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Friends and Family Everyone has disagreements, even best friends and family. If you need advice about a relationship, ask us here.

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How do I handle this situation? - March 2nd 2018, 04:16 AM

This thread has been labeled as triggering, particularly on the subject of rape or abuse, by the original poster or by a Moderator. The contents of this thread might therefore not be suitable for certain sensitive users. Please take this into consideration before continuing to read.

I'm friends with D. D recently made a post about how they were abused by a friend of ours, R. This was hard for them because R is so well known and liked in our community. Although other people have come forward about being abused by R it's generally been kept pretty quiet, until now. Now more people's voices are being heard in regards to R's conduct, and it's becoming clear his behavior is not okay.

I was never really attached to R. He's good-looking, charming, and charismatic, but he's rather arrogant and that was always a bit of a turn-off. However, I do really like his girlfriend, P. I've known P long before I knew R and I always liked her. She is a genuinely kind and caring person and she'd never hurt a soul. I haven't spoken to her about the accusations against her boyfriend, but I know she's aware of them. I worry about how it's affecting her.

The thing is, I really support D with everything I've got. Their story needs to be heard. But I also don't want to jeopardize my friendship with P. In addition, R and P were just made the godparents of the baby of some VERY good friends of mine and I don't want to lose their friendship either; I'd be devastated.

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Re: How do I handle this situation? - March 2nd 2018, 07:38 AM

This is a really tricky situation and it definitely sounds like something that needs to be handled delicately.

Perhaps you could reach out to P and ask her how she's doing in general. By starting the conversation with a less direct question about the comments that have been made about R, she may end up opening up about it without you having to prompt her to do it. If she doesn't, it's still okay to ask her how she's holding up amidst all the drama. It doesn't make you a bad friend to D or mean that you're any less concerned about the things that they've opened up about. It just means you're being a friend to someone that you care about who is, unfortunately, closely connected to the perpetrator.

That being said, I would definitely recommend keeping your thoughts on the things that you've been told neutral when talking to P. If she asks you a direct question about your thoughts on the situation that is unfolding, answer with gentle honesty by saying something like "D is my friend and I believe them, but there's no reason for that to affect our friendship." If she doesn't ask for your opinion, on the other hand, keep it to yourself unless you find it absolutely necessary to say something. If she is sensitive about it, putting uninvited thoughts out there may put her on the defense or stop her from opening up about things altogether.

As for your other friends, it might be best to handle it on a case by case basis. If they're unaware of what's been said about R so far, don't be the one to break the news to them. If they are aware of it, offer support where you can without undermining the support that you have for D and others in your community who have experienced similar abuse from R.

At the end of the day, the stories of those who have been abused definitely deserve to be heard, but those who hear them will choose how they want to respond to the situation. The best thing that you can do is to be an advocate for D and others while continuing to provide a listening ear and open conversations to your friends who are closely tied to R as they figure out what their next steps will be.


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