you.

I'd say shutting Adam out of your life completely and going to counseling with you would be the very least Charlie should have to do if he wants to continue being married to you, but man if you wanted to just bounce on both of these creeps and start over I'd have a real hard time finding any reason for you not to do just that.
posted by prize bull octorok at 1:32 PM on June 2, 2015 [24 favorites]


Just to echo what some folks have pointed out above, because I think it would be helpful for you: this in fact is not complicated or "semi" at all. You were sexually assaulted by someone you thought was a friend and your husband is being a supreme asshole about it. End of story.

You are entirely justified in removing Adam from your life in all respects. You are also entirely justified to be pissed off by your husband's response, and if he doesn't get on the ball right quick I would take it as a reason to treat your marriage as a dysfunctional one (counselling, sleeping on the couch, etc.) if not the beginning of the end.
posted by jess at 1:35 PM on June 2, 2015 [11 favorites]


What is reasonable to feel about ex-boyfriend, ex-friend Adam?

Any and everything you feel is reasonable. But this is such an undeniably profound betrayal, such a pointed strike at your heart and trust and love and faith in Adam and other human beings (because if your close friend can do this to you, who knows what the hell else can happen?) so my $0.02 is that it's most reasonable to feel very, very negatively toward him. And if it makes you feel any better, I don't know you from Eve, but I am straight-up literally hating him on your behalf. Teeth-grinding, fist-clenching resentment and anger.

Is it reasonable to put a foot down and say he's not welcome in our house anymore?

Oh my goodness, yes. Yes, yes, yes. Your home is a place where you deserve to feel safe and Adam has just made it abundantly clear that there is a possibility you will be physically endangered any time he's around. He's trying to bargain with you, say that he won't get drunk around you "to make sure nothing would happen"? Bullshit. It's bullshit and you know it, we all know it: He's a grown adult, he made each and every decision that led up to his decision to sexually assault you (or, even at most charitable, decide to get drunk enough that he could even comprehend attempting to do that to you, his close friend, who is also married to another one of his close friends). So yes, put your foot down all day every day until you know you're safe, and tell your friends and family so they can offer you a place to stay if Charlie continues to insist on his "both sides do it, hurrr" garbage.

What is reasonable to feel about husband Charlie?

I hope it's OK to admit that I'm hating him on your behalf, too. The sentence that stuck out most to me in your post was, "Charlie now says that because our 'stories were different' that he's going to have to 'dig' to get the 'real truth.'" I don't even know how to articulate this and I'm getting a little teary-eyed just typing it: How fucking DARE he. He's not 'digging' for the 'real truth,' he's calling you -- his wife, his partner, the love of his life -- a liar. I don't know what he thinks your motivations would be for him to accuse you of such a thing, but to put it very lightly, it certainly doesn't reflect well on him or his ability to empathize with the one person in the world he's sworn to have and hold for the rest of his days.

Charlie's decision to act like the main problem is that he might (!!!) not be able to continue a friendship with Adam (100% because of something Adam did to you), as opposed to the fact that Adam tried to rape his wife, is bewildering in the extreme. I don't know anything about marriage, but when you're in a committed relationship with someone, above all else, you're supposed to be on the same team. Their victories are your victories, their losses are your tragedies. You're supposed to trust and admire and believe them; you're certainly not supposed to undermine them or accuse them of lying because bros over hos or whatthehellever. Charlie is fucking up his part of the deal in a breathtaking way -- who else are you supposed to be able to turn to at a time like this, if not your husband? Whether or not you think he has the capacity to apologize and atone for this is entirely, completely, 100,000% up to you and you alone. You get to call the shots. Whatever you think would help YOU the most, that's what I think you should do.

And what do I do to move forward?

If you're comfortable talking about what happened and all the feelings it has already brought or might still bring up, I would recommend reaching out to RAINN or an individual therapist who has experience with sexual assault. Beyond processing the profound betrayal and disgust experienced around/about the assault itself, your life, truth, and reality are being called into question by someone who is very dear to you, and that is an incredibly painful thing to process on your own.

I'm sending all my love and light and hope to you, OP. I'm so sorry you're having to deal with this.
posted by divined by radio at 1:41 PM on June 2, 2015 [58 favorites]


This is a horrible situation and I'm so sorry these two men have treated you this way.

Those in this thread who are urging you to never speak to Adam again, to forbid him to ever enter your home again, and possibly press criminal charges, are absolutely right. You nailed it when you called him a rapey shit.

As for your husband, he ought to have taken your side in this. That's not only what the kind of love and trust that ought to be between two spouses demands, it's what common decency demands. If a female friend of mine tried to force a boyfriend of mine to have sex with her in this way, damn straight she'd be gone from my life. If a male friend of mine assaulted a female friend of mine in this way, the guy would be dead to me. The only exception I can possibly think of that would permit anyone to act in the way your husband has is if the person who claimed to have been assaulted were a pathological liar or someone not completely in touch with reality, and unless that is the case here (and I see no reason to believe it is), there is simply no excuse for your husband not to trust you when you said you'd been sexually assaulted.

Looking at your previous history, I see you've posted one other question about your husband. It's light on details about his behaviour, but between that question and this, I think it may be time to consider that you may have made a mistake in marrying this man. Please get a therapist of your own to help you deal with being sexually assaulted and to help you figure out whether it's worth working on this marriage before you try to get couples counselling as other people have suggested. You have a daughter to consider as well, so please give serious consideration to the question of whether you should continue in this marriage, and whether it can ever be a healthy one given your husband's character.

Again, I am so sorry about all this. You deserve better treatment, and I hope you take the steps necessary to make sure you get better treatment.
posted by orange swan at 1:46 PM on June 2, 2015 [14 favorites]


I wrote a long comment and then deleted it because divined by radio already said it all. I'm so sorry this happened to you. You deserve to feel safe, you deserve to be believed by everyone and most of all your own partner, you deserve to never have to even think about Adam again if you don't want to let alone see him, you deserve to have a partner who's so far in your corner that they not only support your decision but fights for you to be able to get what you need.

If it helps, we believe you. We know what happened was wrong. We know that nothing you did caused this-- that Adam decided, himself, that his sense of entitlement to your body trumped your own safety and health and bodily autonomy and rights as an individual. We know you'll get through this, with or without your partner. We're in your corner.
posted by WidgetAlley at 1:51 PM on June 2, 2015 [15 favorites]


Sorry OP about the whole situation.


Based on your story (and without downplaying Adam's assault on you), the more permanently upsetting problem seems to be Charlie.
- No loyalty to you when you tell him you've been assaulted?
- No grasp on who might be most likely to invent lies in a situation like this?
- More ready to grieve for a lost friendship than on your behalf?
Christ what an asshole. I would be out of there yesterday.
posted by Namlit at 1:54 PM on June 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


I think part of Charlie's problem and why he's having a hard time is that my response to all this hasn't really been clear-cut or what he'd think would be normal for me. For example even though Charlie knows I'm a 'tough girl', I didn't fight. But I can't really explain how much like a horror movie it was, how slow and horrible and unreal everything felt. And I did still (mostly) talk to Adam when he came over to our house and I kept up appearances and was smiling and stuff. I don't know how to explain other than that I just wasn't ready to deal with it.

