Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“My Brother Blames My Sister For Her Divorce”

Warning: the following column contains rape themes that may be a sensitive topic for some readers.

I found out a month ago that my sister and her husband were getting separated. This surprised me since they seemed mostly happy, and had only been married a couple of years. I live a few hours away so I didn’t get a chance to really talk to her about what was going on until I went home for a weekend a couple weeks ago. What I heard from her filled in a lot of the back story but was heart-breaking to hear.

The really short version is that she was at a party with her husband and our brother and she either got way to drunk or was drugged and was raped. My brother doesn’t believe her and neither, really, does her husband. They don’t think she necessarily cheated, but they don’t believe she was traumatically raped either. Not being believed sent my sister on a self-destructive path that resulted in her having a brief affair with a friend who was listening to her and believing her. Sis is trying to right herself with counseling, support groups, etc., and I’m trying to be there in whatever way she needs when I can.

I don’t know what to do or where to go with my brother. We’ve never been super close but I thought he was a stand-up guy and we had a good relationship. I can’t believe he’s blaming our sister for what happened at the party and actively encouraging her husband to do the same. I’m mad that he’s not supporting our sister as she tries to own her mistakes and deal with the rape.

The weekend I was up there he offered to pick up my sister and me from our happy hour because he was worried I would encourage her to hook up with random strangers. I’m trying to separate all of this from my past anger at him for being quick to jump in with “tough love” and “accountability” when I got divorced without actually asking me what was going on in my life then. I’m just not sure how to move forward. — Mad a Brother

Your last couple of lines really say it all. Your brother was a jerk to you when you got divorced and you haven’t truly moved on from that hurt. And now that he’s behaving equally hurtful to your sister as she deals with her own traumatic situation, it’s bringing up that pain all over again. You may be trying really hard to separate the anger you have toward him for how he treated YOU from the anger you have toward him for how he’s treating your sister, but the two situations are so strongly connected, I don’t see how you can really separate them.

So, I say don’t separate them. Just be angry at your brother. But separate the anger you feel for him from the sympathy and empathy you feel for your sister. And don’t just separate those feelings, but prioritize them. Right now, your sister needs you. She needs you to believe her, to trust her, to listen to her, and to just be there for her. And you can do much more good being there for your sister than you can in focusing your anger on your brother. The anger is a wasted emotion right now when your sister’s emotional needs are so great.

If you can, try to ignore your brother for the time being. His asshole behavior is separate from your relationship with your sister and THAT is the relationship that needs your attention right now. Eventually, when your sister is on her feet and further along in the process of healing from everything she’s been through, you can again turn your attention to your brother. And, when you do, try to focus on YOUR relationship with him and not your sister’s relationship with him. Maybe the best way to deal with your issues with your brother is to talk them out in therapy. Maybe you would benefit from talking to him. Or maybe you have to finally accept that he isn’t perfect — that he’s as flawed and human as the rest of us and he wasn’t the brother you wanted him to be when you needed him. Is it the end of the world? No. Have you survived the hurt feelings he caused you? Yes. And so will your sister. And she’ll have an easier time moving on with you giving her the kind of support your brother seems unable or unwilling to give.

***************

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306 comments… add one
  • avatar

    bethany October 10, 2013, 9:38 am

    WWS.

    I think it really boils down to this, “If you can, try to ignore your brother for the time being. His asshole behavior is separate from your relationship with your sister and THAT is the relationship that needs your attention right now. ”

    I’m not doubting what happened to your sister at all, but it seems odd to me that she could be at a party with her husband and that situation could have occurred. Where was the husband? Why didn’t he notice how drunk she was? Why wasn’t he looking out for her? If I were your sister and this happened to me, I’d be BEYOND pissed at the husband- Not just for not believing her, but for not having her back and watching out for her.

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    • GatorGirl

      GatorGirl October 10, 2013, 9:42 am

      Yes to your second paragraph. Not doubting the validity of the story, but that’s a shitty husband move, IMO.

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  • avatar

    ktfran October 10, 2013, 9:43 am

    What bothered me most about this letter is this. Where in the heck were the brother and husband when all of this was happening to the LW’s sister???? They were at the same party????

    Other than those questions, I agree with everything Wendy said.

    LW, sometimes family or people we’re close to disappoint us. Or don’t respond to some things the way we prefer. The best we can do is choose not to hold onto anger or disappointment. As long as the good far exceeds the bad, I think we just need to learn to accept some behaviors with loved ones. I can tell you for a fact I did not like my mom’s actions when I called off my wedding. Am I still disappointed? Yes. Do I need to get over it? Yes.

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    • katie

      katie October 10, 2013, 9:50 am

      well, really though, is it the husband’s and brother’s job to watch over the LW’s sister at a party?

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      • avatar

        bethany October 10, 2013, 9:53 am

        I don’t think the brother was at the party, but YES- It is your husband’s job to make sure you are safe. If your own husband won’t watch out for you, who will?

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      • avatar

        bethany October 10, 2013, 9:54 am

        Ok, just re-read, and Yeah, the brother was there, too. And yes, your brother should have your back, too.

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      • GatorGirl

        GatorGirl October 10, 2013, 11:31 am

        Yes, I with out a doubt expect my husband to have my back/make sure I’m safe at all times. I do the same for him.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest October 10, 2013, 11:34 am

        And even if you don’t want to go that far, I’d still at least expect whoever I go out drinking with to keep an eye on me if I’m drunk. I mean, any time I go out drinking, I go with friends and we all watch out for each other.

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      • avatar

        BreezyAM October 10, 2013, 9:44 pm

        This 100%. When people drink, even what many think is a normal acceptable tipsy fun time amount, awful shit can happen. A guy here went out to have a cigarette from his buddies at a gathering. It was near close, one of those places where they’re trying to be trendy by not having their name on the door (rolling eyes). Well, they didn’t realize how loaded he was (and in fact later insisted to all the media and his family that suspecting he was drunk was ludicrous and offensive, and this person who was there should know because he’s an ER doc at a busy urban hospital where he deals with lots of drunks!) and he was found three days later the day after Christmas on the banks of the canal frozen to death.

        His BAC was .246. There is video surveillance showing he was alive at LEAST two hours later. And yet, three days later he was .246.

        Eventually they put together the cigarette gave him a huge near fainting level buzz in combo with the booze (I’ve had this happen to me before, smoking when I’m drunk can easily make me near pass out) and he was unable to find his way back in, wandered off, was trying to find his way to either his house, his mother’s, or his GF’s (no one knows) couldn’t figure out how to cross the canal, assumed it was frozen, tried to walk across, fell in, crawled out, and simply couldn’t go any further once he got to the banks, fell asleep… and died.

        Stay in pairs. Fucking seriously.

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      • avatar

        MissDre October 10, 2013, 10:03 am

        Yes absolutely! It doesn’t mean having to “babysit” her but whether it’s a wife, husband, boyfriend, girlfriend, or even just a friend, you always look out for someone you care about and have their best interest in mind. If I noticed one of my friends getting way too drunk I’d be even more inclined to look out for her.

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      • avatar

        ktfran October 10, 2013, 10:18 am

        Right?

        One night last year I got a little too drunk for my taste. It rarely happens, but that night, it did. Once I started slurring words, my friend put me in a cab and took me home. That’s a good friend.

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      • avatar

        MissDre October 10, 2013, 12:15 pm

        Same here. I actually blacked out and have no memory of more than half the night. Thankfully I was with my brother and his wife who took care of me, took me home and put me in bed.

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      • avatar

        ktfran October 10, 2013, 10:08 am

        Umm, if someone is getting inebriated, YES, I wholeheartedly think that whoever is at the place with that person should have his or her back. I mean, this woman was so drunk she was either raped or had sex with someone at a party that her husband was also attending. How could he have no inkling that she was a complete mess?

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      • avatar

        boredatwork October 10, 2013, 10:12 am

        Wanna know who is at fault here? the person who raped her. Not her, or her husband or her brother. Also she didn’t have sex at a party, she was drunk and unable to consent to sex which means that this was rape. no other way to put it.

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      • avatar

        ktfran October 10, 2013, 10:23 am

        I was just repeating what the LW said about what happened to her sister. I put it the same way she did. I’m making no comment on the sister and what really happened.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest October 10, 2013, 10:40 am

        YES OF COURSE. I’d also expect my husband and family/friends to keep an eye out for me when I’m drunk though. You can separate the two things, I think.

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      • AKchic_

        AKchic_ October 10, 2013, 12:20 pm

        In the letter, to me, the brother seems to think women are simple-minded females who need a strong man to keep them in line, so you’d think the brother would have been there to monitor his sister. If he was at the party, he should have said something before it got out of hand, unless he enjoys being the one to say “I told you so”, which is probably the case.

