how do you resolve this shit? [pseudo-rant]

Go down

how do you resolve this shit? [pseudo-rant]

Post by Glides on Mon Dec 03, 2018 2:51 am

[HUGE TRIGGER WARNING: sexual assault and rape. I will try to make the language as G-rated as possible but I have to talk about this because I'm literally panicking as I write this and I need to get it out and get some insight over what to do over this situation. If this is against the rules of the forum, you're more than welcome to ding me. I just don't know where else to talk about this or who else to trust]

OK, so here's the context:

My closest friend once struggled with a MAJOR alcohol problem. Still largely does but he more or less is under control now.

The event that kickstarted him into dropping the habit (which was VERY tough for him) was two occasions in which he got absolutely fucked-in-half drunk and groped two different friends of mine who are both women.

This is, undoubtably, an incredibly fucked up thing to do. I was present for the second occurrence, me and him and our mutual friend wasted on a couch, he grabs me to cuddle with me, i shove him off because i'm not okay with touch, and suddenly my friend is screaming "GET THE HELL OFF OF ME" and pushes him away, screaming that he'd just grabbed her breasts.

He genuinely doesn't remember either night. All of this happens within the space of a couple months almost two years ago. I'm going somewhere with this, I promise.

A couple months later, a year and some change ago, the then-boyfriend of the first person he groped discovers this by chance. At this point, I haven't found out about what happened, only knowing about the second occurrence and very closely monitoring him to see if he drinks. He doesn't drink at all during this time period.

But the boyfriend finds out, and discovers that at one point she was attracted to him and wants to date him (NOT that this excuses the fact that he has assaulted her). He discovers that since then, the two of them have talked it over and hash out everything and what she wants to do now is just let bygones be bygones. He's genuinely remorseful, she says, she's told him what he can do so that they can repair their relationship. Everything she asks him to do, he does diligently.

A couple days later, this guy gets drunk and posts on Facebook exactly what had happened. The second person reads it and makes a post about what had happened. The entire social group falls to pieces as people fight over who was right and what had happened. He calls me flipping the fuck out, me not knowing what to believe.

Because I'm the closest to him in this massive group, I am abruptly pressured into seeing a few of them for dinner where they demand I explain what had happened. The second person, her boyfriend and her best friend are in this group. I tell them as best I can what had happened, that I had been there for the second occurrence, hadn't seen it but had heard her telling him to stop. I try to be as truthful as I can. They instantly say that they're cutting him out and that they'll cut me out too if I talk to him again. This entire massive group more or less splits between the people who are angry with him and the people who either know he's actively trying to make amends or don't believe anything has happened at all.

The result of this are two accusations that are true and literally dozens of others that aren't. Only two accusations, the two real ones, are made by the exact people who had been assaulted. All the others are "I heard he did this to this person," who would then proceed to publicly state "that's bullshit, nothing ever happened."

The problem is this, and why I eventually decided to keep talking to my closest friend: the boyfriend who accused him of this, who himself had deeply exaggerated what had happened (in reality, he had groped her, but in the status he claimed multiple instances of drugging and penetration, none of which had happened), was systemically abusing physically and sexually his partner, and (I didn't know this then) had molested multiple underage girls over the past several years. So this guy is outright nuts, practically a sociopath, abusing his partner and an out-and-out child molester. Many of the same people demonizing my friend immediately go to his defense when this comes out soon after, because you now have literally dozens of people fighting online about what had happened. My closest friend is RIDICULOUSLY popular and I didn't even know the majority of these people. I was getting flamed by people I didn't know, calling me a rape apologist purely for refusing to publicly blab on social media what I thought about everything, that my silence meant I was supporting him. It was the first and only time I spent a good couple weeks getting infrequently cyberbullied, to the point where I stopped using Facebook altogether. Fuck social media.

