Sexually assaulted by a friend. How to make her understand how I feel?
January 12, 2018 10:10 AM   Subscribe

Is there any point in trying to show this formerly close friend who first violated me sexually, then violated my privacy, why her behaviour is so hurtful and upsetting? And if there is, how do I go about it?

A close friend (we are both female) sexually assaulted me during one drunken evening, and in the aftermath has been dismissive at best of my feelings of betrayal and violation. After I took the friendship down to ‘cool/civil’ levels, she again violated my boundaries and my privacy (this time electronically/via social media), again was dismissive of my feelings, and I’m now wondering if it’s even worth trying to get her to hear me, or what I could say that she would listen to.


This woman, who was pretty much my best friend for a few years, sexually assaulted me one night when we were both quite drunk, despite knowing I’m a) straight and b) unequivocally not attracted to her. We were in her home, and had been watching films and drinking *a lot* of wine. My memory is quite fuzzy, but I do recall my clothes coming off, and her going down on me. I woke up in different clothes the next morning (was staying at hers whilst in town).

When I tried to have a conversation about that night with her, she also claimed a fuzzy memory and wouldn’t confirm or deny what I remembered, just said that in her memory we got emotional over the film, started kissing, and then elided all other sexual details of the evening. She seemed to want to characterise it as a mutual lapse in judgment, whereas I felt violated and that she'd crossed a line. She refused to take any responsibility, and retreated into being drunk as defence and justification for her behaviour, saying she would ‘love’ to be able to say it was all her fault, but she ‘just doesn’t remember’.

Despite my fuzzy memory, there is a fair bit of circumstantial evidence for her being the perpetrator:
— When we first met she decided she was ‘in love’ with me, and said to at least one of our mutual friends ‘why can’t I have her’ ... only one of several examples from early in our interaction in which she spoke in a possessive way about me (I learnt of this comment when I told said mutual friend about this incident.)
— I’ve never been ambiguous about not being attracted to her
— She is quite demonstrative and emotional, whereas I’m quite controlled, particularly around others. (Never in my life have I been so destabilised by a film that I needed to seek physical comfort from another human; it’s just not a part of my personality.)
— There is at least one other incident where she crossed boundaries in situations such as this; round the same time period she told me a morning after story of inviting someone to her place, plying him with whiskey, and then either ‘attacking him’ or ‘throwing herself at him’ (she’s used both phrases, I don’t recall which was deployed in this instance). In contrast I am probably the least physically forward person in the world.
— I told a couple of mutual friends about this afterward, when I was feeling confused and uncomfortable and seeking counsel. Both reacted with dismay, but not much shock, and their responses had an overt vibe of ‘wow, so it finally happened’ rather than ‘OMG I can’t believe this happened’

Even when I’ve pointed these things out to her she has stuck to her ‘neither confirm nor deny’ response, and seems to feel that’s sufficient and it should all be water under the bridge. When I asked her how she could do something like this when she knew I wasn’t interested (something she unequivocally confirmed in our first discussion about the incident) she got angry and accused me of suggesting that she had ‘planned it’, and felt that ‘because alcohol’ was sufficient explanation. I never implied premeditation, just wanted an explanation for how she could initiate a sexual act on a close friend she knew wanted no sexual contact with her; but the distinction seems lost on her. (As she claims to have suffered abuse at the hands of her ex, this question felt specially significant to me.) Her only response throughout has been that she can’t be held responsible for what she did whilst drunk.