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    • avatar

      SasLinna October 10, 2013, 10:04 am

      I think it’s a bit of a fallacy to assume that the husband or brother could have prevented the rape by watching out for her. It only takes a few minutes to rape someone.

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      • avatar

        ktfran October 10, 2013, 10:12 am

        That’s fine. Maybe it only lasted a few minutes and they couldn’t prevent it. But the way they are treating her after is just wrong. I’m sorry, but the husband and brother sound like complete ass holes.

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      • avatar

        SasLinna October 10, 2013, 10:16 am

        Totally agree about their reaction after it happened. But I think it’s important to not blame them for the fact that it happened without knowing the circumstances.

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      • avatar

        ktfran October 10, 2013, 10:22 am

        To you and everyone else who thinks I’m blaming the husband and brother. I’M NOT. I simply asked where they were when all this was happening. I think it’s shitty that they are giving her such a hard time when they were at the same party. I didn’t once say they needed to prevent this thing from happening. Do I think they should have been looking out for her is she was obviously drunk, YES! But I did not blame them and you all are reading WAY too much into what I’m writing.

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle October 10, 2013, 10:30 am

        I understand the bit of backlash you’re getting, but I also understand that it’s kind of natural to wonder where the hell Brother & Husband were at this party. Especially in light of their reaction afterwards— it’s like, “Damn, they didn’t have your [the sister’s, obviously] back before OR after?” It’s like double the shittiness. It’s not their ~job~ to watch out for her, or their fault that she was raped, but the fact that they were at the same party adds, like, an extra layer? (For us, who are reacting, I mean)

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      • avatar

        SasLinna October 10, 2013, 10:38 am

        I don’t think I read too much into it. If you say they should have looked out for her more, you are blaming them at least a little. But like I said, I totally agree with you that they should have reacted differently after it happened. I’m with you on that. And I also think the fact that they were at the same party adds a layer to this, like Fabelle said below. Actually I kind of suspect that the fact that they were there may be part of their (wrong) line of thinking that it couldn’t really have been rape. They may think that they would have been able to prevent it if it really had been rape, because they have a certain (wrong) understanding of how rape happens (e.g. brute force, or woman must be totally incapacitated). I’m trying to challenge that view of how rape happens. Part of that is not overplaying the role that other people can play in preventing it.

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      • avatar

        bethany October 10, 2013, 10:52 am

        I’m fully ok with partially blaming them. They should have been looking out for her. If you were babysitting and a kid ran into the street and got hit by a car while you were inside or something, it’s obviously the driver’s fault because they hit the kid, it’s the kid’s fault for running into the street without looking and it’s partially YOUR fault. You should have been paying attention. I fully expect that if I get wasted beyond words at a party that my husband will have my back and take me home. End of Story.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest October 10, 2013, 10:56 am

        I understand your argument, not 100% sure where I stand on it. But imagine she just went to the bathroom and that’s where it happened…

        Sas, what if instead of being raped, she fell off a balcony or down the stairs? Would you say the brother/husband are not to blame for that? Just curious.

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      • avatar

        bethany October 10, 2013, 11:02 am

        Even in that situation, I still think they (mostly the husband), share in the blame. True, a small part, but a part, nonetheless.

        I’ve been drugged before. It’s not like one second you’re totally fine and the next second you have no idea what’s going on. It takes enough time that her husband should have noticed that she wasn’t right, and he should have made her well-being a priority.

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      • avatar

        SasLinna October 10, 2013, 11:06 am

        Yes, I would not blame them for that either, with the same circumstances. I would need further information: Were they sober? Had they seen her tumbling around and falling to the floor etc.? Otherwise – they were drunk themselves, they didn’t have reason to think she was in immediate danger – I couldn’t blame them. I would see it as a tragic accident.

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      • avatar

        SasLinna October 10, 2013, 11:01 am

        I don’t think the analogy works. The level of responsibility of an adult for another adult is not the same than between adult and child. And there are no easily available measures to protect someone from rape that don’t come with huge drawbacks (like constantly having to keep an eye on them, always taking them home when they’re drunk – what’s next, keeping women inside at all times to be totally sure nothing can happen to them?). I think this still goes back to the “rape = easily preventable without any costs” line of thinking that I reject.

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      • avatar

        bethany October 10, 2013, 11:12 am

        I get what you’re saying, but I’m talking about this particular situation. In this situation a husband, wife and brother attended a party together. Both of those men should have noticed that something was not right with this woman and done something about it.
        I don’t get black out drunk much anymore, but you can bet your ass that when I was out with my husband and friends and I was getting shitfaced, they took me home. When I got drugged I was out with a friend and started acting crazy. She didn’t leave my side until we were somewhere safe.

        I’m sure as hell not saying that rape is easily preventable, but the fact is that you owe it to those closest to you to have their backs. I look out for my friends. If a friend is shitfaced or drugged I make sure she is safe. I take her home. I make her sit down and drink water, not more beer.

        Looking out for those you love is common decency.

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      • avatar

        SasLinna October 10, 2013, 11:20 am

        I’m not trying to argue against looking out for those you love at all. Everyone should be all for that.
        What I’m saying is: It’s not always reasonable to demand that other people should have noticed that someone was in danger at a party. Lots of people get drunk at parties, including women. It’s not always a dangerous situation just because of the drinking, and the people who should do the looking out are often drunk themselves. And if it’s a big party not everyone might always be in the same place. You do stuff like getting drinks, going to the bathroom, going to chat with someone in another room… In the end, if there’s a predator who’s trying to take advantage, he’s probably going to find a target.

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      • avatar

        SasLinna October 10, 2013, 11:25 am

        It’s a different story if they noticed she was drugged. I don’t think there was any information in the story that that was the case.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest October 10, 2013, 11:29 am

        Why is it different if they could tell she was drugged v. if they could tell she was drunk?
        You’d have to be blind and deaf, or wasted yourself, to not notice someone you know very well is drunk or drugged.

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      • katie

        katie October 10, 2013, 11:30 am

        Sas, i just want to cosign everything you have said. “having someone’s back” does not equal preventing rapes. it also doesnt prevent murder, robberies, assault- anything, really. and, furthermore,
        adults are not responsible for other adults- we are adults, we get to do things by ourselves and make our own choices, independent of husbands, boyfriends, brothers, and friends. if they had noticed that something was wrong, great. but the logic doesnt then go the other way to say that they had any responsibility in what happened and furthermore they *shouldnt* have any responsibility anyway. i know i personally dont want anyone constantly “watching over” me. thats gross. worse really, if its my husband and brother who constantly do the watching.

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      • avatar

        SasLinna October 10, 2013, 11:34 am

        lbh, they might not have been constantly by her side and not have noticed she was drugged for that reason. I don’t even know enough about this type of drug to know if it would have been completely obvious that she was drugged if other people saw her after she was given the drug. we don’t even know if drink spiking played any role in this, so I don’t think it’s worth speculating about that aspect.

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      • avatar

        bethany October 10, 2013, 11:36 am

        Sas- in the letter it says she was either really drunk or drugged.

        Katie- I agree with you, in that I don’t want anyone constantly watching over me, but I think there’s a difference between constant watching, and looking out for a loved one.

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      • katie

        katie October 10, 2013, 11:39 am

        bethany, you have no idea if the husband and brother, and anyone else at the party, actually, were looking out for her. they very well might have been and it still happened. like i said, “looking out” for people doesnt prevent rapes. there is no amount of “looking out” that will prevent rapes, or any crime, ever. thats just not how life works.

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      • avatar

        SasLinna October 10, 2013, 11:42 am

        bethany, I think that “being really drunk or drugged” was just after the fact speculation, not an account of what the brother or the husband actually saw happening. the sister recalls that she was raped and that she was not in a normal state of mind when it happened, so they concluded it was either lots of alcohol or drugs. that’s how I read it.

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      • CatsMeow

        CatsMeow October 10, 2013, 11:44 am

        I’m with Sas and Katie. Of course it’s nice for the people you’re with to look out for you when you’re drinking. It’s a common thing among friends. But shit happens sometimes. In parties, you can get lost among all the people.

        One time many years ago I was at a party and this guy lured me into the basement – he said someone I was looking for was down there, but it was just him. He tried to kiss me and I told him no. Then I went to the bathroom. He barged into the bathroom while I was in there, blocked the door, and took off his shirt. I screamed and shoved past him and got out, but it could have been worse. No one noticed him go in after me. I wouldn’t have blamed anyone for NOT noticing either, even though I had tons of friends there.

