Post # 1
I’ve been best friends with L since I was 2 years old (we’re 23 now). She was always a confident girl that everyone liked, I was actually a little jealous of her for most of our lives. When we were 20 (and stupid, I’m not going to pretend we made a good choice), a bunch of our girlfriends were out at a club really late and pretty drunk and decided that it was time for all of us to go home. A few of us got in a cab together, she got in a cab with a guy she’d been talking to but said she was going to meet us back at our friend’s apartment. She didn’t come back for a while and when she finally did, she told us that he had sexually assaulted her (no penetration though he tried, but other forced sexual acts) in an alley– I call it rape, she doesn’t. We called the police, I took her to the hospital- she decided not to press charges. She originally didn’t want to tell her family and just to forget about it but my mom ended up telling her mom, which she ended up being hapyp about. Since that time, I’ve suggested many times that she see somebody. She’s had bouts of bulemia and other strange eating patterns, her personality has changed, she’s lost a lot of her confidence (but fakes it pretty well), has become pretty wild (dancing naked at parties, getting really drunk, making out with many people per night when we go out). She breaks down every once in a while to me or one of her sisters about it, not often. She doesn’t really talk about it but I know that it clearly has changed her.
Every once in a while, I can convince her that she should see somone or attend a support group or something, telling her I’d go with her if she wanted me to but it always ends up where it just doesn’t happen. It kills me to see her this way. Its gotten to the point where she seems almost out of control. Her family hasn’t really done a whole lot to try and help her besides being there to comfort her. I don’t know what to do anymore. Its so hard to watch this without being able to help. Does anybody have any suggestions?
Post # 3
I know it’s hard, but there is only so much you can do if she’s not willing to get help yet. The most you could probably do is set up an appointment with a couselor at a local women’s crisis center and take her yourself. Sometimes just making that initial connection with a professional is all it takes for the person to realize how out of control their life has become as a result of the assault.Maybe before you take her you could take to someone there and see how to go about it. They will likely be able to point you in the right direction.
I wish you and her the best, this can’t be easy.
Post # 4
I’m really sorry that this happened to her and it’s important that she has you for support. Maybe suggest an online support board or other online resources. Just thinking about pandora’s project (off the top of my head)
Post # 5
thanks, those are both good suggestions, I’ve mostly been worried about pushing to hard and pushing her away..@Mollytov: what is pandora’s project?
Post # 6
Just do a quick web search. Pandora’s project is a chat, support and resource board but you may find something with a physical location closer to home. That way, if she wants to go in to see an actual person than she is already connected.
Post # 7
It is really hard to watch people struggling when you think they haven’t begun to process a trauma. However, you can’t force her into therapy. Being there as a supportive friend is beneficial. If you have reason to believe that she is doing things that is harmful to herself, you may need to raise concerns to her parents. Eating disorders can be life-threatening. There is a possiblity that her family may be unaware of the severity of her suffering.
If I were in your shoes and she were a good friend of mine, I would have a private, honest conversation with her about how much I cared about her and how I was worried about her own safety and well-being. This may seem silly, but focus on YOUR concerns, rather than telling her what SHE should do. After you’ve carefully told her your concerns, you may offer to be there with her if she chooses to go into therapy or tell her family. Sometimes just going to a therapy clinic can be difficult, but knowing you’re waiting for her in the waiting room might help.
Also, be cautious in watching for symptoms of self-harm. Although I don’t want to make you paranoid, you said she seems to be “out of control.” This makes me concerend that she might have some borderline personality features, or chronic PTSD symptoms, which could be limiting her ability to process the trauma.
Be there for her, but also realize that ultimately this is not your problem to solve. It is important to contact her parents if you think she is a true risk to herself, however. You might see something they don’t.
Post # 8
Im really sorry that your friend went through that and that you have had to see her suffer. However, the saying is true that you cannot help someone who is not willing to help themself. It sucks that it is that way, but there is only so much you can do. You are still young so maybe she will seek counseling in a few years. I have a friend who is very similar to your friend. She is constantly going out with guys who treat her horribly and she is always depressed. I have urged her so many times to seek help and even told her that I’ve been to therapy and that it has really helped me. She has yet to go see anyone but she has finally started to say that maybe she will see someone. The best thing you can do is be there to support your friend, listen, give advice when you can, lend a shoulder and still continue to talk to her about seeking help.
Post # 9
You’re a good friend. I suggest you call RAINN – the people there will be able to give you much better advice than strangers on the internet. 1.800.656.HOPE
That said…I went through this last semester with a friend. After a few weeks, I ended up spontaneously walking her over to the campus rape crisis center. I think the good thing was that I didn’t make an appointment, or say I’d do it another day – we did it RIGHT THAT MOMENT. The first time she indicated that she might possibly be willing to consider seeing someone, I said, “What is your schedule for hte afternoon?” and then walked her over. However, this is premised on us being on a college campus with resources available. I could see this being impractical in a different situation.
Post # 10
Thankyou guys so much for your words and care. You’re right, I can only be there for her and make suggestions until she is ready. I just hope she’s ready before she puts herself into another bad situation.
Post # 11
all I can suggest is to be there for her, and let her know that you are always there to just listen to how she feels. You sound like such a good friend, she is luck to have you!
Post # 12
@kingytobe: Have you thought about finding a support group that is for the family and friends of rape victims? Maybe they have something out there sort of like Alanon is for Alcoholics, for victims of sexual assault.
Then you could speak with friends and family of others who are going or have been through what’s going on with you and “L”. Maybe you can gain some more advice and perspective in the process?
Sorry to hear all this, it is definitely hard to watch a person self-destruct.
Post # 13
go to her parents and let them confront her and worry about it. she should have pressed charges, it would have given her closure. she probably regrets that she didn’t. what a piece of shit.