On the last day before Christmas break at my high school, a friend asked if she could talk to me. She has been acting really strange at school, sort of distant and crying a lot. I thought it was because her parents are getting a divorce and fighting a lot, but she told me that she had been raped at a party. She made me promise not to tell anyone, but should I? She refuses to tell her parents or anyone else. I tried to get her to talk to my parents (she really likes them and they like her), but she said she was embarrassed because she was drunk when it happened. I know the guy who did it. He acts like he really likes a girl when he sees her at the mall or at a party and then totally ignores her at school. I believe my friend. What should I do?
You should feel blessed that you are the kind of person that your friend can trust, especially in the midst of her suffering. Of course, with trust comes responsibility. When you have been invested with someone’s story of suffering, often the best action you can take is to simply listen and believe that they are capable of working the dilemma out on their own. But when the suffering is the result of a crime, further action is required because crime affects more than an individual; it stains the safety of an entire community. I think that you have a sense of this greater responsibility and that your struggle over what to do in this situation stems from this understanding.
Your friend’s shame may signal her realization that she, too, committed a crime by choosing to drink illegally and to excess, but that does not excuse what this young man did to her. I suggest that you tell her she deserves help in this situation; more help than you can give. Assure her that you are available to listen and support her, but that, as her friend, you also have concerns for her long-term welfare (she needs counseling), and for the safety of other young women in the community (they’re at risk). Offer to accompany her to tell her parents, law enforcement and school officials what happened. If she still refuses to talk to law enforcement about what happened, prayerfully consider stepping in. First, tell your own parents and then go with them to notify law enforcement and school officials.
I am 63 years old. Since my divorce 12 years ago, I have been getting acquainted with myself and not depending on a man to take care of me. Now I am sick of being alone. After years and years of not meeting any men, I stopped seeing one fellow after three dates because I realized that I did not want to spend even ten minutes with him. It felt like a fast track to really knowing what I want. But I’m still lonely and my adult children have busy lives, so I’m not filling my empty space very well. Any ideas?
It’s great that you believe that you know what you want, but as you continue to deepen your self-knowledge, remember that what you want may change. So don’t give up on finding a life partner, but in the meantime, focus on friendships with men. You might have one male buddy that you do volunteer work with, another for theater-going and one you can only stand for about ten minutes (but what an intense ten!). As you get comfy with male company, you may discover it’s easier to meet men because the desperation of “I never meet any men” dissipates, releasing a cloud of potent pheromones.