We don't talk for a little while, me and my closest friend. The first person, also a very close friend of mine, is absolutely mortified that her boyfriend has done all of this. She didn't want him blabbing about it and he deliberately disobeyed him. She wouldn't leave him for another year because she was being so thoroughly conditioned (funny that we mostly bonded over our then-partners doing that to us, although in my case i was only emotionally abused and sexually coerced, it was FAR worse, whatever she's dealing with). But we spent a lot of time together in these days as I struggled with work and my godawful relationship and my own mental illness. And she mostly would just be nearly in tears trying to articulate why she felt even more hurt by the way her boyfriend was treating her than what my friend had done.

Finally, me and my closest friend begin talking again, he asks to meet and I meet him. He asks for my perspective on everything. He's damn near suicidal at this point. He doesn't remember any of it but he's not denying it. He's terrified of losing my friendship after losing so many other people. But the first person has been nonstop vouching for him for the past several weeks, to everyone's confusion. He was such a popular guy before this, and without a massive social group he was falling apart.

So I gave him my two cents: "you did a really despicable and disgusting thing. I will never forgive you for that. I will never forgive you because you know something similar happened to me and you should've fucking known better. You have no excuse. But *her name* is vouching for you and she's saying she's seeing you make amends, and because I trust her, I will trust you. You get exactly one more strike with me. You get one more strike, and so help me god, I will never talk to you again. If I see you after that, I won't be rude to you. But I won't be nice either. Curb the fucking drinking, get some goddamn help, get yourself together. You don't have any more goddamn excuses. You do all that, I'll still not forgive you, but I won't cut you out and we can still be friends. But ONLY if you take responsibility for the disgusting thing you did."

He agrees to all of it. I don't know if that makes me a rape apologist. Maybe it does. To his credit, he does keep his word for the next year or so. He goes to therapy, he stops drinking and doing drugs cold turkey, really struggles with it, but does it. Our relationship remains cordial since we worked together a lot for our freelancing stuff. But gradually we begin to be friends again. And he really commits, and he repairs his relationship with the first person (the second person refuses to forgive him, which is within her rights). I largely distance myself from the massive social group we were once part of, because I recognize how badly it's hurting me mentally and how deeply toxic and fucked up these people are.

Today, I see him again. We largely aren't cordial anymore. Something will always be missing, but he's my best friend and he's proven himself beyond measure that he recognizes what he did and how horrible it was and made sure to consult with our friend over what to do to prove that he's grown and matured as a person. He recognizes himself as a rapist, and we don't shame him for it. Every other person I've ever met who is a rapist, including the people who violated me, all were completely unwilling to do this. They victim blamed, they cried crocodile tears, or they bragged. He doesn't do this. He humbles himself completely. We've grown to trust him again. He never slips. He doesn't even slip today.

I see him, the first person isn't there (she's really struggling because of the trauma she experienced from the abusive now ex-boyfriend, has largely isolated, convinced that I hate her. I don't.). A friend we haven't talked to in a long time, herself once a part of that social group was there. She was in an abusive relationship too and the same people who shamed my friend ended up claiming she made up everything, because her boyfriend was in a frat and you've got to always defend your brothers. Goddamn hypocrites.

I had a crush on her back then and even though we haven't said a word to each other in years, it comes rushing back. For whatever reason, we end up cuddling for a few hours. She's completely out of my league, I can't tell if it's platonic or something more because she cuddles with my friend and his girlfriend as well. I might be missing signals.

She talks about how happy she is to feel safe with us. She talks about her abusive ex who that same group defended. She's so happy, she posts a status on Facebook and tags us all in it.

She does this innocently, not realizing how many people in this toxic group are friends with her. They notice both our names. I'm suddenly flooded with message after message, saying the nastiest fucking things about me, how I like rapists, how I might as well be a rapist, how dare I, how dare I do this, what's wrong with me, fucking kill yourself, in the nastiest language. I'm visibly panicking at this. This girl begins panicking as well because she thinks I'm going to blame her for this. I obviously do not, there's no way she could've known. Finally, the one person in this group I still talk to calls me demanding to know what happened, where I was that day.

I make up a pathetic lie, I say we bumped into each other and the other person doesn't know (she knows). This is enough to satisfy her, but I'm still getting the messages from people I haven't talked to in years. Lots of anti-semitic language, a fucking barrage. I end up deleting the messenger app to compensate.