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      • avatar

        SasLinna October 10, 2013, 11:51 am

        The fact that the sister says that was either very drunk or drugged when she was raped does not imply that the husband & brother knew about her condition at the time, too, or that they could have known she was in danger.

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      • Imsostartled

        Imsostartled October 10, 2013, 12:00 pm

        I get what you’re saying @bethany, I really do, but in that line of thinking we could blame the sister for being raped herself. And I hope we all know by now it is never your fault for being raped. Sure she may have taken a different route, gone somewhere at a different time, not drunken too much, not trust her friend as much, but the point is it is still NOT her fault for it happening. All of those things could have been different and she STILL could have gotten raped, maybe someone spiked her drink and waited till she went to the bathroom to pounce. Point being we don’t know. I know that you believe that, but in those same lines we can’t blame the brother/husband for it happening either. Yeah maybe they could have done something different and it wouldn’t have happened, maybe not, but it still isn’t their fault and they can’t be blamed. It’s the rapists fault for raping.

        Sorry I went off a bit, I just got a bit worked up with where that bit of logic could lead.

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      • GatorGirl

        GatorGirl October 10, 2013, 12:12 pm

        Bethany, I’m totally with you.

        @Cats Your story is exactly why I told my sister to always take a buddy to the bathroom. I had a similar thing happen to me in college and never went to the bathroom alone again.

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      • avatar

        bethany October 10, 2013, 12:15 pm

        Again, I get what you’re saying, but in this particular case, I still think a husband should be noticing if his wife is WASTED/DRUGGED and if step in when he sees that.
        He should have noticed her condition and taken her home.

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      • avatar

        SasLinna October 10, 2013, 12:17 pm

        GG, I think your example just shows how absurd the standards are we impose on women to “stay safe”. Now we can’t go to the bathroom alone because someone might barge in?

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      • GatorGirl

        GatorGirl October 10, 2013, 12:39 pm

        Sas, I agree it’s pretty absurd. I don’t want to get into this conversation again (we had a heated one on DW a while back about “preventing” rape and minimizing risk etc) but I will always air on the side of caution in any event, because the only persons actions you can control are your own.

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      • avatar

        SasLinna October 10, 2013, 12:46 pm

        GG, I think it’s totally fine to take that kind of preventive action for yourself if that makes you feel safer. Where I get angry is when people start saying that every woman should take such measures. (I remember the minimizing risk debate, no need to get into it any further.)

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      • katie

        katie October 10, 2013, 12:49 pm

        yes sas.

        saying “would you watch the door while i go the bathroom?” and saying “that girls husband should have watched the door when she went to the bathroom” are two hugely, hugely different things.

        and, in our previous debate, i was on the “whatever measures i want to take to stay safe are fine” and i still believe that- but you cannot then blame others for not taking the same measures you may or may not have taken in the same situation. if you want to do something particular to make yourself feel better, do it, but dont then impose that belief on other people. thats ridiculous

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      • avatar

        BreezyAM October 10, 2013, 9:52 pm

        What’s being lost here is it’s not that she was raped while they were there and therefore it’s their fault… it’s that these assholes have the nerve to not believe her, when they were THERE and did nothing to stop it either (and I agree this is probably a huge part of WHY they are saying they don’t believe her… guilt, plus a helping of “but guys like ME don’t rape; rapists are evil slimy smelly criminals who jump out of bushes!”). It’s the two combined that makes this so offensive. Complaining “oh she was just fucking loaded” which means like, they saw her in that state… and then did nothing… these guys suck. They should be locked in a room and forced to read the yesmeansyes blog until they fucking get it.

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      • avatar

        BreezyAM October 10, 2013, 9:48 pm

        Other people can tho. And this is exactly how. Brother and husband just continued to give this asshole rapist a social license to operate. They have backed him up and assured greater society they don’t believe their own WIFE and SISTER was assaulted by this asshole.

        He now has carte blanche around all sorts of females with THAT kind of approval. Fuck them both. Hard.

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  • katie

    katie October 10, 2013, 9:47 am

    what a shitty situation. im sorry.

    the thing is, with people like your brother- what are you going to do? you *probably* cant change what he thinks. he obviously has some issue with divorce and/or divorce with fidelity weaved in with it, and that kind of belief doesnt just go away. so i say, fuck him. he’s obviously not going to be an advocate or an ally for either of you now, so why even bother wasting your time trying to get him not mad at you/your sister, you know? and i think, if you adopt this attitude, it doesnt mean he “wins” or that he is right or anything, it just means you wont spend anymore of your time worrying about what he thinks.

    although, of course i do wonder WHY he thinks what he does. is a chauvinist male who thinks that a womans duty is to her husband, period end of story? is it a religious thing? is he an anti-gay “traditional marriage” believer? either way, he is shitty. divorces happen, all the time. they have since forever, they wont ever stop, its just a part of life.

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    • Fabelle

      Fabelle October 10, 2013, 9:54 am

      I wonder this, too (your last point). My thoughts also were, are these people very religious? It seems like there’s a fucked up dynamic going on, if both the husband AND the brother are doubting LW’s sister. I know obviously—and devastatingly—victims of rape are often not believed, but to be dismissed by your immediate loved ones? There must be some kind of “women-are-lesser” thing going on (I mean, that’s one theory, anyway).

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest October 10, 2013, 10:44 am

        I assumed the husband thinks she consented/cheated, and is using rape as an excuse. And the brother is on husband’s side. Who knows though.

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  • avatar

    SasLinna October 10, 2013, 9:47 am

    So, the fundamentals of this story are, I think: Your sister and her husband are getting a divorce. That’s done, so however awful the husband may be or not, he’s now out of the picture. Then there is a conflict going on between your sister and your brother in relation to the divorce because of the whole backstory. I agree with Wendy: Do not try to get involved in that conflict. You can be angry at your brother, but don’t try to make it right, because it’s not going to work. If you need to, distance yourself from your brother as you see fit. There’s no obligation on your part to listen to what he has to say about your sister’s divorce. And yes, focus on supporting your sister through what I’m sure is a difficult time.

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  • avatar

    rieux October 10, 2013, 9:49 am

    “They don’t think she necessarily cheated, but they don’t believe she was traumatically raped either.”

    Ahhh, I see, it’s one of those NON-traumatic rapes!

    This brother sounds awful. If only the sister could divorce him as well as her husband. In my experience, “tough love” and “accountability” are usually code for “I’m rationalizing my desire to be a judgmental asshole to you by explaining to you that it’s GOOD for you to be exposed to judgmental assholes once in awhile.”

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    • avatar

      SasLinna October 10, 2013, 9:55 am

      Actually, she can “divorce” the brother. I don’t think there’s an obligation to keep family members in your life if they are being assholes. It’s a tough call to make, but sometimes it can be justified.

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  • Fabelle

    Fabelle October 10, 2013, 9:56 am

    WWS. This is so fucked up, but you need to just continue being there for your sister. If it’s better for you both right now to keep the brother at a distance, then just do that.

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  • avatar

    boredatwork October 10, 2013, 10:10 am

    Lw – I agree with Wendy first priority here is your sister. I know this may surprise you but many rape survivors are not believed by those they are closest to. After I was sexually assaulted I told my then roommates who asked me if i had done anything to “bring it on” or “encourage him”. Nice eh? Nothing like that to make you feel good about reaching out. What sucks even more is that her husband was probably one of not the first person she told and he didn’t believe her. And the sting of your brother makes that even worse.

    Encourage her to stay in counseling even if it gets hard and listen to her she needs someone on her side. I would also educate yourself a little bit about rape and sexual assault. How often does it happen, who are often the victims and perpetrators, learn about date rape drugs etc so if/when your asshole brother or her husband has some comment you can be supportive with concrete facts they cannot dispute. Sometimes it takes another person to say “She was drunk/drugged and was unable to consent. What happened to her was rape according to the law there is no other way to put it.”

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  • GertietheDino

    GertietheDino October 10, 2013, 10:14 am

    Also, encourage your sister to seek counseling or a rape support group – is it too late to file a police report? RAINN is a great resource that can put her in touch with counselors an groups in her area. Also, what is your brother’s deal? Why does he hate the women in his family so much? Best of luck to the both of you – Stay Strong.