Potential questions:
Q: Why would you become friends with someone who objectified you from the start?
A: Her early crush behaviour abated after a bit, and we became good friends despite the uncomfortable beginnings; though this was in large part due to her pushing pretty hard for friendship. She said having a a good friend with similar interests who she could talk to was more important than attraction, and that she wouldn’t want to damage the friendship by trying to make it sexual. I believed her.
Q: Why didn’t you push her off you/freak out/Use Your Words to make it clear how Not Okay this was for you?
A: The most likely explanations are:
— A power imbalance in our relationship. I was, and still am, living abroad; I was staying with her at the time, and she was handling some things for me in the country whilst I was living abroad, both of which likely influenced my reaction.
— Because of some Bad Shit in my sexual history (some of which she was aware of), I’ve had a tendency to freeze — as in fight, flight or — when people get sexual with me in ways I don’t want. I’m much better with this now, but I have a feeling that the enormity of this being done, not by some random uninvested bar hookup, but someone who I trusted and who knew I didn’t want this from her, but was doing it anyway, caused me to freeze and disassociate as a way of dealing with the cognitive dissonance.

The fact that someone who thought of me as such a close friend and claimed to love me ‘to the moon and back’ could do something like this in the first place, and then would be so dismissive of my feelings after was hugely upsetting and hurtful — possibly moreso than the actual event itself. The fact that she does not seem to care how I feel, and the only concern she’s expressed was about making sure ‘the friendship’ didn’t change, seems to indicate that any effects I’m currently suffering are irrelevant to her. Any time I would try to bring the subject up I was met with stonewalling, verbal retaliation or dismissals.


At that point I didn’t see much more point in trying, feeling that she was either unwilling or incapable of understanding my feelings. For a few various reasons I chose to remain civil with her.


Fast-forward to recently: there was an event in which she inserted herself into my life and invaded my privacy, in the name of ‘friendship’ and ‘concern’, though this time it was through social media. As this Ask is long enough already and this could be a separate question in itself I won’t go into details, will just say that the pattern is quite similar: she overstepped a boundary, did something I feel to be a serious violation of my privacy, dismissed my feelings when I tried to explain why I found her actions so upsetting, and turned nasty when I continued trying to explain myself instead of agreeing with her. It feels like the same scenario playing out again, just with a different initialising event.


It’s immensely frustrating as in pretty much every other way she’s a wonderful friend: loyal, considerate, thoughtful, generous, fun, interesting. There have been a couple of times when I’ve honestly wondered if I shouldn’t just try to stuff these things down the memory hole, or acquiesce to her version of events with a shrug and a ‘takes all kinds’ dismissal. But I can’t do that when the other party refuses to even acknowledge my feelings, to have the empathy to at least try to understand things from my point of view. She may not think she did anything wrong, but she did hurt me. One of her closest friends. She hurt me, badly, twice. And she seems to feel that’s irrelevant because, in her opinion, what she did wasn’t hurtful, and it’s my failing that I can’t see that.

Do I keep trying to be heard, or do I walk away from this?

(I've left out shedloads of detail in an attempt to be concise, but can give additional info if necessary.)
posted by myotahapea to Human Relations (23 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
First, I'm so sorry that this happened to you. You should feel that you're "entitled" to seek counseling over it if you think it would help (honestly, it sounds like it might). YOU DO NOT NEED TO JUSTIFY YOUR BEHAVIOR IN THE MOMENT OF A SEXUAL ASSAULT.

I'm also sorry to say that she's not ever going to "hear" you. The time when she might have acknowledged the assault was the morning after. As frustrating as it is, you're going to have to give up on her recognizing what she did; nothing you can do will extract that. Your goal should be to protect yourself going forward.

"Wonderful friends" don't sexually assault their friends. Get this woman out of your life entirely. I suspect that if this was a man, you would already instinctively have done this. Her being a woman, and your supposed friend, doesn't change that.
posted by praemunire at 10:18 AM on January 12 [25 favorites]


Do I keep trying to be heard, or do I walk away from this?

I would walk away. The place to go to be heard would be a therapist, counselor, or close trusted person in your life. Unfortunately you won’t be heard by her; that is abundantly apparent at this point. Prioritize your processing and healing from this and don’t give anything more to this off balance, very dysfunctional friendship.
posted by incolorinred at 10:24 AM on January 12 [11 favorites]


There have been a couple of times when I’ve honestly wondered if I shouldn’t just try to stuff these things down the memory hole, or acquiesce to her version of events with a shrug and a ‘takes all kinds’ dismissal.