Charlie doesn't think I deliberately cheated on him, he is upset that I didn't tell him for those few weeks. He is acting like I had an obligation to tell him and it is a betrayal not to have told him right away - he even did use the word 'betrayal'.

Charlie has agreed to do some stuff - we are going to be moving. Right now we are renting a few blocks away from Adam - at a place Adam had suggested - and I can't deal with it. I saw him driving in our neighborhood and it stressed me out. I just never want to see Adam again, honestly. But Charlie keeps talking about how much it's going to suck to move and how he likes our apartment now. Oh, and also - even though they are not Hanging Out, Charlie bought something from Adam recently and still has another payment to make, but won't accept a 'just put the check in the fucking mail' solution, he wants to walk it over himself.

So it's not that he's not supporting me At All, but it feels like he's not supporting me enough.
posted by sockeroonie at 1:55 PM on June 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


Other people are giving good advice, and I second the recommendation to call your local rape crisis center. In the US, the RAINN hotline (800.656.HOPE (4673)) will connect you automatically to the closest center. They can help you talk through this, and they may also be able to talk to your husband about his feelings, if he's willing to come in. (Some places offer crisis counseling for loved ones, some don't.)

A point that I didn't see others address: In case you're doubting yourself because you didn't disclose the assault to your husband for a few weeks, please know that that's a very normal response. It's so easy to question what happened and wonder if you're to blame, on top of dealing with the physiological effects of a trauma (which generally include shutting down a bit, which can lead to indecisiveness), that most people don't disclose assaults immediately. That's totally normal, and not any reason for your husband to doubt your word.

Please take care of yourself.
posted by jaguar at 1:56 PM on June 2, 2015 [18 favorites]


This is all backwards.
You've been assaulted. Assault is a traumatic experience, and people deal with it according to their own agendas.
You have no obligation to "really explain" anything. Charlie has an obligation to take care of you so you can heal. Period.
posted by Namlit at 2:00 PM on June 2, 2015 [15 favorites]




So it's not that he's not supporting me At All, but it feels like he's not supporting me enough.

With respect, he is not supporting you at all.

YOU were the one who was assaulted. You do not owe it to anyone, even your intimate partner, to react in any particular way, or to deal with things in the order that someone on the outside would prefer. Assault is trauma. Trauma makes you do horrible painful things, like keep up appearances and second-guess yourself. These are normal and even if they weren't, it's frankly none of Charlie's fucking business how you react to being traumatized.

Charlie's response, insofar as it is even his place to make a response which is frankly fucking questionable at this point, is to reassure and support you. If you have a reputation as a tough girl, he should be reassuring you that you are still strong, that you are still a fighter, that this doesn't negate you or your success or your strength. I am also a tough girl-- I have been in a burning house voluntarily for heaven's sake-- and I have still been in situations were I was slow to react and didn't fight even though it might have been the better option. It's a soul-destroying feeling because it eats away at your own image of yourself as a fighter. Charlie should be helping you with that, not contributing to it. The least, the very LEAST he can do to respect your trauma is not to bitch about things like having to move, let alone not see Adam again.

I'm sorry this isn't a very coherent comment, but really what it comes down to is that everything Charlie is doing are classic examples of the way that misogynist men minimize, excuse, justify, and negate the reality and trauma of sexual assault for women. His tactics are obvious even if they're unintentional: questioning the truth of the narrative, implying that you should have done something differently during the assault, suggesting that you transgressed instead of it being an assault at all, placing the blame for the fallout (such as the move) on you rather than the perpetrator, demanding you follow some kind of mythical 'victim' script during your recovery. You are not being treated with the respect and love you deserve from a casual acquaintance, let alone a partner. I understand if you're still reeling and need to deal with the fallout from the assault itself for now, but please keep this in the back of your mind: your husband is not "not doing enough" to support you. He is not only not supporting you, he is doing things that may actively undermine your mental health.
posted by WidgetAlley at 2:06 PM on June 2, 2015 [71 favorites]


In response to your follow up comment, I think your behavior is well within the unfortunate norm for assault victims. I also don't think your husband is being supportive in ANY way if he is complaining to you about the move. Moving away from your abuser should be the first thing that HE suggested, so "going along" with your needs isn't anything special at all.

I understand that this is all so fresh and so damaging that you're still questioning yourself and what you think you should have done, and what your husband thinks you should have done, and so forth. I think that is also extremely common, so please don't take any suggestion here that your husband is behaving cruelly to mean that you are doing something wrong by not seeing it. Sometimes we need the perspective of a disinterested observer to be able to see clearly ourselves. But your husband is behaving in a very cruel manner to you.
posted by janey47 at 2:07 PM on June 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


Oh, and also - even though they are not Hanging Out, Charlie bought something from Adam recently and still has another payment to make, but won't accept a 'just put the check in the fucking mail' solution, he wants to walk it over himself.

That's all kinds of bullshit. And his whining about moving? Wow. That's not being supportive at all. That's throwing blame on you.

You have a right to demand the things you need in order to feel safe. His relationship with Adam could very rightly lead one to believe that he's still friends with him. I bet if you suggested that you're going to press charges, he'd try to talk you out of it (even though that's completely up to you and I'm not advocating for this). And really that would mean that his distrust of you means you can't now trust him.

Someone assaulting his partner shouldn't be treated by him as some sort of hassle that he has to deal with.
posted by inturnaround at 2:08 PM on June 2, 2015 [7 favorites]


But Charlie keeps talking about how much it's going to suck to move and how he likes our apartment now.

So basically he likes living in your current apartment more than he likes you, his wife. His living situation is more important to him than the psychological and emotional trauma currently being experienced by his wife. A minor fucking inconvenience is more important to him than supporting his wife over the man who tried to rape her
posted by poffin boffin at 2:08 PM on June 2, 2015 [29 favorites]


You're allowed to not have been ready to deal with it. Charlie seems to want you to follow a mental script that he has laid out and that's not how things work in real life. People have complex feelings and interactions, and the pressure on women especially to pretend things are normal is tremendous and is often in real terms a survival skill.

That Charlie thinks it's a "betrayal" on your part not to tell him rather than being concerned about what you've been going through and focusing on what he thinks you owe him is unsupportive and makes the assault about him and what he thinks you "owe" him in the relationship rather than about that someone you had both trusted sexually assaulted you.
posted by bile and syntax at 2:15 PM on June 2, 2015 [9 favorites]


Expecting women to fight tooth and nail simply to maintain their own bodily autonomy, especially after they've already made it very clear that they're not interested, is misogynist nonsense. Please have Charlie read this.
The first time I said No, the first time I turned my head away, the first time I crossed my arms over my chest and walked away, the first time I said "What are you doing?", the first time I displayed a clear and obvious distaste for what was being done to me rather than with me should have been enough. That expectation — that the person saying No should be prepared at any moment to fight someone else off — is an undue burden. Pretending that active consent is ambiguous and confusing and difficult to obtain is a pernicious lie that has no basis in reality. It is abundantly clear when someone is eager and ready to sleep with you.

I said No. Sophia Katz said No. Saying No was easy, making the man who wanted to hear Yes listen to me when I said No was the challenge. A man who wants to hear a Yes will find a way to drag it out of you.