My friend is apologizing profusely, offering to end the friendship. I haven't forgiven him, but he has proven himself to me. He pushed himself so goddamn hard to prove himself to me. I know how many of the people who have messaged me calling me an apologist have themselves done far worse than he ever did. That's why I was willing to give him a chance. I saw what goddamn hypocrites these people were, how they cherrypicked who should be blamed. I never once denied, and he never once denied, that he did a really disgusting thing. And if he had lied to me, if he had gone off and refused to change and improve, he'd be out of my life. He meant every word. He changed his whole life just to prove to me and our friend and his girlfriend that he could do better. And he has. He did every goddamn thing we all asked of him, never once complained, never once questioned it, valuing our friendship more than his pride.

I love the stupid bastard, even though I shouldn't. He's my closest friend. He's my brother. He's the only one who defended me when I was molested myself and that same group shamed me and called me a bunch of gay slurs. He's the first person I told about my gender identity and accepted me for it. He was the one who helped me find jobs when I was unemployed. When the lead actor of a student project refused to show up the day of filming because he got high off his ass, it was my friend, sporting a 104 degree fever and in intense pain, insisted on performing the role himself at the last minute. This is the person who drove me home when I drank too much and got alcohol poisoning in an attempt to end my own life, driving me over an hour home as I screamed hysterically in the back seat begging him to literally kill me. He's the one who sat with me during the several hours I spent blackout drunk that night, comforting me as I cried harder than I had ever cried. I only remember snippets of this.

He's the first one who warned me I was in an abusive relationship, and stood up to my ex. He's the one who encouraged me to go to my final week in film school despite the daily panic attacks I was having. This is the person who when we both got screwed over by a client who refused to pay us, he paid me out of his own pocket and told me it was from the client. I found out a year later and he refused to let me pay him back. This is the person who deliberately got questioned by police to protect me from an underage drinking charge. He's one of a small handful of people to see me cry and wouldn't shame me for it. He's one of the small handful of people who have told me that they love me. He's the one who encouraged me to begin therapy when everyone else told me it was a waste of time. He's the one who encouraged me to go to film school despite what a risk that would be (and despite how little it ended up paying off). He's the one who would drop literally everything to help me out whenever he could. He's the one who let me stay with him during my worst mental periods so I wouldn't have to be alone. He's the one who invited me to his family's thanksgiving when I had no family to celebrate with.

I am loyal to a fault. My therapist asked me why I couldn't name personality traits for myself and why I felt like a blank slate. I've spent quite a while crying because of all the nasty language I've received tonight. A part of me is really terrified that I'm a rape apologist! My best friend is a rapist, there's no denying that! But when he did something that unforgivable, he did everything in his power to grow past it and make amends! The person he had hurt so badly is now close friends with us again! I'm so terrified I'm letting my closeness to him affect my judgement.

But one group fucked me over at every opportunity, justified all of the disgusting shit they did, emotionally manipulated me at every opportunity, really lowered my quality of life. The other person grew past it all and constantly encouraged and supported me when none of those stupid fuckers would, and kept his word.

I just need to know i'm not an asshole. I don't want to be evil for refusing to turn on him for this. I can't find it in me to get rid of him, not after all he's done and still has done. He's the only reason I've ever been able to work in network television (nothing all that sexy, but network TV work makes you look good no matter how mundane and below-the-line it is. I promise you you've never watched a single show I've worked on. This isn't exactly some AMC prestige TV bullshit here).

I don't know what to do. I don't like an entire group all gossiping about what a rape apologist I supposedly am. But are they entirely wrong, despite their own history of doing far worse collectively? Am I a hypocrite?

I just want to be good.





Glides

Posts : 85
Reputation : 22
Join date : 2016-04-16

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: how do you resolve this shit? [pseudo-rant]

Post by Enail on Mon Dec 03, 2018 3:28 pm

Oof, what a mess! There isn't one guaranteed "good" that everyone's definitely going to agree on and no one will ever tell you you're not, so this is only my reaction, and of course it's only based on your side of the story. But it sounds to me like that friend group is pretty awful, and like you're doing a fine job of navigating a difficult situation.