There is a word which describes what she is doing and how you are feeling now. Gaslighting. A common tactic used by people who are abusive to others.

She sexually assaulted you and is now trying to convince you that your memory and feelings about what happened are not accurate.

It’s immensely frustrating as in pretty much every other way she’s a wonderful friend: loyal, considerate, thoughtful, generous, fun, interesting.

She attacked you. She is a rapist and sexual predator, not a "loyal, considerate, thoughtful" friend. She took advantage of your vulnerable state. She is not trustworthy. She lacks respect for your feelings and boundaries. And, she continues to violate them. She is not going to listen and change her mind. If she does, you would never be able to trust that she understood what she had done wrong or that her remorse and/or apology was genuine.

Seconding what praemunire said: I would run, not walk away and shut her out of your life.
posted by zarq at 10:49 AM on January 12 [28 favorites]


At best, she took terrible advantage of you, she's not your friend.
posted by cakelite at 10:49 AM on January 12 [2 favorites]


She has decided she has better judgment about your life than you do - she "knows" how much sex you should have and with whom you should have it (her, of course), and how much privacy you should have, and so on.

There is no talking her out of this. There is a thin chance that she will realize, eventually, that (1) she actually hurt you and/or (2) what she did was wrong. However, there is absolutely nothing you can do to make those realizations happen.

If you continue to spend time with her, she will do this again - she will tell herself that you have "accepted" her judgment, no matter what your words say.

the only concern she’s expressed was about making sure ‘the friendship’ didn’t change,

You and she obviously had different ideas about what kind of relationship you had. She misled you into thinking you'd agreed on the terms of the relationship; she didn't want a relationship with you; she wanted one with the "you" that existed in her mind, the one who would enjoy sex with her and wouldn't mind her other privacy invasions. You, OTOH, thought you had a relationship with someone who wouldn't violate your boundaries.

Since you weren't in a relationship with the real her at all, you are free to walk away and shut her out of your life. You aren't betraying her; you didn't have any agreements with her. The "her" you were close to, doesn't actually exist. And that sucks.

It still hurts, though. A therapist or trusted friend may be able to help you with that part.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 10:53 AM on January 12 [13 favorites]


NO, you of course deserve to be heard, but you won't be. Or you will be, but it'll be a trick to earn your trust which she'll violate again.

You deserve validation and understanding, but she's the dead last person who can give it to you. You will not get what you need from her.

I understand why you included the level of detail and justifications but I want to say I take your word about the events, full stop.

She ain't your friend (despite your history and her good qualities, which everyone has.) She's actively harming you and twisting you up until you think it's your fault. Cut her out. No explanation. She knows why.
posted by kapers at 10:55 AM on January 12 [2 favorites]


After one of my very best friends raped me I tried to figure out if I should talk it out with him or just remove him from my life. I agonized over it for months. In the end I realized that there's nothing he can give me that will repair our friendship or my opinion of him. She cannot give you what you need and she will not admit fault. This isn't your friend. Cut her, and anyone who brings her into your personal business, out of your life.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 10:56 AM on January 12 [20 favorites]


If she were a "wonderful friend," she would have listened to you, heard you, and done whatever she could to make some kind of amends. But she hasn't. She is not your friend. She violated you and then refused to take responsibility for it. She is not your friend. She has been dismissive of your feelings and of the fact that she hurt you terribly. She is not your friend.

Cut her our of your life, and don't worry about her ever again.
posted by Dolley at 11:08 AM on January 12 [7 favorites]


Friends don't sexually assault friends.

A friend who violates your trust while you're drunk is not a friend. You didn't deserve this, and it was fiercely inappropriate, not okay, plain old wrong wrong wrong of her.

