She was raped

Q: Five months ago, I received one of the most disturbing and intense calls from a girl I had dated for 6 months. From the sound of her voice, I knew something was up. She was generally a happy person and to hear her nervous and in disarray was concerning. I was worried about her, even though she had cut things off, I still cared about her. I probed her and probed until she finally told me. She had gone out with some co-workers the previous night and was date raped by one of the guys. I didn’t force her to go into details, I just wanted to be there for her. She was a beautiful, confident, smart girl. I didn’t know what was going to happen after this, from what I could tell already her world was turned upside down. Then she asked me something that I said yes to without really thinking through the possible implications. She asked me to go to the hospital with her so she could report the rape and do the rape kit. The ‘rape kit’ term was a little disturbing, like this was something as common as having a ‘first aid kit’ or a starter kit for a new business. I was nervous about the whole thing, but she was trusting and confiding in me. She was new to town, so the few friends she had and her brother were all out together bowling. She didn’t want to alarm everyone or be asked questions, so she had chosen to call me. I picked her up and we headed to the hospital together. I sat there watching her go through this rape kit and all I wanted to do was help her and be there for her. I didn’t want her to think no man would ever want her again. I stayed with her most of the night and brought her home. She was afraid to be alone and didn’t want me to leave her, I assured her I’d be back the next few days since I was off. Plus, her brother would be home soon and she wouldn’t be alone. The next few days were amazing, we bonded in a way we never did when we were dating. I felt like I was her protector, a feeling I had never felt with her before because she was so independent. I knew she was vulnerable after what had just happened, but there was still that part of me that made me want to make her feel like she was still wanted. So, when the moment came where we were so passionate, it was intense. It was nothing like any of the times before. I wavered and we had sex. She seemed happy and was very passionate, more than I had ever seen her. That’s how it’s been this whole time up until last week. Last week, she was rushed to the hospital to get her stomach pumped from drinking too much while she was on her antidepressants. The doctors were concerned for her well-being, but I reassured them it was just an accident, not typical of her. Then 2 days later, she overdosed on some codeine pills she had from her surgery earlier that month. This time, they kept her and admitted her into the psych ER. I had never had anything like this happen to me, I lived a pretty easy life without any traumatic events, so I had no idea what was going on. I visited her in the ER, and she smiled a little smile. We talked for a few minutes and then she told me she couldn’t see anymore and didn’t think it was a good idea to continue dating. She told me she had a lot of healing and issues to deal with on her own and didn’t want to drag me in nor had the energy to give me anything. I was crushed, I really loved her and wanted to stay with her regardless of all the things that happened. She made me feel needed and wanted, more than I had ever felt in my life. And now, I sit here while she’s still in the psych ER and I don’t know what to do. Do I let her go? Do I stay? What should I do? She means a lot to me.

A: I am so sorry to hear this. Unfortunately, these date rapes occur more often than people think. You are dating a very brave guy for her to come out about the rape and report it, get tested and the whole nine yards. And I admire you for also being brave enough to go through it with her. BUT, the situation is becoming something bigger than you can handle. She is right that it is a fight she has to have on her own, only she can have the mental strength to fight the damage that the rape has done. Most people think the worst part of the rape is the physical act but in all reality it’s the psychological damage done by having their body used as a weapon against themselves (for date rapes, that is, different story for rapes committed by a stranger). I encourage you to learn more about rape and how to handle the situation, RAINN is a national organization rape awareness group. It’s a good place to start: Unfortunately, I have to say although you love this girl, you have to respect her issues to separate. The one thing that is lost for a victim of rape is the sense of control, someone had used their body for their own intentions and took control of it, subjecting it to the sexual act they wanted. If you deny her request to separate, you send off the message that what she says isn’t important and take away her attempt to control her life. You can be her friend, I’m pretty sure she’ll want to have you around as her friend as she has had you around since day 1. But, the swiftness of how quickly you guys got sexually involved is concerning. She was pretty vulnerable at that point and like alcohol or a drug, the sex probably soothed her pain. She can’t depend on you like that, she also made it obvious that she was a lot of pain she’s trying to mask (or heal in her eyes) by overdosing on codeine. She needs help and right now, and the help she needs is from a therapist, psychiatrist, etc. She needs professionals who are trained in this and take care of it on a frequent basis. What she needs from you is support. Be by her side to listen, to encourage, and to be trusted. You can do all these things without being intimate with her if you love her like you say you do. In this situation, love isn’t about building a relationship, it’s loving her through the situation, empowering her and giving her what she needs to heal. Both of you have a long road ahead of you, it behooves you to educate yourself on the subject and understand her and what you can do. I truly am sorry to hear this, no one should ever be forced to give up control of their body for something they don’t want. I’ve seen a lot of women forever changed negatively by rape. If you can support her and she can stand on her own 2 feet to fight to take back the control of her life she lost, life may be forever changed. But she can learn to make a new life and overcome this terrible experience. Good luck to both of you, you’ve been handed one of the most traumatic experiences, an experience that no one wants to talk about. Don’t give up on her, if she’s as strong as you say she is, then she can heal. But know that it takes time, and you should be prepared for the long haul as a friend.


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One Response to She was raped

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