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Author Topic: unsupportive friend, victim blaming, and alcohol
eastbyfurthereast
Neophyte
Member # 59138

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Hi there,

So this is a bit of a long story that I've been going over and over in my head and I'm sick of it, so I'm going to try to write it out in point form:

- I go out with friend of friend for drinks, I make clear I am not interested in relationship, only friendship- he says he is looking for someone to date but is happy being friends

- we go back to his place for some drinks, he tries to make a move, I move away but he keeps trying, his friend sees what is happening and takes me home.

- we hang out again in a group setting, he tries to touch me again, I move his hand away.

- we take an overnight trip with a big group of friends. Three of my friends develop crushes on him but he does not like any of them back. He tries to touch me again and I ask him to stop.

- Again in a group setting the same thing happens, so I send him a message later re-iterating that I have not changed my mind, and that I am not looking for anything sexual or romantic, and apologize for confusion, he says "ok".

-We go on another overnight trip, and my friend thinks after the last message he will stop. Right away he asks to share a room with me (different beds), my friend wants to sleep on a couch and I don't really feel I can say no when there are only limited beds so I say ok.

- We drink, and get high, and I go to bed

-at some point I wake up to him touching me under my shirt, when I try to move away he stops and gives me a back massage and I let him, he then keeps moving on to other things and I don't know what to do. He asks me if things feel good or if I like it and I say "I don't know" over and over again. He still doesn't stop so I just grunt.

-He is sweaty and I do not find him attractive and I feel disgusted, but at the same time I am a little turned on and kind of enjoying it and so I hate myself. I let him undress me and continue. Eventually he stops I redress and move away when he tries to cuddle with me and he leaves the room. When he comes back he goes to the other bed and I move my stuff out to the other room and stay the rest of the night on the couch.

-There was one freind I was kind of telling about this stuff so I told her what happened and she thought it was bad but that I needed to tell him I was upset, I said I might.

-Later that night she asked if I had said anyhting to him and I said no. She proceeded to get mad at me, saying that I owe it to him to tell him I didn't want that, that I was giving mixed signals and flirting with him, that I should stop flirting with him, that my other friends like him (including her) and I'm not giving them a chance cause I'm leading him on, that next time I should move to the couch right away and not complain, etc. and that If I don't say anything he's never going to leave me alone

I tried to explain that while I could tell him why I am upset and it might help, I don't feel that I owe him anything, I did not give consent, I specifically said I didn't want it, and if he was confused by mixed signals he did not seek any clarification at any point, etc. We kind of kept going around like this in circles and eventualyl I just said I didn't want to talk about it anymore. It's not that I'm opposed to saying something to him, I just know I'm never going to see him again, and I don't feel I owe him any explanation. Though I am tempted to send him information on consent so this doesn't happen to anyone else, though I am doubtful it will help.

So I guess I'm feeling a lot of things right now:

1) upset with the boy for what he did
2) upset with myself for not leaving the situation sooner or being more forceful (not that I'm under any impression that I should need to fight for it every time I don't want to have sex, but if I had put up a bigger fight I don't think he would have pursued it forever)
3) embarrassed that I was so aroused
4) upset with my friend because it feels like shes blaming me
5) confused about what she thinks, because she did agree it was wrong of him but then pretty much said it was my fault
6) torn between acting in the way that I want, how my friend thinks I should act, and what I would want to do if I was not involved directly in the situation.

While I'm upset about the harassment I'm much more upset about how my friend is reacting. I'm not really sure what to say to her. My gut instinct is to cut her out of my life a bit, but that seems really dramatic. I tried to explain that even if he was my husband and earlier that night if I had told him all the ways I wanted to have sex with him later, but then fell asleep and he started doing things anyways, I would still be upset, but she didn't really understand. I tried to make a few more analogies but she did nnot understand. I just feel torn because part of me wants to be an advocate about proper consent, and how horrible victim blaming is, but then part of me also feels that I could have been more clear and assertive and maybe it is a little my fault, and that I shouldn't have put myself in this situation given the history of our relationship. And I'm also guessing there is a bit of bitterness/jealousy because she had a crush on him and he so aggressively pursued me.