Saying No was easy. Getting Shaun and Adam to listen to my No took everything I had.

It should not take everything you have to turn down someone's offer for sex.
posted by divined by radio at 2:15 PM on June 2, 2015 [35 favorites]


It sounds like Charlie is having a real hard time seeing your assault as anything other than an upsetting/inconvenient thing that happened to him, and that's really really hugely messed up
posted by prize bull octorok at 2:15 PM on June 2, 2015 [39 favorites]


You didn't talk to Charlie at first because you were in shock mode. Charlie would know this if he did even 5 minutes of googling about sexual assault, violent assault, and rape responses.

While you were still in shock, Adam called and said shaming manipulative things about keeping his secret. That's an actual brainwashing technique. Look it up.

Charlie wants to walk over the last check to Adam on his own? What is he playing at?
posted by jbenben at 2:15 PM on June 2, 2015 [13 favorites]


thinking of you, OP. consider that in doubting you, gripping to you, and disregarding your request to have Adam out of your life, Charlie is betraying you. What he is doing may seem minor to him, but you have just suffered a major betrayal and each new one is like poking an open wound. You may need to take some time apart so you can heal and give yourself time to start processing your emotions again.
posted by CMcG at 2:30 PM on June 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


For example even though Charlie knows I'm a 'tough girl', I didn't fight.

. . . but you did fight. Not that you should have had to, or that what he did would have been OK if you hadn't, but you "broke his hold," etc. That's physical resistance. It sounds like Charlie wouldn't have been content with anything less that you throwing him to the ground with judo or something.

I point this out because it shows just how deep Charlie is digging to find some reason to be upset at you. It sounds as if he's mostly upset because all this uncomfortable stuff is happening around him and he's having to deal with it, rather than because of the actual bad thing that happened to you, and he's trying to find some way to make it partly "your fault" so he can just write it off as even and go back to the way things were before. Do not buy this; don't let it make you question your own responses.
posted by ostro at 2:36 PM on June 2, 2015 [30 favorites]


You're honestly in such a good place knowing already that he's a rapey shit (excellent choice of words). You should never have to think about or see him again, to the greatest extent possible. I know I'm being a bit hyperbolic, but honestly, nuke the friendship from orbit.

I am frankly shocked by your husband's behavior. He should be in your corner. He should trust, believe and support you. He should care more about protecting you than his stupid friend. I am so sorry that he disappointed you like this, and I hope he can stop being a dick and that he can earn your trust again. (Though if he proves to be a dick permanently, this is not a bad reason to reconsider the relationship. He's completely illiterate on this.)
posted by easter queen at 2:37 PM on June 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


I was once in this position -- not entirely the same but close enough -- in which I was harassed by a mutual friend, and that friend didn't believe me.

It was really traumatic. It's two years later, and I'm doing much better but I still remember how traumatic it was. The part that ended up being the most disappointing was that my friend didn't give me the appropriate support.

Take it from me, you deserve better. And get therapy. Take care of yourself.

I would also get some distance and maybe investigate going away for a weekend by yourself or with your best girlfriend to get out of the situation. I find that distance and space gives me the clearest thinking about what to do next - both short and long term.
posted by pando11 at 2:46 PM on June 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


So it's not that he's not supporting me At All, but it feels like he's not supporting me enough.

The amount of support a spouse owes their partner in a traumatic situation is 100%. Less than that may as well be zero.

There's that old saying, believe what people show you about themselves. Your husband has shown you that his minor inconvenience about moving, his desire to stay in touch with the man who sexually assaulted you, his choice to believe that man over his damn wife... all of these things are more important to him than the woman he swore to love and honour.

I've never been married. I understand that it's easy for me to say this: under the same circumstances, I would be informing my husband that his choices are to support me and believe me, or find another spouse.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:22 PM on June 2, 2015 [9 favorites]


I agree with everyone above.

Around 6 months ago my boyfriend was away for work. One late night spur of the moment I went to his male friend's apartment to hang out. I didn't know him too well but he has known my boyfriend for years and they were good friends. Within an hour of being there he was acting in a predatory way and was too close and acting inappropriately. I have been sexually assaulted on more than one occasion in my life and his actions made me freeze. I basically tried to convince myself I was imagining it. He was my boyfriends friend, he wouldn't do that. He then tried to pull me towards him to kiss me. I immediately pushed him away and said no. Inside I was freaking out and so upset. I told him I had to go and I even hugged him goodbye because I felt so awkward.
As I went down the stairs of his building I threw up.
I had a to wait a few hours to speak to my boyfriend (he was on a flight). I knew he was the only person who could make me feel better. I burst into tears when he got home and I was so terrified to tell him because I was convinced it was my fault. Rape culture is a terrible thing. But my boyfriend is a good person and he comforted me and supported me and ended his friendship with that dirtbag.

I never want to see the guy again. I completely understand how you feel. Adam is a disgusting piece of shit human being. Your husband is acting the wrong way in every possible way. You need to see a counselor. I wouldn't even want to share a bed with him as things are, or be around him.

You went through a horrible experience and you need to be looked after and supported. Your husband is doing that.
I'm so sorry this happened to you, I'm sorry society lets us down in these circumstances and I sincerely hope things get better for you.
posted by shesbenevolent at 3:23 PM on June 2, 2015 [12 favorites]


Your husband isn't protecting you.

You're getting a lot of good advice here.

I want to urge you to go nuclear and follow jbenben's script. I think it's good advice. But I think you probably won't do that because it would mean an abrupt change of opinion about not one but two people you previously trusted and it's just too much for you to process at once.

And now I realize that I sound like I'm telling you what you Should do, but I don't mean that at all. I just wish that you could see what I see. I just read your story and thought, dear God, I wish she could be safe and away from both of these guys. I so badly want your mind to be free of this burden.

Amount of fault that Adam has for the assault: 100%.
Amount of fault that you have for the assault: 0%.

Amount of fault that Charlie has for not backing you up and following your lead: 100%.
Amount of fault that you have for not following Charlie's script for ideal victim behaviour that you didn't know about: 0%.

Amount that Adam and Charlie are people I want you to be away from: 130%.

So in the meantime why don't you call RAINN like some others have suggested, it will help you get your head sorted out and help you figure out what legal options you have, if any.
posted by tel3path at 3:29 PM on June 2, 2015 [13 favorites]


There are a lot of misconceptions about how people act and feel in situations like this. So I sort of get WHY your husband thought that stuff - but, if your husband isn't a total dick, he will at least be willing to hear that, hey, actually he is misinformed about how these things work.
posted by showbiz_liz at 3:41 PM on June 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


But, you know... something very much like this happened to a friend of mine. (Only it was high school and no one was married.) It led directly to a breakup, because the boyfriend just DID NOT FUCKING GET IT and refused to get it.

Girlfriend is now in a much better relationship.
posted by showbiz_liz at 3:43 PM on June 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


> I think part of Charlie's problem and why he's having a hard time is that my response to all this hasn't really been clear-cut or what he'd think would be normal for me. For example even though Charlie knows I'm a 'tough girl', I didn't fight.

You are not responsible for making Charlie's brain function in a reasonable manner. Please stop victim-blaming yourself.
posted by desuetude at 3:44 PM on June 2, 2015 [15 favorites]


You did fight. You did in fact fight.