It sounds like you've consistently supported the victims and prioritized their wishes. You've been clear to the friend who assaulted people how unacceptable you found his actions and made your friendship contingent on him genuinely making changes so that it doesn't happen again. It sounds like you've only been dismissing third party claims that the purported victim says are untrue, not just dismissing anything you didn't see. That sounds pretty good to me.

No one has to forgive someone for doing something awful, even if they regret it, even if they change, but that doesn't mean that it's wrong to do anything but shun them forever after, especially if the victims are okay with you continuing to see them. One of the reasons behind the idea that one should shun harassers and assaulters is that it's using social pressure to make sure those actions have consequences and thus discourage that behaviour, right? But holding someone to account, as you're doing with your friend, is also a way to use social pressure to make people choose to behave better. It's tricky, because it is easy for people to tell themselves they're doing that while really just enabling it because they don't want to have to give up a friend, but it sounds like you're working pretty hard to make sure you're not just doing that.

Friend groups get to decide who they'll accept and what they consider worthy of expulsion, and prioritizing the feelings and inclusion of victims and other group members who don't feel safe around the bad actor, over the person who assaulted them, is really important, but it sounds like this group is not doing that so much as operating as a virulent purity-activism mob while ignoring the needs and choices of the actual victims. I'm going to be a little harsh here: you're not always the most reliable narrator about how other people are reacting to you, so I'm not sure whether to take how you're describing their behavior as a reflection of how extreme it feels to you, but harassing people is not okay, telling people to kill themselves is not okay, antisemitic language is not okay, even if they've done something awful. I give you permission not to take the opinions of people who do those things to you as reflections on yourself, and to block them wherever possible.  

I don't think you're being evil, or an asshole, or a rape apologist here. I think you're doing your best to be good in a tough situation. (I would suggest you talk to the friend that you lied to, because that sounds like it'll be something festering between you otherwise, and if she's going to join the mob as soon as she learns you're still friends with the guy, you might as well know it now, and if it's a deciding factor for her in your friendship, she should get to make that decision even if it's not the one you would make).
avatar
Enail
Admin

Posts : 3785
Reputation : 2026
Join date : 2014-09-22

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: how do you resolve this shit? [pseudo-rant]

Post by Glides on Wed Dec 05, 2018 1:33 am

Enail wrote:Oof, what a mess! There isn't one guaranteed "good" that everyone's definitely going to agree on and no one will ever tell you you're not, so this is only my reaction, and of course it's only based on your side of the story. But it sounds to me like that friend group is pretty awful, and like you're doing a fine job of navigating a difficult situation.

It sounds like you've consistently supported the victims and prioritized their wishes. You've been clear to the friend who assaulted people how unacceptable you found his actions and made your friendship contingent on him genuinely making changes so that it doesn't happen again. It sounds like you've only been dismissing third party claims that the purported victim says are untrue, not just dismissing anything you didn't see. That sounds pretty good to me.

And that's just it: I have never once denied that he did what he did. I saw it with my own two eyes. It's a little frustrating because his girlfriend still insists he didn't, when I know better, but the difference is at least she's not actively harassing anyone who disagrees with her and still doing so over a year later. The people who are still trying to start shit over this are the same people who are still close friends with pedophiles and abusers and handwave away their behavior. The mentality is that if this person is their friend, then clearly they didn't mean it or it's all been blown out of proportion, which makes me worry I'm doing the same thing just because that behavior is so prevalent in this group I used to be a part of.

No one has to forgive someone for doing something awful, even if they regret it, even if they change, but that doesn't mean that it's wrong to do anything but shun them forever after, especially if the victims are okay with you continuing to see them. One of the reasons behind the idea that one should shun harassers and assaulters is that it's using social pressure to make sure those actions have consequences and thus discourage that behaviour, right? But holding someone to account, as you're doing with your friend, is also a way to use social pressure to make people choose to behave better. It's tricky, because it is easy for people to tell themselves they're doing that while really just enabling it because they don't want to have to give up a friend, but it sounds like you're working pretty hard to make sure you're not just doing that.