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      kerrycontrary October 10, 2013, 10:37 am

      It’s not too late to file a police report, but without physical evidence of the rape (which it is too late for unless she saved all of her clothes, unwashed) there’s not much chance of it be persued. Especially if no one (including her own husband) is backing her up that she was too drunk/drugged to consent. Sadly rape rarely gets prosecuted even with the best evidence, and the chance of a rapist going to jail is even lower. Depending on the state her sexual history (and unusual behavior after the rape) could be examined. She could be grilled about her “morality” and sexual encounters. But yes she should consult with RAINN

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        JackieM October 10, 2013, 11:28 am

        So true, Kerry. Even if she’d had a rape kit done on scene, there’s a large chance it would never end up tested (looking up stats on how many are still untested is insane/obscene).

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    painted_lady October 10, 2013, 10:28 am

    I just…I don’t have any words for how awful this is in all actuality. I mean, even if your sister had cheated, that’s not your brother’s to judge. He has no place in their marriage. But then for her to say she was raped and for not only her husband but her brother not to believe her? It’s beyond gross. It’s shameful.

    Wendy’s right that you should focus your energy on your sister right now. If it were me, I might make that a permanent shift. He’s not a safe person, he’s not a nice person. His mentality is so “bros before hos” that your sister isn’t even an exception. I wouldn’t worry about protecting people from the fact that you don’t want to be around him anymore – you’re not obligated to keep the peace.

    I would say definitely seek counseling, and encourage your sister to do so as well, so this doesn’t eat at you anymore than it already will. It might not go amiss to attend a session or two together. I’m so sorry – it’s beyond awful to discover something this terrible about someone you thought was different at a time like this.

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      kerrycontrary October 10, 2013, 10:41 am

      wpls. I’m just heartbroken that your sister has to go through something so awful. Whatever happened, it sounds like she was way too inebriated to properly consent. I hope someone teaches her husband and your brother that MOST rape is not a violent stranger jumping out from the bushes. A husband can rape a wife. A friend can rape a friend.

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  • meadowphoenix

    meadowphoenix October 10, 2013, 11:07 am

    Well, I know you thought your brother was a stand-up guy, but you now have evidence of two times in which he did not stand-up.

    Which is fine. You now know that you don’t have to trust your brother when it comes to how he views women and men’s places in marriage or rape. You now know that you don’t have to trust his judgment, or advice, or experience here. Try to view this as good info. This is how you learn how and when to lean on people. I’m not saying it’s not angering when people you thought you can trust prove that you can’t. But what’s happened is that you have been shown a more complete picture of your brother, and that can only be a good thing. It’s not good to live with views of people that do not match up to the reality.

    You can still believe that he’s good with kids, or kind to the elderly or anything else good. But you don’t have to trust him here. What you can take comfort in here, is that your sister knows she can trust you.

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    Terrie Bruce October 10, 2013, 11:10 am

    I’m not saying the sister’s story isn’t true, I wasn’t there, but let’s not give someone carte blanche when they say they were raped (remember Brian Banks, the Duke LaCrosse team, etc.) Is it possible that just maybe she wasn’t raped and did cheat and got caught? I still don’t know how someone can cheat or be raped while their husband and brother are in such close proximity. Think about it, would you rape someone when their husband and brother are in I’m assuming the SAME room or at the very least the SAME house? Then again would you CHEAT under the same circumstances? The whole thing seems odd. Then the sister does cheat on her husband because he doesn’t believe her. I understand if she was raped and her husband didn’t believe her that she’d be hurt, want a divorce, etc. but if you were sexually assaulted would you really want to have sex? From what I understand it takes rape victims quite a while to recover to where they want to have sex with their loving, supportive partners. Then after supposedly either being so drunk that she was able to be raped or was slipped something in her drink she feels comfortable going to happy hour? If she was raped, why didn’t she call the police? I know it’s traumatic but by doing nothing she’s in fact allowing him to do it again. My husband would have beat the shit out of someone if I told him that. What about the fact that the husband and the brother reacted the same way? Either they are both complete assholes or there’s a lot more to this story.

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      jlyfsh October 10, 2013, 11:24 am

      Assuming that all victims of sexual assault react the same way to said assault is ridiculous. That’s like saying all two people should grieve the death of a loved one the same. No two people react to any situation the same. And calling the police isn’t as easy as we would like it to be. Especially if the people closest to you don’t believe your story, why would the cops? Blaming her for the potential rapist potentially doing that again is also ridiculous. Even if she brought charges against him, the trial might never happen, he might get off, and then rape again. Would it be her fault then for not being convincing enough?

      And once again, why should her husband have to react in one way? So if he didn’t beat the guy up her story can’t be real?

      I don’t think we can make any judgments at all as to who is to blame or who is in the right or wrong with the information we have. But, assuming that someone is lying because they didn’t do what YOU think is right is also wrong.

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        JackieM October 10, 2013, 11:33 am

        At a maximum, only 8% of rapes are wrongly reported (and believe only something like 56% are ever reported). So, yeah, if someone was 92% likely to be telling the truth, I’d believe them. It’s not like she has any benefit to telling people this (what does she gain? There’s no mention of money or a lawsuit). In fact, she’s being blamed for it herself. Quite frankly, I’m still not sure I believe Duke was a lie (given the emails from the men in question saying they were going to rape and assault n-words?). Yeah, I’m with the victim here, as everyone always should be.

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      • mylaray

        mylaray October 10, 2013, 11:59 am

        Also to add on to that…the 8% statistic of false reports is about the same number of false reports for other violent crimes. And yet rape is the crime that is most likely to be disbelieved.

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle October 10, 2013, 12:07 pm

        Thank you for mentioning this, such an eye-opening point.

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      • honeybeenicki

        honeybeenicki October 10, 2013, 12:20 pm

        And they think that’s a really high estimate. It’s believed it’s probably closer to 3-5% instead of 8%.

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        Nadine October 10, 2013, 12:18 pm

        Amen!

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    • honeybeenicki

      honeybeenicki October 10, 2013, 11:46 am

      Many people fail to report rape for many reasons and a huge reason is embarrassment or something thinking they’re lying. I never, ever, ever assume that someone is lying about rape. Because most of the time, they aren’t. People who perpetuate ideas like “well maybe she wasn’t rape and DID cheat” are the people that make the whole thing worse.

      And not every victim of sexual assault reacts the same way. Some go through terrible torment in which they can’t ever have sex in a satisfying way again. Some go the complete opposite and seek out sex. Some do neither, some fall in the middle, some do something completely different. It is not our place to judge how she reacted to a traumatic experience.

      And I’m gonna be honest here… it makes me sick every time someone insinuates a rape victim is lying. Yes, I know it happens. But very rarely in comparison to those who aren’t lying. And most rapes don’t get reported, which is scary too. Maybe if we quit making people feel like we’re going to assume they’re lying, more will report it.

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      • LadyinPurpleNotRed

        LadyinPurpleNotRed October 10, 2013, 11:50 am

        All of the above and I’d like to add that even if she did go to the police, she has the tramuatization of reliving the experience. Having to tell the story again, having to live with the judgement of people like yourself who don’t believe her. And then if…a HUGE if…she goes to court, being painted as a promiscuous woman who is probably lying to cover up an affair…not worth it. Especially after her husband and brother dismiss her story.

        I didn’t go to the police when I was raped either time. It wasn’t worth all the additional trauma for me. There’s no one way people react. They have to do what’s best for them. Handle it in their own way.

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      • honeybeenicki

        honeybeenicki October 10, 2013, 12:19 pm

        And having to do the rape exam is almost as traumatic as the rape itself. It’s a terrible experience.

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      SasLinna October 10, 2013, 12:00 pm

      “Not saying it wasn’t true” followed by a dozen reasons why she much be lying. Yeah.

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      Liquid Luck October 10, 2013, 12:14 pm

      This comment is just disgusting. People who react this way and say these things are the ones perpetuating rape culture to exist as it does, shifting all the blame onto the victims and absolving the perpetrators. Rape is not a one-size-fits-all kind of thing, and to insinuate that it must follow a particular pattern and be responded to in a very specific way or it doesn’t count is absolutely despicable.

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      • honeybeenicki

        honeybeenicki October 10, 2013, 12:24 pm

        I’m glad you said that. That (your first sentence) was basically what I was trying to get at but in a nice way 🙂

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        Liquid Luck October 10, 2013, 12:34 pm

        Ha, I thought about trying to phrase it in a nice way, but I just can’t. Not with this topic. I know that I’m letting my personal emotions an experiences influence my comments more than I should, but frankly when it comes to people defending a culture that demonizes victims and protects criminals, I just don’t give a fuck about being “polite” anymore.