Or do you mean you didn't haul off and punch Adam in the face? Well, that's probably because most people aren't keen to physically assault their friends. Therefore, not only were you not expecting Adam to physically assault you, you were not expecting to be in a position where physically assaulting Adam was an option.

I mean, what is Charlie even thinking here. He wants to stay on friendly terms with Adam, but he also blames you for not getting into a physical fight with him? Seems like you can't do right for doing wrong as far as Charlie is concerned.
posted by tel3path at 3:50 PM on June 2, 2015 [15 favorites]


Okay, this

If you, a person I never met, told me out of the fucking blue my best friend had sexually assaulted you... I would implicitly believe you, because you have no reason to lie and my best friend would have every reason to lie.

If a total stranger, about whom I knew nothing, told me someone I knew very well had sexually assaulted them, I wouldn't automatically believe them. I would sure as shit give their story serious consideration, though.

That's a hypothetical which is unlike your situation because your situation is much more clear-cut. Your husband should automatically believe you. He knows you.

Because:

"You need to believe me to stay married to me" would also be reasonable.

Yes it would. That is not too much for you to ask of your own husband. It really isn't.
posted by tel3path at 3:59 PM on June 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


And I did still (mostly) talk to Adam when he came over to our house and I kept up appearances and was smiling and stuff. I don't know how to explain other than that I just wasn't ready to deal with it.

I'm wondering if there is in fact a very good reason you did that.
Initially, maybe shock about what Adam did.
But there were two possible outcomes of telling him: one is that you thought that your Husband would lose a friend of his, and wondered if it was something where you could maybe avoid Adam, if not forgive him.
But the worst option was, that in your heart of hearts, you wondered if your husband would fail to take your side in this, that he would act the way he has been.

Either of those is a very good reason to have been wary, and given that the latter has happened, is something that is really a dealbreaker situation. He's not treating you like a wife, like a partner, and something serious needs to change - relationship counselling at least.
posted by Elysum at 4:26 PM on June 2, 2015 [20 favorites]


Your husband is being terribly sexist. He may not know this. Western society is inherently racist, sexist, homophobic, and the majority of people raised in this culture have tendencies that perpetuate this. It takes a great deal of self-reflection and emotional maturity to confront these tendencies within one's self. In moments of stress or confusion some people may revert to odious ideas they learned long ago.

This is no excuse for your husband's behaviour, but if i were in your shoes i would consider what his behaviour and beliefs say about his own personal commitment to equality. He's being sexist, but is it a reflex to emotional stress he is having trouble dealing with or are his actions indicative of his beliefs.

If i'm being shitty and someone i love points it out to me i take that info and consider the possibility that they are right.

I'm so sorry that this is happening. Bad time to discover your partner is (probably) a p.o.s.
posted by peterpete at 4:33 PM on June 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


I was your husband in a similar situation. The person was a friend of mine for literally over a decade, who i knew was a cheeseball/smartass who always joked about how much of a ladies man he was(which everyone i know rolled their eyes at) but i pretty much implicitly trusted. I had known him since middle school and we're all in our mid 20s now.

I 100% cut him out of my life, and haven't said anything but a "hi" to him on the street since. We've had some awkward moments where we ended up on the same bus(since we live in the same city still) and didn't say a word. I even told some of my friends, although not explicitly because my partner asked me not to, that he was up to this sort of behavior so they could make their own choices about cutting him out.

What i'm getting at, is that your husbands behavior here is really troubling. I would never act that way in this situation, and would always believe my partner even if i had seen them flirting before. If they say it wasn't consensual and it went down this way, then i'm going to move forward under the assumption that's the unassailable truth and be fine with that choice even if it turns out not to be. Anything less is just, not being committed.

Oh, and by the way, my "friend" tried the same stupid "bro down" thing. I said not a word in response. Just heard the story, and walked away.


If i distrusted my partner as much as your husband seems to distrust you, i would break up with them anyways. And what he's communicating here is that he doesn't trust you. Take that information and make an informed decision.

I'm really angry having read this, by the way. I've had friends partners react similarly in similar situations and it makes me want to pick up cars and throw them. You go home home hoping for support saying "this shitty thing happened" and get "hmm... really now". FUCK THAT.
posted by emptythought at 4:33 PM on June 2, 2015 [41 favorites]


OP, "makes me want to pick up cars and throw them" is a very apt description of how I'm feeling on your behalf right now.

I'm so sorry this has happened.

I believe you.
posted by tel3path at 4:37 PM on June 2, 2015 [9 favorites]


Another thing to note, is that i bet in a few months you'll hear from some other mutual friend that this isn't the first time he's done something like this. Once i started my network sweep of "hey, just so you know, this guys being a creepy rapist fucker" i got more than one response of "oh yea, i heard that from a couple other people too about him doing stuff like that" or "yea, he kinda tried that to me but i shoved him off and left". See also the fpp on the missing stair concept.

No one does this kind of shit for the first time as a grown ass adult. There's no way you don't know someone else he's done this too, unfortunately.

Will that possibly convince your husband you're not full of shit? Maybe. Does it matter when he didn't trust you in the first place? Only as a consolation prize. Confirmation that the gas lamp really was leaking, but your house still burned down.
posted by emptythought at 4:38 PM on June 2, 2015 [14 favorites]


Ok. Ok. Here is what I am thinking. Besides the fact that adam is a taped shit who you should erase from your life immediately. You do that to a husband. That takes a lot of time and emotional effort and often money. Charlie is acting like a jerk and he is not treating you the way you deserve and if you choose to dump him over this you would be 100% justified. But he is also acting in a way that is unfortunately fairly common. A lot of men do not react in a supportive, enlightened way when their partner is assaulted. That doesn't make the behavior ok, but it does mean he's not an insane monster from outer space acting in a totally strange way.

If I were you, and I chose to continue the marriage, I would get an outside voice into play ASAP. Someone your husband will respect, someone educated about sexual assault, probably someone make. He has a lot of learning and attitude changing to do and it will be a lot easier for both of you if you are not the conduit for it.
posted by bq at 4:49 PM on June 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


I'm pretty sure I would never be able to forgive my husband if he reacted the way Charlie has to Adam sexually assaulting you. He's making it all about HIM, when he should be supporting you, and it's despicable.
posted by sarcasticah at 4:50 PM on June 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


I'm sorry you're going through this. I clicked the link someone above posted, to a previous question you asked about your husband, and see that you have a daughter.

I have a daughter too. Sometimes, when I can't figure out what to do, if I can't think through all the bits easily, I ask myself what I would want for my daughter, from all sides.

I ask myself what kind of mother I want her to have.
I ask myself what I would want her to do in my situation.
I ask myself what kind of life I want her to have.

If this happened to your daughter, how would you want her and her husband to respond?
I hope the answer helps you clarify what you should do and shows you what someone who really loves you would want for you.

Take care.
posted by stellathon at 4:56 PM on June 2, 2015 [23 favorites]


Here is something I don't think anyone's touched on yet: the fact that Adam immediately "bro'ed down" as you say means that, even though being drunk isn't an excuse for sexual assault to begin with, there is a lot more going on here than just him getting plastered and violent. His lying and manipulation of the both of you is psychopathic and frankly abusive, which to me makes me think his assault on you was far more calculated than he's pretending.