And I'm in no way saying that shouldn't be the case. There's a lot of people who won't associate with him anymore because of this, and that's well within their right to do so. They haven't thrown a hissy fit or tried to portray themselves as morally superior, nor have they cherrypicked who to go after based on whether or not that person is their friend. I still talk to many of these people myself and there hasn't once been a conflict over their decision, it's made with valid points and I completely accept that. I've been trying my best, and I know it's skewed because it's purely from my perspective only, to monitor him pretty closely, watch how much he's drinking, watch how he treats people. He's a very touchy feely person to begin with, and more than a few people have been confused when I ask them if they felt uncomfortable at any moment when he happens to be there, and he KNOWS I'm doing this, I don't try to hide it from him. He still gets a little annoyed, and I understand why, but I'm deeply paranoid of the hypothetical moment when he betrays my trust again.

Friend groups get to decide who they'll accept and what they consider worthy of expulsion, and prioritizing the feelings and inclusion of victims and other group members who don't feel safe around the bad actor, over the person who assaulted them, is really important, but it sounds like this group is not doing that so much as operating as a virulent purity-activism mob while ignoring the needs and choices of the actual victims. I'm going to be a little harsh here: you're not always the most reliable narrator about how other people are reacting to you, so I'm not sure whether to take how you're describing their behavior as a reflection of how extreme it feels to you, but harassing people is not okay, telling people to kill themselves is not okay, antisemitic language is not okay, even if they've done something awful. I give you permission not to take the opinions of people who do those things to you as reflections on yourself, and to block them wherever possible.

I can't even deny that at this point, I can't tell how much of what I'm describing isn't emotion taking over. It sure felt like hell a couple days ago. I got into a really bad argument with the one person of this group I was still friends with over this, despite how badly she's been manipulated and taken advantage of by them, she couldn't accept it and kept insisting on a version of events that I just know didn't actually happen. But how can you do this without implying that the entire situation was made up when it wasn't? Two people WERE assaulted, just not as graphically as people have been claiming. One of them was dating the person who posted the initial status, who in turn was abusing her for years to the point where she's now just barely beginning to pull herself out of the massive trauma she accumulated while being with him. And yet this person is still accepted in social situations, even when I've insisted they didn't, even when I refused to attend functions he'd be at and I'd be teased for "believing all the bullshit." And this person knows all this happens and doesn't have the spine to stand up to any of them. I sure as hell don't have a spine, even though I'm trying very hard to develop one. It's the cherrypicking that's really pissing me off. Every single person standing on the virtual soapbox all have dirty laundry, and I've got all of the receipts. I honestly suspect it's just a form of projection because of some inner guilt. 

I don't think you're being evil, or an asshole, or a rape apologist here. I think you're doing your best to be good in a tough situation. (I would suggest you talk to the friend that you lied to, because that sounds like it'll be something festering between you otherwise, and if she's going to join the mob as soon as she learns you're still friends with the guy, you might as well know it now, and if it's a deciding factor for her in your friendship, she should get to make that decision even if it's not the one you would make).

That is the person I tried talking to, and I knew the second the conversation began our friendship was effectively over. There's a lot of underlying factors that led to us not being able to resolve anything, like her still harboring feelings for one of the people in the social group and effectively doing whatever this person wants because she's so desperate for their approval. I can't fault her for her perspective, even though I can't ever agree with it. In her mind, she's trying to defend her own friend, and she is, I just wish the nuance of the situation could be acknowledged.