Thanks for letting me rant. Has anyone had to deal with friends like this before? What did you do?

Posts: 21 | From: Canada | Registered: Mar 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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Okay.

First up, hugs. Loads of them as wanted and needed.

Now.

You don't "owe" anyone a clear no. For sure, making it very clear, ideally with words when you are someone able to use them, and able to in a given situation, that you do not want something someone else is trying to do to you is often the very best way to assure it is clear and to do what you can, as one of several basic steps, to get them to stop or not move forward. But that's not about owing that person anything.

That said, while I think clear verbal non-consent would have made things clearer here (when you didn't give it: you're listing some places where you did, so), I also think that your typical disinterest and lack of desire to do what this person keeps wanting to do to and with you has been pretty clear, regardless. So, I doubt that much of this was him not getting that message in the first place. And he may have not changed any of his behaviour even with more clear limits set.

Your friend also has no sound cause to be angry with you, and I'd earnestly be curious, if asked WHY she was expressing anger, she feels she is feeling that anger. Because it sounds to me like this is most likely about something that has zip to do with you, and is probably her own stuff. Like, perhaps, her having an interest in this guy and having the convoluted idea that you not behaving in the way she thinks you should is keeping him from her...? Who knows. But I don't see any justifiable reason for her getting angry with you and effectively holding you responsible for this guy's actions.

People can experience feelings or arousal with unwanted sexual advances or activity. It happens, and feeling or being aroused still doesn't = consent.

So.

Moving forward, you probably already know that it's ideal to be as clear as you can about consent or nonconsent. "As you can" matters here. For various reasons, we won't always feel safe or able to do that in some ways. And that's not about being a consent poster child. That's just about your own agency and safety. No one has to be a poster child in this stuff.

I hear you saying that you feel you want some distance from this friend right now -- that you're not sure if you should take it or not, but that that's what you want. Do I have that right?

[ 07-13-2012, 04:40 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
eastbyfurthereast
Neophyte
Member # 59138

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Thanks Heather.

Yea, my first instinct is to just take distance from this friend, but I am leaving here in a few weeks for a while so if I take distance now it might not get resolved leading to just a distant friend, which may not be such a bad thing I don't know. Our conversation was over text which made it worse, but I know her well enough to know she is a little angry and while she doesn't blame me completely thinks that he is just confused and I am leading him on.

It might be good to try to talk to her face to face, but she likes confrontation even less than I do so I'm not sure if she would be willing to do it at all/with an open mind. It is also hard because I've been away for the past 6 years mostly at university in a very liberal and well aware environment, and now I am back in the suburbs where most people went to local schools, so were never too exposed to those sorts of things (or not as much because they didn't live in residence/become involved in clubs, etc.). When I told this friend that there were boys who would not try anything when you were drunk, or ask for consent before doing anything she was in shock because she had never had an experience like that. I think she is excusing his behaviour a little because she thinks "that's just how guys are".

I'm also confused as to whether or not I should send this guy a message explaining why I'm upset like my friend suggested, or if I should just cut off communication with him completely.

Posts: 21 | From: Canada | Registered: Mar 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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So, sounds like another part of all of this may be your friend self-blaming around some of her own experiences, too. What do you think?

I think when it comes to how you want to deal with this with her, you should lead with what you want. If, for instance, you want to talk with her about it in person, you can ask her to do that: if she says no, she says no. If you want space now and that means risking your friendship becoming more distant, then obviously you need to decide if that's something you want to risk or not.

In terms of this guy, when it comes to confronting people who have abused us to tried to, I think it's important to figure out what we're looking for in doing that, and if we think we're likely to get what we're looking for, then also how we feel about maybe not getting (heck, let's be real, probably not getting) what that is. You also need to consider your own safety in that. But again, no rights or wrongs here, just what you want, what you can handle, and what's possible.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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