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Over the holiday I spent time with my boyfriend’s friends from home. One night, some of his closest girl friends shared their experiences with sexual assault within the friend group. I was a bit shaken, I hope I reacted okay and didn’t cause more harm. I was re-living a bit of my own trauma while they shared, and we were drinking. I didn’t say much, I listened though.
One of my boyfriend’s closest guy friends has sexually assaulted two of their girl friends. And recently he had sex with a girl who they fear was underage, in a threesome with another young-looking girl.
It was a strange to experience my boyfriend’s initial reaction, which was to defend his guy friend. As a group, I think we did a good job co-regulating and helping each other process through the truth of the abuse. But, I’m still struggling with how to respond now.
To learn of this history of abuse, as an outsider, and a person who works with trauma and abuse, I know that this can’t all keep being ignored.
One of the assaults happened when they were in eighth grade. She woke up with him inside her. When she woke up and reacted, he said, “well can you at least suck my d”… This is a tight knit group of friends. My boyfriend knew the story, they all must have known a version of it. There has been no reckoning though. The perp, a friend, has never acknowledged that there was no consent.
Then, the second assault happened when they were sophomores in college. This girl friend wasn’t as close to the tight knit group during middle school. She woke up with him inside her. She thought he was her friend. She woke up, moved to another couch and then had to move to another couch when he followed her an continued to touch her. She stayed awake all night in fear. She thought he was her friend, and she never consented.
And then this last experience with the young girls… My boyfriend initially reacted defensively because he had investigated and learned a detail that he thought exonerated his friend. Apparently one of the girlfriends of another friend there that night asked the girls how old they were and they said 20…
How do I balance the need for justice and healing with my boyfriend’s desire to not “cancel” his friend. I don’t think a group shunning will help the abusive friend, he will just keep abusing others and also not have friendship. He needs to understand that he assaulted his friends.
The narrative can’t be “he was the second person I ever had sex with”, like it was for the friend in college, the lie she told herself for years before coming to terms with the assault. She never consented and he put himself inside her.
For me, to not acknowledge this, is to continue the abuse. This abusive friend isn’t a bad person, AND he has also made many many mistakes that he needs to own.
Idk what I’m really asking for here. But writing the narrative is helping me process. Maybe my next step at least, is to help my boyfriend understand and really really know that his friends were assaulted. And to also help him understand that if he doesn’t intervene, if he doesn’t ever confront his guy friend about this, the abuse will continue.
It’s not going to be a quick process, this healing.
The next day after this happened, I shared the experience with my boyfriend’s mom. I was really grateful to have that space to share with her. My boyfriend will need her support, explicit or not, to help process through the realization that one of his closest friends has abused people he cares about.