Because of some Bad Shit in my sexual history (some of which she was aware of), I’ve had a tendency to freeze — as in fight, flight or — when people get sexual with me in ways I don’t want.

I am going to gently suggest that because of that bad shit, you may be a bit numb to people pushing your sexual boundaries, which is why you are even having this issue after she has failed to apologize or take responsibility for her absolutely inappropriate and wrong wrong wrong behaviour.
posted by warriorqueen at 11:19 AM on January 12 [7 favorites]


Nothing you have described is how friends behave - not even once. There's no point in trying to make her understand, because she doesn't care and there is nothing you can do to make her care, that's entirely outside your control.

I'm sorry you have been taken advantage of so badly. Cut her off, block her on social media as best you can.

And yes, absolutely do pursue some counseling if you at all can. It will help you understand what happened and help you learn skills for stronger safer boundaries and recalibrating your internal alarm system so you recognize abuse when people try it on you.
posted by Lyn Never at 11:32 AM on January 12 [4 favorites]


Her only response throughout has been that she can’t be held responsible for what she did whilst drunk.

Yes she can.

Do.
posted by flabdablet at 12:10 PM on January 12 [6 favorites]


I am so sorry this happened to you. She definitely took advantage of you and showed a lack of respect for your autonomy and agency. She went for what she wanted even though she knew you didn't feel the same way.

I think the only thing to do here is to walk away. She clearly has no remorse for what she's done. Perhaps she feels that you "rejected her" the first time and that that is enough of an injury to her self esteem to merit "getting back" at you in this way. But I think you need to get as far away from her as possible and seek counseling if you feel traumatized. She might never admit that what she did was wrong, and that in itself is hurtful. She may never give you the validation of an apology. I am sorry for you that this has happened and sorry that she won't show you respect and acknowledge your suffering. I hope that you can find support and leave her behind.

Also, something i've learned recently from a comment in one of my askmefi questions:
Someone who is nice is not necessarily respectful. Someone who is charming and likable might not be trustworthy. Personality is different from character and it's very important to learn how to tell the difference (though it's not easy because our culture lets big personalities get away with murder)
posted by winterportage at 12:35 PM on January 12


She may not have been aware of her actions at the time - but she was certainly aware of them later, and her reaction was, "I was drunk, so you're not allowed to be upset at me," not, "OMG I totally didn't mean to do that! I know you didn't want that, and I would NEVER have touched you if I'd been in control of my actions! I'm so sorry - I'll be careful not to drink anymore when we get together!"

A proper apology contains:
* Admission of wrongdoing
* Remorse
* Intent to change future behavior.

She offered none of those things, not for the drunken behavior nor for the other invasions of privacy.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 12:37 PM on January 12 [12 favorites]


I'm so sorry she did this. Whether she set out to take advantage of your inebriated state or just happened to do so, what she did was criminal, hurtful, unethical, harmful, and the fact that she's trying to brush it off is extremely alarming.

Don't blame yourself; your reaction was a very common one for people experiencing sexual assault. It has been used sometimes to suggest that it wasn't really assault, but research around people's response to trauma tells us that's not true.

I think you would get a lot of benefit from finding a rape crisis support team. I'm in Boston, so I know and really appreciate BARCC, but RAINN is another good one, and there might be one local to where you are.

We are responsible for our actions regardless of our state of inebriation. If she can't stop herself from raping people when she's drunk, she should stop drinking.

You didn't do anything to ask for this or deserve it. It's not your fault for being friends with her. You didn't send mixed messages. It's not your fault for any reason, and I will personally have words with anyone who says it is.

I'm so sorry she did this to you. Be kind and gentle with yourself.
posted by spindrifter at 12:39 PM on January 12 [10 favorites]


I'm so sorry this happened to you. None of this was your fault, you need to know and believe that.

