*trigger warning: rape, suffocation* The other day I made a post on facebook about the Steubenville rape case and rape culture. I'm glad I did because I guess it made my friend, whose away at college right now want to confide in me today. She told me that she had a traumatic sexual experience a few months ago. She said that she wanted to have sex with this guy, which is why she's feeling conflicted about what happened. But this guy put a pillow over her head and held her down so that she couldn't scream or move, all she could do was punch the headboard and he still didn't stop. She's also feeling guilty because she said she had sex with him again even after what happened. She told me that she isn't in contact with him anymore but it's been really bothering her and she hasn't told anyone. So at this point, I don't really know what to do. I told her not to feel bad for initially saying she wanted to have sex with him, because she consented to sex, NOT being suffocated and held down in a situation where she wouldn't be able to say yes or no. I had a really busy day today and was unable to talk, so I told her I wanted to be there for her and we would talk about it more later. Is there anything else I should tell her? Are there resources for this type of situation? I mean it makes me feel sick to my stomach because I don't see how he could be proven guilty if she were to press charges. I have no clue what to do other than just try to comfort her and let her know it wasn't her fault and what he did was not okay at all.
Posts: 58 | From: california | Registered: Dec 2010
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What your friend experienced was assault, plain and simple. As you said, she did not agree to what happened.
The most helpful thing you can do for her is to listen and not judge. It sounds like you're already doing that.
IN terms of resources, you could help her find a sexual assault center in her area. Most centers provide individual or group counselling (or both), a crisis and support hotline, and other supports and resources.
If there is no center in her area, or she's not able to get to (or chooses not to go to one), you could suggest that she see if her college has a counselling service and, if so, make an appointment with a counsellor.
Does that help?
-------------------- Robin Posts: 6066 | From: Washington DC suburbs | Registered: Dec 2011
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It's great that you want to support your friend right now; her experience sounds terrible and I'm sure it's good for her to have someone to talk to about it, especially since (as I'm sure you've seen in coverage of the Steubenville case) a LOT of people say a LOT of terrible things about sexual assault. Honestly, speaking up about these issues in general is a great way to support her and other survivors. It can be really hard for people to speak up about their experiences, especially because of the "jokes" and victim-blaming that often happen.
One thing you may want to say to her, as you're letting her know you want to be there for her, is that she doesn't have to feel like there's some point past which she needs to be "over it" and not upset any more. Maybe she'll start dating someone in a few months and have a hard time feeling ok being sexual with that person because of this experience. Maybe she'll see this guy on campus next year and have a flashback to the assault. And if those things happen it'll be helpful for her to know that you'll still have her back then.
Posts: 1125 | From: San Francisco | Registered: Jan 2013
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