So I mean, she's made her choice, she's the only one in this scenario that I can't fault. I'm just mad at having to lose a friend over this. Being a part of this clique is contingent on agreeing with the consensus even when it's deeply blown out of proportion, and when you ignored the actual victim's wishes (which was, literally, that she'd resolved things on her own and all of the hoopla over it only triggered her worse, and then being thoroughly ignored or being described as someone else's possession, literally. The girl was literally sobbing in tears talking to me wishing that everyone just fucked off and listened to her for a change). I'm just reeling that I spent so much time with these people. The chronic pain disorder, this deeply toxic social group, the mental illness, god, no wonder I was so angry and depressed. I was in the midst of this bullshit when I first started posting on the forum and you definitely remember what I was like then. That was when I spent most days worried I'd catch them talking shit about me behind my back. And I'm just really hurt my friend refuses to acknowledge that and how that's influencing what I'm choosing to do in this situation. She never engaged in it herself, but she sure as hell never defended me when people mocked me for having mental breakdowns or for confessing to suicide attempts.

Like (and I'm gonna sound as G-rated as I can here), just as an example of the kind of shit me and my friend were dealing with, there was an incident where one of them had sex with an underage girl, took VERY explicit pictures of the whole thing somehow when she wasn't looking, and posted them in a group chat we were all in bragging about it. Even as I reacted demanding that he delete the pictures because I didn't want to go to goddamn jail for this, the rest of the group began congratulating him and mocking me for being so paranoid. I knew the girl in question, she was several years younger than myself, we were even coworkers at my old job at the nursing home (I was just out of high school and she was still in high school), and when I tried to very vaguely suggest if she knew what happened, she was completely oblivious.

This same person then went on to sexually abuse a person who would then go on to be one of my best friends (the person who was there the moment I realized my gender identity, no less), and the whole thing was once again handwaved away. After years of just the most disgusting egregious shit from this person, and everyone let it off the hook because he would throw parties in his mom's three story house and offer everyone free drugs. I had so little spine that even after knowing this, I still was too scared to complain whenever this asshole showed up somewhere, because I'd only be mocked until I just didn't bother arguing back.

And this shit was, in some way, normalized to me, not to the point where I'd ever do any of that myself, but to the point where I had internalized the notion that people could just hurt each other any way they wanted and nothing could be done about it and that you'd better shut your mouth if you wanted the little scraps of affection they tossed at you on a good day. And my best friend was the one person who never engaged in that kind of bullshit, even considering what he did, and he still deeply regrets being the person who introduced me to this group when he himself was struggling a lot to find a place where he'd be accepted. We were both really lonely and isolated then, even as good as my friend is at interacting with strangers. He's an immigrant and a POC, and I'm Jewish in a predominantly white and Christian area, listed as one of the most conservative areas of the entire country. Confederate flags galore, complete with a thrift shop open when I was a kid selling an old "NO COLOREDS ALLOWED" sign in its front window for like 20 bucks. Only this year did I begin to realize that most of my anxiety really came from the fact that i'm closeted and I still have to be closeted and talk about it here, and only at Pride was I allowed to relax those guards for the first time in a very long time. He's a closeted bisexual himself, though he didn't go, and as the only POC in that group, that brings up some alarm bells in my mind about why he's the one exclusively targeted out of everyone.

My friend (the one I argued with) is gay too, and that's the saddest part, is how she's subjecting herself to constant mockery over it. To hate yourself that much, as much as I still do, and the amount of mockery I endured for being a Jew (why I have said such anti-semitic comments in the past that I got banned is that my status as "lesser because dirty Jew" is VERY internalized).

I mean, I at least hope this makes my perspective make a little more sense. It's been very strange to see the sources of why I was so emotionally unstable and so lonely and so angry. And all of this just brings all that repressed anger and rage back to the surface. And I'm really struggling to work past all of that and make better choices.


Glides

Posts : 85
Reputation : 22
Join date : 2016-04-16

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: how do you resolve this shit? [pseudo-rant]

Post by Enail on Wed Dec 05, 2018 2:35 pm

Sorry you've lost that friend. It sounds like an awful, awful social group, and as much as it sucks to lose a group, and especially to deal with that kind of harassment in the exit, it sounds like you're well shot of it. Be proud of yourself for resisting that bullshit and holding on to your own values.
avatar
Enail
Admin

Posts : 3785
Reputation : 2026
Join date : 2014-09-22

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: how do you resolve this shit? [pseudo-rant]

Post by Sponsored content


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

Back to top


 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum