About a month ago, my two friends decided to go on a "break" from their relationship. They were still talking and my friend (who I'm going to call A) invited the guy (her sort of ex-boyfriend, B) to her birthday party. At the party, A got so drunk she started throwing up and became unconscious. B still loved her and had high hopes they'd get back together so he spent the night caring for her, along with me and my boyfriend. Around midnight, we left to go to sleep and left B alone to take care of A. According to A's account, she woke up naked in the same bed as him when she had previously made it clear she didn't want to have anything to do with him sexually. B's account was that he took off her clothes to make her more comfortable and didn't actually do anything to her sexually. Still, it's a pretty clear violation. My friend instantly dumped him and cut off any relations with him.
My problem is that I now have no idea how I stand with B. He's my boyfriend's best friend and previously, I didn't have any problem with him, I rather liked him. But now I feel morally torn. I know what he did was wrong but is that a good enough reason to vilify him and refuse to see him? It's entirely my choice whether to maintain relations or not. There are no forced interaction, either one of us sets it up or it doesn't happen at all. Our relationship isn't close, but we're not strangers. His position to me is between acquaintance and friend. My relationship with A is much more close. We have been friends since childhood and meet up and talk with regularity. If loyalty is the issue, mine should lie with her. But I can't see it as a loyalty issue. I don't have to like everyone she does, and I don't have to hate everyone she does. I have to make my own choice without consulting her prejudices, that much is clear. If you think that's cruel, and I'm betraying my friend, you can trust that I've run the issue by her and she says that while she doesn't understand why I would want to see him (she grew to hate him during the last few months of their relationship), she isn't going to bar me from contact with him. A, for her part, isn't angry at him any longer but doesn't want to see him or talk to him (which is a perfectly understandable position). She's more disgusted by him than anything else.
I, of course, see no problem in being civil, but to actively maintain relations seems like I'm somewhat condoning his behaviour. On the one hand, I enjoy his company and I rather like him. I have genuine feelings of friendship with this guy. But on the other, if I stay friends with him, what am I saying about rape in general? I feel like I'm being a rape apologist by ignoring what he did in continuing relations with him. But does what he did really merit my own disgust? I don't feel like it does (I'm a Buddhist, we preach compassion) but intellectually, I know my own moral position isn't sound (does compassion really stretch that far?).
To sum up (I have gone on for quite a while here): I want to be on good terms with him but am not sure if I can do so while maintaining my moral standards. I need clarification on the morality of this situation.
Posts: 2 | Registered: Jul 2012
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I feel like I need to understand something a little better. Has A said, or do you have any reason to believe, that B engaged in any sexual behaviour involving A while she was passed out?
-------------------- The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not. Posts: 1786 | From: Europe | Registered: Sep 2011
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Like Redskies, I'm a little unclear as to whether A believes that B did rape her or touch her sexually in any way. I also do agree that taking A's clothes off was a poor choice on A's part, particularly since they had agreed to be on a break from their relationship. That's a pretty intimate act for someone to do to someone they're not currently dating. I think it can be seen as a violation of A's personal space and a taking advantage of her inability to choose what she wanted at that point.
It really doesn't have to be a choice between vilifying him or acting as if nothing happened. For example, you could say that you're not comfortable intentionally spending time or interacting with him right now, that you know he's not a bad person at heart but that you're really uncomfortable with the choice he made with A that night, regardless of why he did it, and that you need some space away from him right now.
Of course, you don't have to say it like that, or do exactly that. I just wanted to let you know that making a choice about how you interact with him doesn't have to be an all-or-nothing, he's-either-good-or-bad decision.
-------------------- Robin Posts: 6066 | From: Washington DC suburbs | Registered: Dec 2011
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He says he didn't do anything sexually to her but taking someone's clothes off when they're unconscious is clearly a violation. And A has the right to say whether that violated her boundaries or not and she said he did. And he clearly had to have touched her when taking her clothes off so there's that. But the point is, other than his account, we have no idea what happened. My friend was passed out and does not remember what happened. But she clearly thinks what he did (even if it was just undressing her) was assault, so I'm going to say it was.
And that's a good idea Robin. I will talk to him about it and see how that goes. I'll avoid a full scale confrontation because we're not that close, but asking for his account and giving my thoughts might end with a satisfactory resolution.
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