In addition to the excellent advice offered above, I'd like to gently suggest that you re-assess the trustworthiness of the mutual friends you've told this to, who, to quote you "reacted with dismay, but not much shock, and their responses had an overt vibe of ‘wow, so it finally happened’ rather than ‘OMG I can’t believe this happened’."

Especially this friend: "When we first met she decided she was ‘in love’ with me, and said to at least one of our mutual friends ‘why can’t I have her’ ... only one of several examples from early in our interaction in which she spoke in a possessive way about me (I learnt of this comment when I told said mutual friend about this incident.")

The woman who assaulted you is a sexual predator. Her behavior is and has been so beyond the pale that these mutual friends were not surprised that she did this to you. These friends chose not to warn you that she seemed to be dangerously obsessed with you and "in love with you" even though you barely even knew each other. That woman is a predator, but these "friends" are enabling a missing stair.

I know it's difficult when you're living abroad, away from family, friends, and those you can trust, but every one of these people are problematic. The predator, for obvious reasons, but the people who support and enable her are not to be trusted either. Walk away from all of these people.
posted by LuckySeven~ at 1:19 PM on January 12 [7 favorites]


Holy crap, get this person out of your life. She shouldn't be your friend, she should be in jail.
posted by Jubey at 1:36 PM on January 12 [2 favorites]


Oh dear god, get this abusive piece of shit person out of your life. She isn’t your friend, she is a predator who thinks that she should be able to do what she likes to you without consequence. Her angriness is the real her - she is pretending to be nice the rest of the time to fool you into being friends with her, but the angry abusive version is still bubbling away under the surface whenever you don’t do what she wants you to do.

Really, go no contact now no matter how awkward or difficult it is. She is a dreadful person and I would be worried frankly about what she might decide to do next.
posted by tinkletown at 1:47 PM on January 12 [4 favorites]


Thank you, everyone, for your kind words, support, and insight. I’ve not discussed this with anyone who wasn’t also a friend of hers, and while they have been supportive it’s always different when you talk about someone you know. Everyone who said this isn’t how friends behave … yea. This has been my thinking as well, but it helps a lot to hear it from others.

I’ll be going through and marking some best answers, but some specific comments that resonated:

ErisLordFreedom: she didn't want a relationship with you; she wanted one with the "you" that existed in her mind
*dingdingding* THIS. I’d been sceptical of her professed feelings for me at the beginning, and recall thinking ‘She says she’s in love with me, but she doesn’t know me anywhere near well enough to be in love’ and guessing that perhaps she was just projecting a persona onto me. Over time I figured I’d either been wrong or that she’d got over it as we became proper friends, but when this happened I wondered if the entire impression I’d had of our friendship had been wrong.

At one point I sent her an ill-advised email: I made the mistake of snowballing up some past incidents that had upset me or made me uncomfortable along with my anger and frustration at her dismissing my feelings, and firing that off. In part it was an attempt to show that some of these past incidents corroborated and justified my anger and frustration — many pertained directly to the assault, but not all — but it was also just an attempt to find *something* she would listen to, as I just wanted to be bloody well heard.
She, however, took these revelations as evidence I’d ‘deceived’ her about our friendship, that she thought we could tell each other anything but that was obviously not the case. Now she just uses it as retaliatory ammo; any time I try to show her how hurtful her actions were she whips out a tit-for-tat ‘well, you were hurt by that, and I was hurt by your betrayal’, minimising the sexual assault by equating the two.

praemunire: I suspect that if this was a man, you would already instinctively have done this.
I actually considered saying this at one point, flipping the script on her and subbing in a male pronoun, then asking what her read on the situation would be. I have no trouble believing she would react much in the same way MeFites are right now; but because it’s *her* it’s different.