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        Terrie Bruce October 10, 2013, 3:01 pm

        I had a friend that was on the “other end” which is why I made my comment. He was falsely accused of rape, found innocent and the “victim” admitted she lied. Nevertheless, his reputation was ruined and it cost him every penny he had to defend himself. So what if it’s only 8% of rapes that are “false”? What about the 8% that have to deal with that? I can accuse anyone of anything, it doesn’t make it true. Why would I do that? I wouldn’t but there are people out there that do about rape and many other things. Open up your mind enough to see that maybe my comment had some truth to it.

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        lets_be_honest October 10, 2013, 3:08 pm

        So you have MORE sympathy for 8% than for the remaining 92% who actually WERE RAPED. logical.

        Here’s a similarish story (not really). Many years ago, my brother was accused of stalking by an ex. Went through the court system. Was in the paper. Everyone knew. Him being my brother, I felt horrible for him, especially since she too later admitted she lied and was just upset they broke up. His reputation was shot, but he made up for it. His reputation bettered as time went on. Now, he’s got appx. 8 million friends and everyone under the sun thinks he’s the next coming of Christ. Because people who are falsely accused of something can come out the other end unscathed if they were good people to begin with and continue to be such. And if not, he could’ve relocated and been fine. You know who can’t just relocate or work on the reputation? PEOPLE WHO WERE RAPED.
        But you know what? After all this, and understanding how much it sucks to be blamed for something you didn’t do…I STILL FEEL WORSE FOR PEOPLE WHO WERE RAPED AND DON’T ASSUME ANYONE WHO CLAIMS SOMETHING BAD HAPPENED TO THEM ARE SIMPLY LYING.

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        Terrie Bruce October 10, 2013, 3:20 pm

        What about the financial loss of being accused of something you didn’t do? I’m glad you’re so wealthy that you can get past that. Also stalking isn’t quite the same thinkg as rape, is it? I hope someone never accuses you or anyone else on this board of something that they didn’t do. We’ve heard one side to this story and everyone automatically believes its the whole truth. There’s something wrong that her husband and brother both don’t believe her. Either they’re mega assholes or they know something we don’t. I’m talking about this specific situation and based on the info given think there may be more to it. It doesn’t mean that I think that when someone crys rape they’re lying! But I also have a mind and can use it to evaluate and not just make an emotional attack.

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        lets_be_honest October 10, 2013, 3:22 pm

        Um, my brother wasn’t wealthy. He was like 19. And if your story is true, he could’ve sued for damages and attorneys fees…and won. Easily. Problem solved.

        Also, maybe you skimmed but I said my story was similar-ish and then not really.

        Also, also, you apparently DO think that when someone “cries rape” they are lying. You think this LW might be.

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        lets_be_honest October 10, 2013, 3:22 pm

        Maybe since your non-rapist friend didn’t sue for damages HE’S LYING! I mean, that’s pretty clear evidence, no?

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        lets_be_honest October 10, 2013, 3:25 pm

        …and I’ve been accused of things I’ve never done. I’ve been sued for things I’ve never done. I’ve had a man accuse me of horrible things that weren’t true. And you know what happened? I wasn’t found guilty. Because I wasn’t. So I’m not really concerned about someone accusing me of something I didn’t do.

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        jlyfsh October 10, 2013, 3:25 pm

        But, then the reasons you gave for not believing her in addition the the husband/bf thinking she was lying were all about how YOU don’t think SHE reacted properly. So, really you didn’t have an open mind either. It’s not an emotional attack to believe that most people who claim that they were raped are being truthful. Because, putting yourself through a trial is not something most people want to do. Have you ever been to trail yourself? Because let me tell you it’s absolutely terrifying. I’m not sure if I was raped if I could make myself go back to trial because of how scary it is. And the person who was raped often does have just as much of a stigma attached to their name.

        Just as I hope no one ever accuses you of something you didn’t do, I hope you’re never attacked in any way and never have to go to court or press charges against someone. Because, as not fun as it is to be falsely accused, it’s just as not fun to be a victim that no one believes. And is put under a microscope by people like you for not reacting the ‘right’ way.

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        jlyfsh October 10, 2013, 3:26 pm

        Trial not trail dammit. Trails aren’t terrifying unless you’re on the side of a mountain or there is a bear or something.

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle October 10, 2013, 3:50 pm

        Look, false accusations—the rare times they occur—are terrible. That still doesn’t mean that their existence allows you & whoever else to discredit the victim. Believe the victim. We’re not on a jury right now, & believing the victim should be the default. When the default is to doubt & assume she’s lying, that’s ~not~ you “having a mind”, that’s you perpetuating rape culture.

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        Liquid Luck October 10, 2013, 4:40 pm

        I’ve also had friends on the other side of this, and I do feel for them, especially the one that I was closest to. But the number of women (and men) I know who have been raped vs. the number of men I know who have been falsely accused is staggeringly uneven. I don’t know why you think the 8%** of cases that may be false are worth potentially damaging an already traumatized victim and certainly perpetuating a dangerous culture of victim blaming, but I can only assume it’s because you have no soul and are unable to feel even the tiniest bit of empathy.

        **That statistic does not actually mean 8% of reported cases are made up, it means that 8% have been recanted. I know quite a few people who have taken back their accusation against their rapists not because they had been lying, but because once they started going through the court system they realized it would be so much more traumatizing for them to go to trial and be dragged through the mud for a very slim chance of their rapists getting as much as a slap on the wrist than it would be to just stop and work on getting through it on their own. So I take that percentage with a huge grain of salt and certainly do not equate it with 8% of victims lying about their experiences. Not to mention the huge number of rapes that go unreported, so that statistic is not accurate in any sense.

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      LadyBird October 10, 2013, 12:21 pm

      @ Terri- I completely agree with you. A lot of things don’t add up. I don’t believe we should all jump to the conclusion that a woman is lying about being raped, but we should also remember that people do lie about it, especially when alcohol is involved. And since the brother and husband were there and the LW was not, who knows. Maybe the sister lies a lot, that’s why they were so quick to discredit her. I just don’t know, but something doesn’t add up.

      Also, to be upset your husband doesn’t believe you and thinks you “didn’t completely cheat” (or whatever the LW said), to then go and actually CHEAT, is mind boggling.

      Also, that 8% really only accounts for the rapes that were reported. Since most apparently are never reported, we can’t really know how many times a woman says “I was raped”, to then back track later.

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle October 10, 2013, 12:34 pm

        More people need to believe, not doubt. There is enough doubt. There are enough people (in the world, thankfully not usually on this site, though) that crow about “crying rape”, & none of us need to “remember that people do lie about it” when assessing someone’s account.

        We’re not putting anyone innocent in jail by simply believing this LW’s account of what happened, you know? We are just changing the conversation about rape.

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        lets_be_honest October 10, 2013, 12:36 pm

        Pretty sure all bets are off once my husband tells me I’m lying about being raped. I was trying to give your other comments the benefit of the doubt bc maybe you really do think people can prevent their rapes super easily, but are you for real?! You think this girl actually cheated when she willingly hooked up with someone else AFTER her husband accused her of lying about being raped?!?!?!

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      bostonpupgal October 10, 2013, 1:04 pm

      I wasn’t planning to post about this, but this really horrible comment has talked me into it. I was sexually assualted at a party that I was attending with my (now ex)fiance. We were at a friends house with lots of other people, my ex-fiance wanted to go play pool with some other friends at the opposite end of the house, and he left me in the kitchen with a friend of his. We’ll call this friend Bob. My ex had known Bob for a long time and I’d spent time with him before, and I didn’t think anything of it when he asked me to go down to the basement of the house to see something. The owners of the home were artists and it wasn’t unusual to have cool pieces being worked on down there. I followed him down, he shut the door behind us, and when we got down there he pulled me into a side room and violently assaulted me. I eventually escaped and ran, literally screaming for my life, up the stairs. Bob ran up after me, screaming that I was lying, that everything I had to say was a lie, and he actually followed me as I ran out of the door. If I had reacted differently, or if he had threatened me unless I stayed silent, it is entirely likely I would have been raped and not just assaulted.

      I don’t know the specifics of this rape, but considering most rapes in general are perpetrated by people the victim knows, and the fact that they were at a party, this situation might not be much different than mine. It took years of therapy and working through the trauma to really move on from what happened to me. The fact that I was at a party that my fiance and many of my friends were attending with me does not mean I gave consent to my attacker or it was any less of an assault.

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        SasLinna October 10, 2013, 1:07 pm

        So sorry that something so terrible happened to you.

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        rachel October 10, 2013, 1:10 pm

        I’m sorry that happened to you, and I’m sorry you have to read bullshit like this.

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        bostonpupgal October 10, 2013, 1:25 pm

        Thanks guys. It’s not something that is a part of my daily life anymore, and when it does surface I try to think positively about being a survivor. But the gist of this comment is “if you were raped in a public place where people you knew were in the general vicinity, then it wasn’t rape and you’re covering up your affair”. This much ignorance about rape is just staggering.

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      • Imsostartled

        Imsostartled October 10, 2013, 1:51 pm

        I’m so sorry bostonpup, so so sorry that this happened to you. I am also so grateful you felt able to tell your story, because I think it really shows that this situation could happen. So thank-you!

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        John Rohan October 10, 2013, 7:52 pm

        I’m sorry what happened to you, but what happened at THIS party could have been entirely different. You have 3 people who were there, and 2 of them claim one story, while the other has a different story.

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      • katie

        katie October 10, 2013, 8:11 pm

        incorrect.

        you do not have “3 people there”. if you had, there would have been two witnesses to the rape, and somehow then i think that this letter wouldnt have even been written. you have someone who was raped, and 2 people who *dont believe it happened*. those are vastly different things.

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        Liquid Luck October 11, 2013, 9:48 am

        This is gross too. The husband and brother were not “there” when she was raped, they just happened to maybe be in the same building. I was also raped at a party, but I certainly wouldn’t say that all the people who weren’t physically in the room watching it happen were witnesses who could tell the story accurately. So no, the LW’s brother and BIL do not get any weight added to their claims simply because they also happened to be at the party. This is not a case of two against one, because only the one can say what happened.

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      MsMisery October 10, 2013, 1:08 pm

      Probably none of us here on DW are rapists or sociopaths, so what do you hope to accomplish in asking us how WE would go about conducting a rape? There’s always someone who has to stand up for the dirtbag.

      Maybe if YOU were raped, YOU would act completely and totally different. Considering the statistics on rape and sexual assault in this country, I hope you never have to find out, but if you do, come back and let us all know after filling out that police report and keeping your life in perfect order.

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    • rainbow

      rainbow October 10, 2013, 1:18 pm

      “From what I understand it takes rape victims quite a while to recover to where they want to have sex with their loving, supportive partners.”

      Well, you don’t understand much, obviously. Go get some real info before you get all rape veracity police, because your comment is very ignorant and disgusting (and also not very original http://pervocracy.blogspot.com.ar/2010/10/people-you-meet-when-you-write-about.html – you’re like 3 of these)

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      • rainbow

        rainbow October 10, 2013, 1:22 pm

        I was going to link you to material on hypersexuality following sexual assault, but it applied to your comment in general and I don’t feel comfortable introducing the term linked to LW’s sister having sex with ONE guy who was being more supportive than her POS husband.

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      • Northern Mermaid

        Northern Mermaid October 10, 2013, 1:45 pm

        I’m a rape survivor and very few people believed me, it must have been my fault, and it couldn’t have traumatized me so badly if I kept having more sex. Comments like Terrie’s really hurt because the hypersexual way I reacted to my rape is normal and it took me years and years and years to come to grips with it. I left my husband because he told me “I can’t let you go anywhere because you will LET YOURSELF GET RAPED AGAIN.” He sent me into a full PTSD break and I lost an additional six months of my life (four years after being raped) to hallucinatory flashbacks, nightmares, and crippling fear.

        People who think like Terrie can go fuck themselves. I mean it. Seriously. Go fuck yourself. When a woman says she is raped you BELIEVE her. ESPECIALLY if she doesn’t take it to the criminal justice system. Unfortunately, the asshole who hurt her will go on living a normal life, but she will be faced with a lifetime of trauma and have to work every day for a long time to live a happy life. The default should never be to question. Ever.

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      • rainbow

        rainbow October 10, 2013, 3:47 pm

        “Comments like Terrie’s really hurt because the hypersexual way I reacted to my rape is normal and it took me years and years and years to come to grips with it.”
        Same here. I’m glad you managed to, even if it took a while.

        My BF at the time asked if the rape was better than sex with him because he had friends in common with the dude and he heard he had a really big dick.

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      • rainbow

        rainbow October 10, 2013, 3:48 pm

        not my BF anymore, obviously.

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        lets_be_honest October 10, 2013, 3:56 pm

        WHAT?!?!

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      • rainbow

        rainbow October 10, 2013, 4:02 pm

        Charming man.

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      • Northern Mermaid

        Northern Mermaid October 10, 2013, 5:52 pm

        I’m so sorry, Rainbow. That is awful.

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      BreezyAM October 10, 2013, 9:59 pm

      FTR I was sexually assaulted by my uncle (via marriage to my aunt) while my other uncle was less than two feet away and my aunt (the assaulter’s wife) was in the same room. My aunt was asleep, my non-rapey uncle was sitting awake in the chair. The room was pitch black and they didn’t turn on lights because they didn’t want to wake anyone. They had just wandered in from the bar. They were talking and my rapey uncle was gabbing away the whole time he stuck his hand up my nightgown massaging my legs and eventually “fondling” me if that’s how you want to phrase it. I wanted to throw up scream run away and freak the hell out but I was terrified non-rapey uncle would beat the shit out of RU, and felt totally confused and very 17. I was supposed to be on my way to Colorado in the morning and to make matters even WORSE there were four kids under the age of 10 in the room asleep as well.

      10 years later… I was dragged into a stairwell at 2pm while stone cold sober on the busiest day of the week in the busiest building of my university’s extremely urban downtown campus complete with security cameras and sexually assaulted. Again.

      So fuck yeah I believe some asshole will grab a girl take her in a room and rape her during a party.

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    sophronisba October 10, 2013, 11:23 am

    #1 A frickin RAPISt
    #2 Judgemental, interfering brother
    #3 Weak, untrusting husband
    #4 Loser affair partner who takes advantage of a woman who is hurting
    That’s a lot of bad, all in a row. Many kudos to your sister for working her way back from such pernicious people and experiences. I hope there are civil avenues if not criminal ones against the rapist and hopefully life will turn out to be better without the other three too. Good luck to you both!

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  • courtney89

    Courtney October 10, 2013, 11:47 am

    Wow.
    Wow.
    The brother and husband are both jerks. I would have a hard time having that type of history with my brother and then him treating my sister like this.
    I can’t fathom how a brother, whether older or younger would not have that protective instinct for his sister and want to find the person who RAPED his sis rather then place blame on her. And then finding out his brother in law blames his sister? If that scenario were to occur with my siblings, my brother would want to kick the husbands butt too!

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    LadyBird October 10, 2013, 11:56 am

    Women, seriously quit getting so wasted you can’t take care of yourself, and then being upset that the rest of the world didn’t take care of you or look out for you. You’re not someone elses burden or responsibility, keep yourself in control, don’t hand it over to someone else. Unfortunately there are evil people in the world, do what you can to not become a victim. Sometimes of course it’s unavoidable, but in this situation it wasn’t. I mean, this is why we have things like security systems in our homes etc. We do what we can to not make ourselves vulnerable.

    Or ya know, atleast when you are going to get wasted make sure to inform those around you, “I’m going to get blackout drunk, or close to it, so babysit me, ok?” And make sure they agree and sign a contract or something.

    (The rapist, of course is a whole other issue. But you can’t control other people, so control yourself.)

    Also it’s a pretty one sided story. We don’t really know what happened. We can take the sister at her word (unfortunately, people do lie about this sort of thing though, to get out of cheating or losing control & regretting what they did) and then of course the LW’s brother and bro-in-law are more than cruel. But they are not the issue, just focus on your sister.

    But if the series of events happened differently than what the sister is saying, and since the brother and husband were there and the LW was not, then really who knows what to say. I’d be surprised if a husband and someone’s brother didn’t take it seriously when their wife/sister said she was raped. Maybe this sister is always having some sort of crisis. Who knows. I say we need someone other than the LW’s side to this. The husband’s, brother’s, and especially the sister’s.

    Either way, focus on your sister. Whatever happened, she needs your help and support. Your bro is really a non-issue, since you weren’t even really close to him anyway.

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    • katie

      katie October 10, 2013, 12:10 pm

      there is nothing in the letter that suggests the LW’s sister is mad at the husband or the brother or anyone for not getting “take(n) care of you or look out for you”

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      Liquid Luck October 10, 2013, 12:21 pm

      “Sometimes of course it’s unavoidable, but in this situation it wasn’t.”

      There is no evidence at all that the LW’s sister’s rape wouldn’t have occurred had she been sober. It’s quite possible it would have. People who are sober get raped all the time. You are making assumptions based solely on your perception of how rape “should” work, and not based on any actual information from the letter, because only the rapist knows whether or not that was a factor, so certainly this LW would not. It is also mentioned in the letter that she may have been drugged, yet you are purposely ignoring that fact because it wouldn’t fit into your rant about women needing to take more responsibility for not getting raped.