That crap about "don't tell Charlie, he doesn't have a lot of friends"? That is Grade A gaslighting and frankly kind of predatory, like he wants to keep you around to revictimize you, and also like he has no respect for Charlie at all. Would a real friend ever talk about someone they cared about that way? Would a real friend try to control someone else's behavior. The assault alone would be enough justification for cutting him out of your life completely, but the manipulation and overall way it sounds like he's acting is extremely chilling.

Nthing that whatever you feel and whatever you want to do is justified. I'm so sorry that Adam did this to you, and I'm also sorry that Charlie's making it worse by being such an asshole.
posted by The Master and Margarita Mix at 5:11 PM on June 2, 2015 [30 favorites]


that it had nothing to do with me and Adam just couldn't turn down any woman offering, that he was sorry if he'd misread my offer.

I love that his friend, even in all of his lies, still basically said "I refuse to take responsibility for my own disgusting, reprehensible behavior." What a garbage person.
posted by almostmanda at 5:15 PM on June 2, 2015 [13 favorites]


Also, Charlie seems to be really keen on keeping a friend who, if he believes Adam's story, didn't bother to tell him that his wife had propositioned him. Even if the situation was taking place in Opposite Land and Adam was the one telling the truth and you were the one making shit up to cover your ass, that still does no favors to the two of them.

Sorry to triple post, but this is a good one to ponder as well. Even assuming Charlie took Adam's story at face value, it's still the i'm-sorry-i-got-caught version of the story. It's the lilttle kid playing ball in the house, the tv broke, but they totally weren't related! story.

If he's believing it or willing to consider it, it's because he's already buying the premise. The story doesn't even paint Adam in a good light. It's an alternate story in which he's still not a good friend, just that the blame for the main crux of the situation somehow lies on you.

Anyone interested in actually getting all the facts fucking law and order style would be poking holes in that one instantly.

It's the kind of bullshit story a kid would tell their parents, when they knew their parent was going to take their side anyways because my little jimmy is an angel and sneer while the other kid got punished.

Anyone who picks a friend who openly admits to not being a good friend over their fucking wife thinks pretty damn lowly of their wife.

I'll shut up now, but that gear didn't even engage in my head at first. That's a serious lack of caring that isn't just a momentary lapse of critical thought.
posted by emptythought at 5:17 PM on June 2, 2015 [7 favorites]


Okay.. everything here is setting off major, major alarms for me. Adam tried to rape you. You fended him off (yes, you DID fight) and got him out of your house before he could escalate the very real sexual assault he committed on you any further. He then tried to manipulate you ("Charlie doesn't have very many friends" is terrifying) into staying quiet about him being a rapist. Since then, he has been SUCCESSFULLY manipulating your husband into feelings of blame, anger, distrust, and resentment towards you. Your husband on some level wants to believe the way Adam has been vilifying you and characterizing you as some kind of hypersexual cheater who has hurt and betrayed him. He wants to have more one on one time with Adam to talk about this, as friends.

I do not think you are safe alone with your husband. I think this situation is primed to escalate and you are in danger of some kind of assault from either Adam or Charlie or both, and you need to find a safe place to go while you get in touch with a lawyer to start processing a legal separation. Good luck. Please stay safe.
posted by moonlight on vermont at 6:23 PM on June 2, 2015 [11 favorites]


I am so sorry that Adam has sexually assaulted you and that Charlie's response has compounded the pain rather than helping you process and heal. What an enormous betrayal.

Take care, and get the help you need to keep you and your daughter safe. You'll be in my thoughts.
posted by virago at 6:44 PM on June 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


It is really hard to be as loathesome as the rapist, sexual assaulter Adam, but I find your husband's behavior equally loathesome. Adam's raping behavior is, on a societal level, unforgivable and horrific. Charlie's behavior,on a personal level, is completely fucking unforgivable and horrific. You have been violated twice and by people you should have been able to trust.

I am sending you my deepest wishes for your well-being and healing from these traumas.
posted by murrey at 7:03 PM on June 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


Thank you all. I called RAINN and talked to them for 45 minutes. Thanks to all of you and the RAINN counselor I have decided to really plainly tell Charlie how I feel about what happened with Adam, and how I feel about his response. We are going out to dinner in a few minutes explicitly to talk about this. I will update when I get back.
posted by sockeroonie at 7:29 PM on June 2, 2015 [47 favorites]


Wow, so far Charlie has straight up chosen Adam over you. He's still associating with him and whining about how he doesn't want to move? Then fine, YOU can move and HE can stay with his rapey best bro.

Uh, good luck at dinner....
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:47 PM on June 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


This is going to bother you about Charlie for years and years and years. This isn't even an apologize to you, make up, good as new situation for him. He has done permanent damage to your marriage by treating you like you're lying about this and not being there for his wife over some dude. You won't be able to forget this, probably ever. I say this from experience having made a similar mistake, though nothing this serious. It still comes up sometimes 15 years later even though we got through it and are doing pretty good now.

Just saying that to consider in case you end up in a "should I stay or should I go" dilemma.
posted by ctmf at 8:48 PM on June 2, 2015 [9 favorites]


Sockeroonie, I just want you to know I'm thinking of you and your dinner with Charlie.
posted by DarlingBri at 10:53 PM on June 2, 2015 [8 favorites]


You know how most husbands would react to their wife telling them that a friend sexually assaulted her? They'd either march over there and damn near kill the guy, or they'd call him up and tear him a new asshole while wishing that it wasn't illegal to kill the guy.

Your husband's reaction sickens me. It's possible he's in shock and doesn't want to believe that anyone would do that to his wife, but frankly it doesn't sound to me like that's what's going on.

Your husband doesn't respect you. Don't get down on his level by not having any self respect. Respect yourself enough to not put up with this shit. You deserve better.
posted by MexicanYenta at 11:05 PM on June 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


"But Charlie keeps talking about how much it's going to suck to move and how he likes our apartment now."

Sure it sucks to move. It'd suck less if Adam was the one who had to move. It'd suck even less if Adam wasn't a rapey shit. None of that is your fault.

It's a common cultural trope that Charlie should have been able to prevent this from happening through some sort of masculine protection field, and I've seen some guys turn that into a rationalization against their own impotence that the woman must have somehow contributed to the problem. I don't hold any truck with that, but it may be playing into your husband's rationalizations.

In any event, it's not his job to protect you — it very much is his job to have your back. He's not doing that now, and it's up to you to decide whether that's going to be fatal to your relationship.

From your follow-up, it's pretty clear that the social norms and agents that encourage them ("the patriarchy" for short) are working to make you feel like it's your responsibility to fix a bunch of the attendant shit that's coming down because you exposed some rapist sleeper agent — like you should feel bad about Charlie having to move. But your only responsibility right now is to making sure that you're getting what you need and making sure you're taken care of — your husband should be working on that too, but it seems like he's fucking that up instead.

