T O P I C R E V I E W
Member # 101122
posted 12-18-2012 06:57 PM
i don't really know how to ask this. i'm sorry if it upsets anyone.
i have a small group friends i've talked to online for the past couple of years. we're all about the same age (early/mid-20s), and in that time we've all gotten fairly close, just talking about our lives and goings-on. one of them, S., one of the kindest and sincerest people i know, had been struggling with things for a while - things getting stressful at work, her emotionally abusive father coming into her life again, her generally low self-esteem. i'm saying all this to provide some context for my reaction to what she told me a few nights ago. last friday night, S. came to me really upset about something, and confessed that she had raped another girl when she was 14, a friend of hers at the time. she explained that the reason she told me was because she just couldn't take the guilt of keeping it a secret from me anymore, and that if i wanted to break things off she would understand. i couldn't bring myself to believe her at first - she's always talked about how she's made awful mistakes in the past that have hurt people, but i always thought that was just her low self-esteem talking, and in the time i've known S. i've never seen her so much as hurt a fly, much less rape someone. but i eventually realized she was telling the truth. i specifically asked if she was trying to atone for it at all, and she replied that she had tried doing community service and seeking professional help in the years since. she also tried to apologize to her friend several times after it happened, but her friend never forgave her, and hasn't spoken to her since. two other friends in our circle have been told, as has S.'s current girlfriend, and they're all supportive of her - none of us have ever met the girl she raped. all we know of her is what S. has told us, and she's never spoke ill of her - she was S.'s best friend during an extremely dark period, and according to S. the only reason she never turned herself in for the rape was because her friend, the victim, repeatedly told her not to. S. has always regretted not doing so, and said that if her friend ever decided to press charges someday, she wouldn't fight them at all. but i can rationalize this all i like - staying S.'s friend would still mean i'd be friends with someone i know to be a rapist. and despite the fact that i don't feel threatened at all by S., i don't know if i can ever be comfortable with that. i care about S. and want to see her well, but i just don't know how i can justify being her friend in the face of all this. i just don't know what to do.
Member # 90293
posted 12-18-2012 07:51 PM
HI izanul and welcome to Scarleteen,
It sounds like you're in a real quandary with your personal comfort and beliefs battling with your friendship with S. To get a little more context: Have you and S, or anyone in your group of friends, met in person over the time you've known each other online? What would staying friends with S versus stoppping the friendship both look like? That is, how would things change from how they are now?
Member # 101122
posted 12-18-2012 08:17 PM
hi Robin. thank you for the reply, and for welcoming me.
none of us have ever met in person. we're all pretty spread out - three of us live in different regions of the country, and one lives in another country entirely. we met through a web forum about a certain entertainment hobby and have mostly talked via chatrooms. i guess the thing i've been worrying about during today specifically is how i would justify staying friends with S. if what she did ever became public, or what i would say to my family or anyone i was trying to be friends with. but i'm afraid that if i broke off contact with S., that would lead to the loss of my other friends in our circle, since they're close with her and are supportive - it's not that they would reject me so much as i just don't know if i'd feel comfortable being around them. they're all very dear to me and a huge source of strength, especially recently while dealing with problems in my own life. if i walked away from them, i'd be losing some of the only friends i've had longer than a year. i don't have a whole lot of friends in real life, and certainly none i'm as close with - i've moved too many times and have always been slow to build relationships with people. i'm not sure i can really get more specific about the situation than that, but if you think of anything else i'll do my best to answer. i hope this helps.
Member # 95710
posted 12-18-2012 10:13 PM
I'm so sorry to hear that you're going through such a hard time. It's always a shock when a close friend reveals something about themselves that either makes us uncomfortable or frightened. I know what you mean about having online friends - I have an online friend with whom I'm close, though we've never met; so I can understand your connection to this person and your group of friends. In my own opinion, perhaps it would be a good idea to let yourself feel what you need to feel at the moment. I rationalize and objectify everything, but sometimes just taking down the walls and feeling what you have to feel without the facts might make things less muddied. Give yourself some time to breathe and to process this - it's a lot to take in, and you can take your time in dealing with this. I'm not well-versed in this area at all, so please forgive me if I speak out of line - I do not mean to at all. What are some of the good qualities that S possesses? Does she make you happy? Do you think this friendship is somethong you'd like to see continue? It is entirely up to you. Sometimes, friends part ways for a while and come back together in time. That has happened to me a time or two. It's good that your friend has support and friends to talk to, and it's obvious that you're a safe and caring person, since she has told you about her past. How would you feel about gaining some offline support? There are counseling services available, or you could talk to a friend or relative, if that is something you would like. I'm so sorry that you are going through this. Take care of yourself, and please reach out to us here if that is something you would like.