And … yea. She once said that she doesn’t like to differentiate between the love she feels for friends and the love she feels for partners, and, well … it’s questionable regardless of how one identifies, but I’d imagine that hearing that from a male friend, as a woman, could unfurl some red flags.

winterportage: Someone who is nice is not necessarily respectful.
Again, this. There were little signs of this here and there over the course of the friendship, but the fact that she now seems to be treating me like either a recalcitrant object or one of her children when they act out seems to indicate there’s a fundamental lack of respect. When I ‘behaved’ everything was fine. When I had my own opinions that went against hers I started seeing a different person.

zarq: There is a word which describes what she is doing and how you are feeling now. Gaslighting. A common tactic used by people who are abusive to others.
She sexually assaulted you and is now trying to convince you that your memory and feelings about what happened are not accurate.

I almost laughed when this came up, as she’s repeatedly talked about how her ex/baby daddy is a gaslighter. I guess it never occurred to me to consider this because she sees herself as a victim of it, but her attitude toward my feelings has a tinge of that in there.

She engaged in a bit of tone policing as well, as a result of the most recent privacy incident, telling me that she was going to stop responding to me when I refused to agree that her invasive methods were necessary and correct and something I should appreciate, and had earlier made a nasty comment about how I ‘may think I have everyone fooled but she knows better’. This was all after she was supposedly frantic with worry, and I wondered how someone could go so quickly from concern for my well-being to viciously attacking my lack of appreciation.

To answer LuckySeven~’s comment about the friends: Two I’m certain are trustworthy, but the one you called out specifically is, I’m virtually certain, an enabler of her behaviour. Her early friendship with both of us followed very similar trajectories; he, however, is a self-described attention whore who permits and encourages her forwardness. He’s certainly a passive validator.

I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today!: In the end I realized that there's nothing he can give me that will repair our friendship or my opinion of him. She cannot give you what you need and she will not admit fault.
I don’t know what to say, except that I’m so sorry this happened to you, and thank you for sharing the experience.

In many ways, I do understand this, and the variations of this which many people have been saying. I can be terribly logical and don’t always know when it’s best to walk away from things, so a part of me has thought that, much like the Cure song, if I could just find ‘the right words’, the magic words, that a switch would flip and she’d Get It. But I also wonder if she doesn’t *want to* hear me; if she did she’d have to really consider her actions and motivations and she seems pretty invested in avoiding that.

Finally, I think I wanted to try again, not so much for me, but for the potential next person she may do this with. I felt like it was my responsibility to do my best to make her aware, in the hopes that that awareness would stop this happening a second (or a third, or a fourth?) time. Thanks for reminding me that my motivations have no influence whatever on her behaviour.
posted by myotahapea at 2:23 PM on January 12 [4 favorites]


(On preview: yikes. I thought I'd had my feelings pretty well figured out over this, but the length of the initial Ask plus my follow-up would seem to indicate that yes, perhaps seeking some impartial counsel with someone who is compensated for emotional labour may not be remiss. Clearly this is something I'm not done talking about. Thanks for listening, y'all, and apologies for using All The Words. Bowing out now.)
posted by myotahapea at 2:56 PM on January 12 [3 favorites]


‘well, you were hurt by that, and I was hurt by your betrayal’

The "betrayal" of reminding her that you were sometimes bothered by her behavior? You "betrayed" her by being honest about your reactions to her? How does that work - "I trusted you to enjoy all our activities together and never be uncomfortable with anything I did or said, and you have forsaken that trust?"

At best, this is someone whose definition of "friendship" is not yours, who thinks friends not only never disagree, but that if they do, they set that entirely out of mind for the sake of the relationship. At worst, this is (more) gaslighting and double standards.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 3:05 PM on January 12 [2 favorites]


She's already done this before. She knows what she's doing. This wasn't an accident or a misunderstanding. The idea that we can save the next victim is mostly a fallacy and another way the rape culture wants us to think it's our fault and responsibility. For context, I'm bi and have slept with many women who hadn't slept with women before and what she did is unforgivable and inexcusable. I promise she took advantage of you on purpose and is not unaware. I'm sorry. Please take care of yourself first and most.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 3:06 PM on January 12 [7 favorites]


I can be terribly logical and don’t always know when it’s best to walk away from things, so a part of me has thought that, much like the Cure song, if I could just find ‘the right words’, the magic words, that a switch would flip and she’d Get It. But I also wonder if she doesn’t *want to* hear me; if she did she’d have to really consider her actions and motivations and she seems pretty invested in avoiding that.