I just wanted to emphasize this because one of the thing that your husband will hopefully twig to is that you're entirely justified in swearing out a criminal complaint against Adam, telling everyone he tried to rape you, scorching and salting the earth of any social relationships Adam may have. That'll likely hurt Adam; it may hurt your husband. In either case, not your fault and not your problem. Not only did Adam assault you, he shat on your good graces and any sincerity in his apology when he lied about it afterward. Feel free to remind your husband of that. Feel free to be blunt: He sexually assaulted you and then lied about it. There's no need for sentiment or feelings about that — it's the blunt truth, and anyone who doesn't like that should take it up with Adam.

Rapists exploit the gray areas of social convention, like Adam's doing now. Taking those gray areas away from your husband will hopefully clarify this shit in a hurry — that his duty is to you, his wife, not his friend the rapist, even if the rapist is a great fantasy football commish. If he didn't want that duty, he shouldn't have married you. If he doesn't want that duty now, you have no obligation to stay with him or to worry about his feelings over it.

If he offers up any more horseshit about getting at the real truth, paraphrase the Amish and tell him you won't take the thing from his hand. It's on him to deal with that — you have enough other shit going on.
posted by klangklangston at 12:46 AM on June 3, 2015 [17 favorites]


You know how most husbands would react to their wife telling them that a friend sexually assaulted her? They'd either march over there and damn near kill the guy, or they'd call him up and tear him a new asshole while wishing that it wasn't illegal to kill the guy.

From the survivors I've worked with, most wish that their partners did a lot less "threatening to kill the perpetrator" and a lot more "support the survivor in her own feelings, rather than prioritizing his," so I wouldn't push for his assaulting Adam. However, he needs to be stepping up to the plate with believing you, being supportive, and prioritizing your feelings and needs.
posted by jaguar at 7:02 AM on June 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


Okay, so we had a LONG conversation - sorry about not updating sooner.

Charlie said the reason he asked if I screamed or fought was to determine the extent to which Adam would have known that I did not want to. He says that when he was talking about getting the 'real truth', he meant what the hell was going on in Adam's head. Charlie says he always believed me about the bare bones of what took place, but that I hadn't told him the whole thing start to finish and so he hadn't picked up on how many 'nos' I had given Adam and how clear it was that I didn't want to do it. He admitted that he may have been in shock and kind of going back to his base defaults in how he interpreted situations. Charlie says given the circumstances, he is going to be terminating his friendship with Adam - that he is going to be sad about it because he does love him, but that what Adam did is unforgivable. He said that he does feel sad about having to move, but that he doesn't blame me, and it is entirely reasonable to not want to live three blocks from the guy who sexually assaulted you. He also said he hadn't realized I was shaken enough to call a rape crisis line and was sorry.

I feel somewhat better, though still kind of residually upset - like I wish Charlie had done the right thing sooner?
posted by sockeroonie at 7:25 AM on June 3, 2015 [13 favorites]


It honestly makes me think that some part of you knew that Charlie wouldn't have your back, and that it wasn't going to garner support from him to tell him.

I am genuinely glad that you have reached out to RAINN, and remember they are there whenever you need them, and so is AskMe. Much love and support to you.
posted by fiercecupcake at 7:26 AM on June 3, 2015 [5 favorites]


i'm sorry if i'm repeating someone - i couldn't read the thread because this is too close to home, but i read everything you said.

charlie needs to go to a counselor who specializes in sexual assault. he has a lot of very wrong impressions about rape, rapists, victims, and aftermath. you are in no position, and you shouldn't be required, to be his teacher on this. i would make this a requirement of staying together. you need him to support you and he needs to learn how to do that.
posted by nadawi at 7:34 AM on June 3, 2015 [35 favorites]


Nadawi is 100% right.

He needs education desperately; he is still pretty far off base and has a lot to learn. Him learning it (independent of you) should be a requirement of you two staying together.

Would you want him interrogating your daughter the way he did you? Would you want him moping around about how her assault inconvenienced him and made him sad? Would you want her to feel guilty or scared of going to him for help?
posted by French Fry at 7:42 AM on June 3, 2015 [22 favorites]


From the survivors I've worked with, most wish that their partners did a lot less "threatening to kill the perpetrator" and a lot more "support the survivor in her own feelings, rather than prioritizing his," so I wouldn't push for his assaulting Adam.

For the record, nowhere did I "push for his assaulting Adam." I was simply pointing out that her husband's reaction was pretty much the opposite of what most loving partners would feel.
posted by MexicanYenta at 8:20 AM on June 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Charlie said the reason he asked if I screamed or fought was to determine the extent to which Adam would have known that I did not want to.

You said No. Consent is binary; if it's not Yes, it's No. And you said No.

He says that when he was talking about getting the 'real truth', he meant what the hell was going on in Adam's head.

Doesn't fucking matter what was going on in Adam's head. You said No.

Charlie says he always believed me about the bare bones of what took place, but that I hadn't told him the whole thing start to finish

It's not your responsibility to give him a moment-by-moment account. What matters is that you said No.

and so he hadn't picked up on how many 'nos' I had given Adam and how clear it was that I didn't want to do it.

So if you hadn't been super clear, as in actually having to physically break someone's hold on you, this would have been okay? Nuh uh. You said No. End of discussion.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:22 AM on June 3, 2015 [12 favorites]


OK, here's my thinking now that you've updated. (Before you updated, just FYI, it was that surely I could find a shovel and room for not one, but two shallow graves if you needed it.)

You've already spoken to RAINN. Now Charlie needs to, too. He needs education, as posters above have said. But he also needs a support person--someone he loves was hurt, and this is a thing people can need support for. It is also natural and human for Charlie to mourn his own losses here--a close friend who turns out to be an awful lying predator, having to leave a home he loves. But where he goes wrong is in making these things apparent to YOU. You cannot be his support person: you are the hurt one. His mourning needs to be done with a third party, and calling RAINN is one way for him to start dealing.

What you can say to him, if you like, is that while you understand his feelings and know they are natural, they are painful to you right now and you need him to direct them elsewhere.

What you can also say to him, if you like, is that this was an incredibly hurtful response from him, whether he intended it or not, and it may have permanently undermined your relationship, and that if your marriage is to continue he will agree to counseling either on his own or with you.

What you can also say to him is, fuck the fuck off, I want a divorce.

All of these things would be perfectly reasonable and acceptable.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 8:24 AM on June 3, 2015 [15 favorites]


I mean literally the only thing your husband needs to know is that his friend sexually assaulted you and you said no. There's no grey area around how much you resisted, it doesn't matter what he was thinking, not one goddamn thing matters except that you said no. If having to physically fight someone off isn't enough for him to understand that what Adam did was 100% totally wrong, I would frankly be extremely concerned about my own safety within my marriage, and would be beyond extremely concerned for the safety of my daughter. Especially if (God forbid!!) she comes home one day and says "Dad, So-and-so tried to kiss me, and I didn't want them to. I had to fight them off!"

"Well, did you say no enough? How much did you actually resist? You'd better tell me every detail so I can decide whether or not he knew you were saying no."
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:28 AM on June 3, 2015 [16 favorites]


like I wish Charlie had done the right thing sooner

Like you wish he hadn't let you down?

Because he did. And it hurts when people let us down.

