How do I get over rape by a friend?

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

I was living with a male friend of mine in a house that was big enough that we didn’t ever have to cross paths. We hung out every now and then, drinking, and watching movies, but not very often, and certainly with no romantic intentions. As a matter of fact, he often told me about his “ideal woman”, as far as looks go, which was my polar opposite. He wasn’t my type, either. (I prefer my men employed and without a drug/alcohol habit.) So I was pretty shocked when I woke up one night to find J having sex with me. Unprotected sex. He was very, very, drunk, and did not stop when I asked him to. We were friends though, and I knew that this was not something he would do if he were sober. This thought did not help much in the following days. My stomach was constantly twisted in knots, and I couldn’t stop shaking. I also couldn’t think straight, and kept playing it over and over in my head. X never mentioned it, and did it again two days after the first time.

Now, I’m pretty tough. If a stranger had grabbed me off the street and tried the same thing, I would’ve put him in the hospital. X, on the other hand, was someone that I cared about, someone that I thought of like a big brother. Even as he was raping me, I kept telling myself that he was sick and needed help. I WAS HIS FRIEND!!!!!! How could he be doing this to me? I couldn’t afford to move, so I avoided him as much as possible.

3 weeks later i found out I was pregnant and the bottom dropped out. I told X, who immediately started whittling away at my self esteem. He said the most awful things to me! He also killed my cat and damaged my car, but he never hit me. He continued to come into my room at night, and to “accidently” walk in on me when I was in the bathroom. I intended to raise the baby, just not in that house, so 6 weeks after she was born I packed up everything that I owned and moved into my mom’s tiny house. Which promptly burned to the ground. We, my mom, me and the baby, were sleeping when it started, and got out with seconds to spare. I didn’t even have shoes on. (In January, in Northern Michigan)

I used my share of the insurance money to go back to college, where I’m earning top grades. To the point now: It’s been just over three years since the first rape, 2 and a half years since the last; but I still feel the way I did that first night. Utterly and totally betrayed. X lives in another state now, but just today he was in my apartment getting to know his daughter. For a minute, I remembered what our relationship was like before the rape, when we were just hanging out, but it didn’t last and I wanted to throw up. This man is going to be in my life forever. How can I make these feelings go away?

A: I read your letter with my heart in my mouth. From what you wrote, this man is extremely dangerous. What makes you think that your baby is safe with a man who raped you, killed your cat, damaged your car, and perhaps set your mom’s house on fire? My only guess is that you have dissociated so far from the rape that you are unable to let in just how dangerous the situation is. You are in the same position as an abused spouse. You need help to work through the trauma of what happened to you and to figure out how to protect yourself and your daughter.

This will take you to a list of all the domestic violence hotlines and support services in your state. Please. Contact the program closest to you and talk to the counselors. They can offer you good advice and support.

Meanwhile, do not leave your baby with this man, not for a minute! For that matter, do not even let him visit the baby with only you as a supervisor. Always arrange to have a friend or relative also present. I don’t trust him. And I don’t think you can trust yourself to respond as you should if he tries to harm either you or your daughter.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 18 Apr 2009

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2009). How do I get over rape by a friend?. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 22, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2009/04/18/how-do-i-get-over-rape-by-a-friend/