Finally, I think I wanted to try again, not so much for me, but for the potential next person she may do this with. I felt like it was my responsibility to do my best to make her aware, in the hopes that that awareness would stop this happening a second (or a third, or a fourth?) time. Thanks for reminding me that my motivations have no influence whatever on her behaviour.


I'm not a mental health professional. But from personal experience and having known other people who have been through similar traumas, this is a quite common reaction to being sexually assaulted. We often want to make sense of a situation, or make sure it never happens again to anyone else. It seems to me that this is a normal, reasonable and sane response.

Trying to protect other potential future victims from someone who has attacked you takes bravery, determination, kindness and goodness. You've also tried hard to give her the benefit of the doubt, this is a level of empathy many people in your position would probably not have been capable of. Your heart is in the right place, but it won't work.

You cannot fix someone who doesn't want to be fixed. Nor can you force someone to listen to and acknowledge your pain, if they refuse to do so. Most importantly, fixing her is not your job. It never will be. That's entirely her responsibility.
--
On preview, this:
"The idea that we can save the next victim is mostly a fallacy and another way the rape culture wants us to think it's our fault and responsibility."

...is 100% right.
posted by zarq at 3:18 PM on January 12 [7 favorites]


A couple of final clarifications:

ErisLordFreedom: The "betrayal" of reminding her that you were sometimes bothered by her behavior? You "betrayed" her by being honest about your reactions to her? How does that work - "I trusted you to enjoy all our activities together and never be uncomfortable with anything I did or said, and you have forsaken that trust?”
Not *exactly* — the ‘deception’ was apparently my not telling her immediately about the things she did that made me uncomfortable, and by doing (or not doing) so I betrayed her belief that we could ‘tell each other anything’. I misled her into thinking that she had a friend who liked and accepted everything she did unconditionally, I guess?
(I readily admit I handled this badly, and could have gone about it better; perhaps if I'd been calmer my words would have carried less vitriol and thus been more constructive. I spoke out of anger and frustration, and as a result my words were harsher than they needed to be. But I was in escalation mode at that point, using the revelations as a way to try to force her to listen and engage with me about the assault.)

For me, at least, this isn’t a realistic view of friendship, as no well-adjusted human being loves *everything* about another person. In my mind, that’s how true friendship works — liking someone and enjoying their company enough to overlook or deal with the things that bother you, which is what I did. IMO announcing everything someone does that goes against your personal preference is insulting and unrealistic, as other people don’t exist just for your pleasure, and doing so implies that you expect them to change themselves to be around you. But apparently my trying to accept and appreciate her for who she was, subjective warts and all, wasn’t good enough for her.


Lastly, I did see one comment (later deleted) that suggested she may have been in a blackout at the time of the assault. This is pretty clearly not the case (and as the commenter stated, would also *not* be an excuse or a justification), as she gave me details from both before and after — first that ‘we’ got emotional and started kissing, and then she jumps forward to her getting sick and me taking her to the toilet to vomit and putting her to bed. I suppose it’s possible there was a very selective blackout that covered only the sexual components I was specifically asking about, but her studiously avoiding giving me any details of that beyond what I remember myself (and not acknowledging, but also not denying what I *do* remember) seems to strongly indicate that she does not want to reveal those things.


Many thanks, again. You lot have been tremendously helpful. Marking this one resolved.
posted by myotahapea at 2:24 AM on January 13 [1 favorite]


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