He clearly doesn't know or understand anything about rape, which you can blame on a lot of factors but for me would be a dealbreaker if he does not rectify the situation with tremendous urgency. I think therapy with a trained sexual assault counselor would be the bare minimum, and since it can take months to get in to see someone maybe he should have his own phone call with RAINN within the next 24 hours so he can present you with his plan of action.

This for me would be a day-to-day assessment of whether we continued to be together, probably for several months minimum. Maybe take that into consideration with your move and do not get tied to a lease you can't get out of or get tied to a rent situation that you or he can't afford alone. I think you should talk to him about that immediately, so that he understands how fucking serious this is.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:30 AM on June 3, 2015 [14 favorites]


He also said he hadn't realized I was shaken enough to call a rape crisis line and was sorry.

Just to pile on to what everyone else said: this, too, is fucked up, because from how you describe it Charlie's kind of implying that what's was at issue was how "shaken" you were by the events, and not so much that of course you were shaken by Adam trying to rape you.

I feel somewhat better, though still kind of residually upset - like I wish Charlie had done the right thing sooner?

I'm glad he's acting a little bit better than he was for your sake, but it's okay to feel let down like that, as people have said, he did let you down and to my mind, he still is. Even if he still is "mourning" his friendship with Adam and does "love" him, which is messed up but understandable given that emotions are complex things, that's still the kind of thing a decent person with basic empathy and care shuts the fuck up about. Think about it: "Yeah, honey, I guess I do believe he tried to rape you and all, so we'll move (bummer), but... I still love him, in a way".

People are right that Charlie has a lot of misconceptions and needs education if he's going to be better at supporting you through this, but that doesn't excuse him from all the ways he's been unempathetic towards you, and it would be just as much of a problem if it happened in other circumstances and he reacted to something terrible that someone did to you with the same kind of "but what about the impact on meeeee?" bullshit.
posted by The Master and Margarita Mix at 8:52 AM on June 3, 2015 [8 favorites]


Sockeroonie, it's really normal for everyone to have really mixed-up conflicting feelings regarding a sexual assault within their close circle. I agree with what others are saying about your husband needing someone other than you to help him sort through them -- this is definitely a comfort in, dump out situation -- which is why his calling the RAINN hotline is a good idea. They won't yell at him or shame him (that worry might keep him from calling), but they should be able to provide help or resources for him.

I'm sorry you're having to deal with both your own feelings and his ignorance right now. It's ok to let someone else deal with him right now, and to put off major decisions for a bit.
posted by jaguar at 9:05 AM on June 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


Wait. Your husband wanted to ask the guy who nearly raped you for a ruling on how much you did or did not want it?!
posted by Space Kitty at 9:33 AM on June 3, 2015 [16 favorites]


I'm sorry. I ask that question not to be unhelpful, but to throw some light on how far out of order your husband's responses have been. You shouldn't have to create some unassailable tower of facts in order for him to take you at your word. I hope you have other outside sources of care and support, because you deserve them.

And for what it's worth, I believe you.

Wishing you peace and healing, and soon.
posted by Space Kitty at 9:52 AM on June 3, 2015 [6 favorites]


Charlie now says that because our 'stories were different' that he's going to have to 'dig' to get the 'real truth'.

Of course your stories are different. One of the two of you, you or Adam, did something bad. It's just a shame that your husband believes that you might be the one who might be lying, as opposed to Adam covering his own sexual assault -- I agree with everyone, no "near" about it.

Adam assaulted you, and what's worse, your own husband doesn't have your back. You are entitled to feel however you need to feel. I hope your husband realizes his error; it, at least, might be forgivable. Adam not so much. Having him unwelcome in your home is the least consequence that should result from his action.

I'm so sorry you had to go thru such a terrible situation. I hope your husband realizes he needs to stick up for you and not the so-called "friend" that assaulted you.
posted by Gelatin at 10:00 AM on June 3, 2015


I don't think your husband is a bad person, but there's an unfortunate combination of misinformation, and sadness/shock/denial about his close friend, and those two things are leading to his harmful actions for the both of you. He definitely needs to talk to someone who can inform him of what sexual assault situations are really like - not necessarily what he might have seen in movies - and he needs to get his thinking straight on what his proper response and mindset should be. That person should ideally be some informed neutral third party, not you - if you could explain to him in a way that would make him understand, that's excellent, but I'm not sure that will be the case. The idea of having him talk to RAINN or some other counselor who is a professional, and has dealt with such situations many times, sounds like the best route. He won't be shamed or berated, but he will surely come away with a new perspective on the situation that he hadn't been considering.

One thing I'm concerned about after your update - even in the best case scenario where he says he believes you, agrees to move, and agrees to terminate his friendship with Adam - he will lord these things over you and make passive aggressive comments about it. It sounds like he will carry some bitterness about the whole situation and direct it to you in tiny ways. That's because his head is still not in the right place. That's why it's not quite enough for him to agree to make these changes, he has to understand wholeheartedly that they're necessary for your well-being. Maybe a counselor can help with that.
posted by naju at 10:31 AM on June 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


As a side note: here's a thing I don't think Charlie is getting (or wanting to get):

Adam started telling me that we had to have sex, that maybe Charlie would be cool with it... Charlie doesn't have a lot of friends... Basically telling Charlie his wife is a cheater when he knows it isn't true...

This guy has such contempt for Charlie that he would have sex with his wife and what's pathetic Charlie going to do about it? He'll probably just go along with it. What a loser, right? It's not like he wasn't thinking it through in the heat of the moment, he actually consciously brought it up. Destroy Charlie's marriage by letting him believe his wife is unfaithful? Eh, whatever. It's just Charlie.

Not that it's most relevant; what matters is of course YOU. But good god, what a piece of work this Adam is. He's NOT Charlie's friend by any means and Charlie needs to figure that out and not be sad that things worked out that he can't be Adam's friend anymore. "Sad" makes it seem like he thinks this is just fate, nobody's fault really. Somebody thinking of me like that would make me angry even without the action. WTF. Does Charlie have self-worth issues, not feel like he deserves friends with basic human decency?
posted by ctmf at 10:59 AM on June 3, 2015 [13 favorites]


"charlie needs to go to a counselor who specializes in sexual assault. he has a lot of very wrong impressions about rape, rapists, victims, and aftermath. you are in no position, and you shouldn't be required, to be his teacher on this. i would make this a requirement of staying together. you need him to support you and he needs to learn how to do that."

Just quoting Nadawi because I think it's excellent, compassionate advice. She's smart; Charlie should listen to her.
posted by klangklangston at 12:30 PM on June 3, 2015 [9 favorites]


I have some honest sympathy reading the update. A lot of the people here don't seem to understand that most men just do not have a script for, and do not really have much experience with even friends(potentially, and quite possibly) having been in a situation like this. Or at least, having been in a situation like this and talked to them about it.

As such, even with a lot of decent guys, they're just lacking in the knowledge and have only been fed a bunch of stupid assumptions about situations like this.

Not that it's most relevant; what matters is of course YOU. But good god, what a piece of work this Adam is. He's NOT Charlie's friend by any means and Charlie needs to figure that out and not be sad that things worked out that he can't be Adam's friend anymore. "Sad" makes it seem like he thinks this is just fate, nobody's fault really. Somebody thinking of me like that would make me angry even without the action. WTF. Does Charlie have self-worth issues, not feel like he deserves friends with basic human decency?