      But really, good for you for “empowering” women to prevent criminal acts committed against them.

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        LadyBird October 10, 2013, 12:26 pm

        First- The LW doesn’t even know if she was drugged or drunk, so I’m guessing neither does the sister. So if your drinking to the point that it looks the same as if you got drugged, and what’s more you don’t even KNOW which, that’s still stupid on your part and it could have been avoided. Your husband and bro couldn’t so easily discredit you, when you weren’t also getting so plastered.

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        LadyBird October 10, 2013, 12:29 pm

        Also it doesn’t make a lot of sense that the brother AND the husband both so quickly discredited her. Maybe she lies a lot, and there’s always some sort of crisis with her. We just don’t know the whole story. Also, to be upset that your husband doesn’t believe you and isn’t sure if you cheated, to then go and actually cheat on him? Especially after you were raped? Somethings wrong here.

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        Nadine October 10, 2013, 12:31 pm

        *Someone’s traumatised here
        Fixed that for you.

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      • Imsostartled

        Imsostartled October 10, 2013, 12:36 pm

        @Nadine You’re awesome! 🙂

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        Nadine October 10, 2013, 12:46 pm

        🙂

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        jlyfsh October 10, 2013, 12:35 pm

        Oh my god asssuming that someone is lying because they react differently to a situation then YOU would is at best ignorant. I don’t know if she was raped, I don’t know if she cheated. This letter doesn’t give us enough information. But, assuming that because her actions don’t align with what you think ‘victims’ actions should be she’s lying is just ridiculous. I just can’t even. I’m so baffled that people actually think this way. I’m sorry you’re not a victim you didn’t react how I would have. Obviously nothing bad happened to you! I mean seriously, let’s see you go through a trauma and then gauge your reactions. If they don’t line up with how people say you should react, then obviously you’re trauma wasn’t traumatic enough or you’re just lying.

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        John Rohan October 10, 2013, 7:55 pm

        So you are calling others “ignorant” because they believe there’s a possibility that she is lying, but if not, then that means the brother and her husband must be lying, right?

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        jlyfsh October 10, 2013, 8:04 pm

        John it’s great that you’re trying to pick apart my comment, but no I don’t think that the brother/husband have to be lying. I think it’s ignorant to assume that either side is lying because they behave differently than we expect. My response was directed at a very specific comment that had nothing to do with the brother or husband.

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        lets_be_honest October 10, 2013, 12:44 pm

        Since we’re on the Maybe Train, couldn’t you also say MAYBE the husband is a rapist himself. MAYBE he cheats and is using this as a deflection. MAYBE he’s big bird too. What’s the point of all the maybes. No maybes will back up your story to make it real.

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        Liquid Luck October 10, 2013, 4:51 pm

        I’m not sure why I’m bothering to respond to this as you are clearly immune to reason, but this statement: ” So if your drinking to the point that it looks the same as if you got drugged, and what’s more you don’t even KNOW which…” is ridiculous. The point is that if she was drugged, she wouldn’t have been incapacitated because of her own choices (and therefore would have no responsibility to take), and that unless you’re getting drugged fairly often, most people WOULDN’T realize they’d been drugged versus just having one cocktail too many until it was way too late.

        And as for this gem: “Your husband and bro couldn’t so easily discredit you, when you weren’t also getting so plastered,” well I’m just so glad that in your perfect little world men are never ever ever skeptical of woman and are always willing to believe that someone of their superior gender could possible do something as horrible as raping their wife/sister, but for the rest of us who live in the real world, this shit happens ALL THE TIME. Rape victims are constantly discredited by their family, friends, peers, the media, even strangers. When was the last time you heard a story about a woman being raped and someone DIDN’T try to discredit her? Probably never, because if someone else wasn’t jumping in to do it, you sure as shit would. So yeah, people like you discrediting this random stranger you don’t even know are exactly the problem, because the more people who do it, the more acceptable it is, and the more likely it becomes. How can you not see that pattern?

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      Heather October 10, 2013, 12:26 pm

      Are you kidding me? “Women, seriously quit getting so wasted you can’t take care of yourself, and then being upset that the rest of the world didn’t take care of you or look out for you. You’re not someone elses burden or responsibility, keep yourself in control, don’t hand it over to someone else.” It’s not about being someone else’s burden, its about the person not raping her. You may not be able to control other people but you shouldn’t have to be worried that getting drunk means getting raped.

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        LadyBird October 10, 2013, 12:31 pm

        Unfortunately though, whenever you purposely make yourself vulnerable, you run the risk of someone taking advantage of that.

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        Nadine October 10, 2013, 12:35 pm

        The problem though, is that women are vulnerable to rape by existing. Women can get raped inside their houses, stone cold sober walking down the street in broad daylight, by their husbands, in any situation. Your comments are not helpful because they put blame on an already vulnerable person to whom the worst really has happened. No one goes around asking to be raped, therefore no one is ‘purposely making themselves vulnerable.’ As women, we just are.

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        LadyBird October 10, 2013, 12:41 pm

        I made it perfectly clear that sometimes being raped cannot be avoided.

        In this instance I don’t believe that. I’m not blaming her for being raped. Everyone here is jumping to that conclusion. I said you cannot control other people, other people like rapists.

        I am blaming her for not taking better care of herself and making her self vulnerable on purpose. That’s it. It’s the rapists fault for raping.

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        Nadine October 10, 2013, 12:44 pm

        I understand you think there is a difference, but there simply isn’t. She did not make herself vulnerable to rape. she did not stand in front of the mirror before that party, and weigh up her options, one of which being raped, the other getting drunk. She partied. She was raped. The two are not connected. The rapist raped her at a party. He might have raped her on the street, or in a box or with a fox. Its ALL on him. She just existed.

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        LadyBird October 10, 2013, 12:55 pm

        She made herself vulnerable, period. Insert whatever crime against her that you want to. All I’m saying is do what you can to protect yourself. Don’t expect the world to be nice to you. Don’t make it easy for bad things to happen to you.

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        Nadine October 10, 2013, 1:02 pm

        She went to a party with her husband and brother. Pretty sure she didnt think her chances of getting raped were high that night.

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        lets_be_honest October 10, 2013, 1:16 pm

        Right? Even if she went alone, most people go to parties at their friend’s places. No one assumes they are going to get raped at a friend’s house!

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      • GatorGirl

        GatorGirl October 10, 2013, 12:50 pm

        Women make themselves vulnerable by existing. WTF is wrong with you?

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      • Lindsay

        Lindsay October 10, 2013, 7:16 pm

        “Purposely” making yourself vulnerable? I don’t think anyone decides that they want to be vulnerable.

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    • iwannatalktosampson

      iwannatalktosampson October 10, 2013, 12:26 pm

      Are you a real person? Karma’s a bitch, let me know when it comes your way, we can make a national holiday of it.

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      • avatar

        LadyBird October 10, 2013, 12:38 pm

        I don’t drink, so I wouldn’t ever be in this exact situation. I’d either be, unfortunately completely conscious through the whole thing, or if I got drugged I would atleast know I was drugged. Apparently the sister doesn’t even know if she was, because the LW doesn’t know either.

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        lets_be_honest October 10, 2013, 12:46 pm

        Oh good you never drink. That way you’ll never get raped. And luckily when you get drugged, you see them dropping the pill in your drink and then have plenty of time to get yourself home safely before the drug sets in.

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        LadyBird October 10, 2013, 12:51 pm

        Actually I said “I’d either be, unfortunately completely conscious through the whole thing, or if I got drugged I would atleast know I was drugged.”

        I’m pretty sure if suddenly I started feeling drugged out of the blue, I would notice something is wrong. I think going from completely sober to completely stoned/unconscious would be noticeable.

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        lets_be_honest October 10, 2013, 12:58 pm

        If you are drugged, you may very well have NO IDEA you are drugged while you are drugged. You might realize it after once your are stable again. So if you’re drugged, and get raped, its your fault because you should’ve noticed you got drugged?

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        MsMisery October 10, 2013, 1:12 pm

        I think she’s drugged right now. It’s the only excuse for this head-in-the-clouds attitude.

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        painted_lady October 10, 2013, 12:58 pm

        What the actual fuck. Do you actually think that your moral high ground and sanctimonious attitude make you immune? Is that what this is about? Your desperate need to convince yourself that it couldn’t happen to you? Because it could. Unless you are a robot and don’t consume liquids, ever, you can still be drugged. Unless you never leave the house, you can still be attacked. Unless you aren’t married and never see men, someone you know and trust can still decided that his desire for your body is more important than your desire not to be raped. And you know what? Even if none of that could possibly happen, and yay you, you’re immune to being raped, how about some motherfucking compassion in the form of putting yourself in someone else’s shoes and realizing that turning it around on someone and suggest that their getting drunk led to their rape is both wrong (drunkenness=not rape. rape=rape) but also absolutely traumatic to read? Really. I can’t even.