I quoted this, because i think this is a critical part of this. My friend i described in the the story above isn't the only one i've had just act completely out of context and completely betray me after over a decade of friendship. Your brain just ends up going, almost as a cognitive dissonance defense mechanism, "that couldn't POSSIBLY be what happened" because it makes no fucking sense. His friend completely violated his trust and is trying to manipulate him.

When terrible things happen, especially double stacked like this, "this can't be happening" is a fairly natural response that pretty much everyone goes through to some degree. It just gets awkward when it buts up against men-denying-womens-narratives-of-rape sort of stuff.


And the reason i brought this up, is that in my situation i didn't hear it from her first. I heard it from a friend that my shithead ex-friend had gone to and said "hey, i did this, and now i don't know what the hell to do. i'm afraid emptythought will find out and bla bla bla" and their first reaction was to not call me, but come find me in person and tell me.

I had a lot of thoughts along the lines of what your husband had, right up until i really talked to my partner. And yea, she acted "imperfectly" like you think you did(which, as others have said, is normal).

But the thing is, i had a script for this. My friends had come to me with situations like this before. Previous partners had told me of situations like this in their past.

I've talked to friends about their partners who they went to who didn't have experience with this sort of thing, and a lot of them had shitty disappointing reactions like this.

I don't even know where i'm going with this, just that his response seems like a glimmer of getting it even if it was shit at first. That men can completely have no experience with this, have not been given a script, and then the only thing they have to fall back on while stammering is the shitty garbage flatulence tropes they've been fed all their lives about "real" rape and all that nonsense.

I just don't feel the rage i did earlier in the thread, i don't know. I realize that at one point, i really could relate to what he's stating and probably thinking. I feel like a lot of people in this thread haven't had a close friend do something like this, and haven't really felt how fucking conflicted and weird it can be.

I don't know if i could honestly call this some "this is how he will always be when you need his support" thing. This is an out of context double whammy that's also something men were fed bad messaging on since they were little kids. I mean, break up with him if you feel unsupported or if this isn't enough for you after what he said, but i understand where it came from even if it's fucked.
posted by emptythought at 1:05 PM on June 3, 2015 [10 favorites]


a lot of people in this thread have had a close friend do this...to us. it's not a lack of understanding you're seeing.
posted by nadawi at 1:10 PM on June 3, 2015 [4 favorites]


I'm with emptythought. There is certainly a chance the husband guy is just A Bad Dude (tm), but I don't think his initial reaction is sufficient evidence for that, given the messages he's been getting all his life about what sexual assault is.

All the stuff you posted in your update is encouraging - not sufficient, not yet, but encouraging. Don't let him off the hook - but the proof of what kind of guy he is deep down will come with how he continues to react to this going forward. I think the advice for him to speak to a counselor is fantastic.

You sound like you have your head screwed on right with all this, OP.
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:22 PM on June 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


a lot of people in this thread have had a close friend do this...to us. it's not a lack of understanding you're seeing.

Yea, i've had a friend do this too. Which it turned out isn't the same as a friend do it to your partner. "How i think i'd react based on it happening to me" doesn't entirely apply, was my point.
posted by emptythought at 1:55 PM on June 3, 2015


You can run over the next-door neighbor's kid because you didn't see them even though you looked and would never deliberately run over a child, and that still doesn't mean they have to invite you to their barbecues.

She can leave him for this. She can leave him for this if he smarts up*, she can leave him if he gets legislation passed that stops it from ever happening again. She is not obligated to stay with someone who, in one of her worst moments, doubted her.

For someone who started this unsure if the sexual assault was maybe her fault, she probably doesn't need a lot of encouragement to stay. She'll stay if she wants to stay. The rest of us are making it clear that she is not obliged to stay, because that's a real problem in these situations, thinking maybe you didn't get hurt bad enough or fight hard enough to give you permission to leave.

*She could also just leave him for being poorly evolved, end of discussion. She didn't mention him living down a well, he *could* be a better person who'd spent some time considering the realities of rape, but he didn't. That's why a lot of us are talking about an abrupt about-face being a good sign, but we also know it'll never quite go away. Even much smaller breaches of trust don't tend to heal completely. If those signs of extraordinary catching-up aren't there, the clock is already counting down.
posted by Lyn Never at 2:18 PM on June 3, 2015 [5 favorites]


I was raped by someone who was close friends with my husband, long before we met, got together, and got married. I didn't tell him who it was until a few months before we got married. I was afraid of his response, afraid he would pick his friend over me, afraid he'd assault the rapist, all of those things.

The thing is, long before then, when I'd said I didn't want to see the person who raped me because I didn't want to see him, he said okay. The friendship drifted away, died out, because they knew this guy wasn't safe to have around women, wasn't a great guy. It wasn't a surprise when I said "you know I was raped, and I haven't said who it was. It was your friend.". My partner didn't ask for details, didn't demand i plead my case. He didn't go on revenge fantasy rampages. He supported me, he believed me, he wanted to do everything he could to help.

Just in case you wanted another viewpoint. It doesn't mean I'm okay now, doesn't mean my partner is perfect about it all (when my rapist contacted him a few years back, instead of dealing with it, he decided to off-handedly tell me as we sat down in a cinema to watch, of all fucking movies, anchorman 2, a week before the anniversary of the event - the man fucks up sometimes). But it is not unreasonable to want more support, and to want it just to happen, to not have to do Rape 101: Trauma edition while you're in the midst of it all.
posted by geek anachronism at 4:19 PM on June 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


This may have been said already, but I this is what I think -

That whatever you feel is reasonable to feel. That you have nothing to feel guilty about. That your husband is not supporting you, and that is a terrible betrayal in itself.

Old Adam is using a very tired excuse, a pro-rape one I might add, that men are powerless to stop their desires when in the presence of a woman, and it's up the woman to fight tooth and nail to extricate herself from the situation, i.e., nothing you could do would be good enough.

I'm so sorry to hear you're going through this, please know, you did nothing wrong!
posted by NatalieWood at 5:04 PM on June 3, 2015


Your husband doesn't trust you. Your marriage is on borrowed time. I suggest you leave him by any means necessary and find someone who can trust you and whom you can trust.
posted by ostranenie at 5:21 PM on June 3, 2015


An update:

so my husband actually did come around on supporting me and has been pretty good for the last few weeks. The asshole responsible for all this though has been telling friends who ask that I came on to him and that this was all some sort of nefarious trap. I can't even deal with that either, but maybe that's another Ask?

Anyway, thanks everyone for your kind words and advice, it really helped me sort stuff out when I was feeling like shit.
posted by sockeroonie at 9:53 AM on July 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


How to deal with that, maybe: "If you really think that I'd do that, you don't know me nearly as well as you think you do."
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:53 AM on July 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


People who believe the nefarious trap story are actively looking for a reason that their buddy Adam isn't really a rapist, even if that makes you the conniving seducer. Cut them out of your life as ruthlessly as you cut Adam out of your life, because you're better off without them.
posted by Etrigan at 11:04 AM on July 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


« Older Merger: Should I take cash, stock, or both?   |   How can I open a doc with MS Word/Excel in Google... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.