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        lets_be_honest October 10, 2013, 12:59 pm

        PL, I’m sure she wears pants all the time too. She’s safe, thank god.

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        Liquid Luck October 10, 2013, 5:01 pm

        Then I probably shouldn’t tell her about the time I was raped while wearing pants, as that would probably make her delicate little head explode. But I’m sure she’ll find another reason it was my fault. I mean, I was in someone else’s house, and people only leave their own homes if they’re willing to be raped, right? Although, even staying home didn’t work for my roommate, since rapists are sometimes nice enough to come to you! They’re so thoughtful that way. But, I mean, she WAS wearing shorts, so she was just asking for it.

        LadyBird, do you not see how crazy this is? There is literally nothing you can do to prevent yourself from being raped. You could get blackout drunk in some shady guys dorm room and be raped, or you could be sitting at home on your couch with your doors locked and STILL BE RAPED! The only thing that can prevent you from being raped is to not encounter a rapist, and that, my dear, is simply the luck of the draw, since they don’t tend to wear signs around their necks.

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      • LadyinPurpleNotRed

        LadyinPurpleNotRed October 10, 2013, 6:27 pm

        Agreed…sorry I was at work, sober, wearing pants and a baggy shirt (a.k.a nothing slutty or made people look at me appreciatively) and got rape. Whoops.

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        Liquid Luck October 10, 2013, 7:27 pm

        Exactly. My rape wasn’t “legitimate” because it was by a stranger and I was sober, it was legitimate because someone had sex with me without my consent. Period. No other details can change that fact, and that’s the only one that matters.

        It makes me so sad and so angry that anyone ever has to feel like they need to “justify” what happened to them (ex, saying they weren’t wearing something revealing) before their claim is taken seriously.

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      • Imsostartled

        Imsostartled October 10, 2013, 12:39 pm

        Right! I find it so hard to believe people like this actually exist. I feel like “LadyBird” must actually be someone who rapes people at house parties when their drunk and justifies it by saying they were asking for it.

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      • Imsostartled

        Imsostartled October 10, 2013, 12:40 pm

        ugh *they’re drunk. My grammar suffers when I am angry.

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      Nadine October 10, 2013, 12:29 pm

      You sort of disgust me with this comment. Mostly this : I’d be surprised if a husband and someone’s brother didn’t take it seriously when their wife/sister said she was raped.

      Oh, because in your sphere of understanding, this would never play out this way? Well, by all means, judge other peoples situations by your own standards! Thats the most helpful way to help someone who has had an experience that you have not, right?
      You don’t believe her because two other people don’t believe her? I hope you never get called for jury duty.

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      • Imsostartled

        Imsostartled October 10, 2013, 12:52 pm

        Sort of disgust? I say she definitely disgusts me. This type of judgement of a victim is what so often causes people to think suicide is an answer. If someone says “Well I’m sorry you were raped, but you really should have done x,y,x” how is the victim not being blamed? and then the victim may have doubts about whether it could have been prevented or not. Also, this type of judgement is why people end up not reporting their rape and why so many rapists are out there and continue raping. Most men do NOT rape, serial rapists rape most women.

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        Nadine October 10, 2013, 1:00 pm

        Yeah, when I wrote that it was just the one comment so I thought maybe she had phrased herself badly…. then by reading the other comments and seeing her justify it, I’m definitely fully disgusted.

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    • Imsostartled

      Imsostartled October 10, 2013, 12:32 pm

      I can’t even…. your comment reeks so much of victim blaming. “Women, seriously quit getting so wasted you can’t take care of yourself, and then being upset that the rest of the world didn’t take care of you or look out for you. ” The sister didn’t necessarily get wasted (she may have been drugged) and regardless of what happened she is not to blame for being raped. Are we going to blast people for dressing a certain way now? Like “oh she was dressed too sexy, she was really asking for it!” Ummm NO! Also, like Katie said there is nothing in the letter about the not getting taken care of or looked out for.

      Also, come on “unfortunately, people do lie about this sort of thing though, to get out of cheating or losing control & regretting what they did”. Why do people have to go this route. Someone above discussed unlikelihood of her lying about her rape and it seems like every time someone brings up rape, people are like “she may have been lying”. Do you think that way about other crimes? Like when someone says they’ve been mugged? or that they were in a hit and run accident? Well THEY could have been lying, but you choose to believe them.

      Finally, even if she was too wasted and actually “consented” to the sex. Guess what? That was STILL rape. She was too drunk to consent.

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        LadyBird October 10, 2013, 12:49 pm

        Ok seriously people? You all are so quick to shout “victim blamer!”

        All I’m blaming her for is not taking better care of herself and purposely making herself vulnerable. She doesn’t know whether she was drunk or drugged (because the LW doesn’t know either), and I’m saying that’s a problem. Don’t get so drunk that you can’t tell.

        It’s the rapists fault for raping. Period.

        But you all are so quick to throw her whole family under the bus, except the LW, and not stop to think why they so easily discredit her over something SO serious. you all act like you know the whole story and that I’m blaming a rape victim. You all don’t know any more than I do.

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        Nadine October 10, 2013, 12:51 pm

        That’s why we are giving her the benefit of the doubt, and believing her story…..

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        lets_be_honest October 10, 2013, 12:52 pm

        But you said it might not have happened if she were sober! That IS blaming her.

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        SasLinna October 10, 2013, 12:53 pm

        If you are blaming her for making herself vulnerable to rape, then you are blaming her for getting raped. That’s victim blaming.

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        SasLinna October 10, 2013, 1:19 pm

        Also, people who victim blame never outright say so. They always start with “not victim blaming but….” and then say a bunch of victim blamey stuff. And they know it, which is why they feel the need to make a disclaimer like that in the first place.

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        Liquid Luck October 10, 2013, 2:39 pm

        Seriously, do people who say this shit actually think that saying, “I’m not blaming the victim, but maybe she shouldn’t have been drinking,” not realize that it’s exactly the same thing as saying “I’m not racist, but black people are lazy?” You’re an idiot if you don’t see that second statement as racist (despite the magic “disclaimer”), so how is it not victim-blame-y to say the first? Oh wait, it TOTALLY IS.

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson October 10, 2013, 2:42 pm

        Oh oh fun game. I don’t hate gay people, I just don’t think they should be allowed to get married.

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      • Imsostartled

        Imsostartled October 10, 2013, 2:48 pm

        I don’t think women are less then men, but I think their place is pregnant and barefoot in the kitchen.

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        TECH October 10, 2013, 12:54 pm

        You know what? Most people I know have had too much to drink at one point in their life. Everyone is capable of getting a little too tipsy. Something like this could happen to me, my friends, my sister, my mom — any one. Someone could drop something in my drink without me knowing it. I’m not okay with blaming her for “purposely making herself vulnerable.” The only thing that I am okay with is having compassion and empathy for a person who clearly was in a tough situation.

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      • katie

        katie October 10, 2013, 12:56 pm

        i dunno about you, but if someone blamed me for some crime happening to me, i would be pretty quick to throw them under the bus, because thats shitty behavior.

        and why do they discredit her so easily, you wonder? hmmm, well case in point: exactly everything you have said. these thoughts and beliefs are so ingrained in us as a society, even worse if you are a man, and so thats why. its because of people like you.

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      • Imsostartled

        Imsostartled October 10, 2013, 12:57 pm

        Well thanks LadyBird for “clearing” that up. I get that you are saying the rapist is at fault for raping. What WE are saying is that you are blaming the victim for causing her rape to happen by saying “I’m blaming her for not taking better care of herself and purposely making herself vulnerable.” I hope you don’t say that type of thing to people who have actually undergone assault, I really hope because you will cause the victim to have a shame spiral.

        Also, “you all are so quick to throw her whole family under the bus”. Since you responded to my comment I’ll assume you meant me too. Not true, I said above that they are not to blame for the rape for not/being unable to protect her. I do however blame them for their reactions to her rape, the same way I blame you for your insensitive comments.

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      • avatar

        painted_lady October 10, 2013, 1:03 pm

        Well, when there is victim-blaming happening, then yes, we cry victim blaming pretty quickly. Go us.

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        rachel October 10, 2013, 1:05 pm

        Yeah, crazy how that happens.

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        lets_be_honest October 10, 2013, 12:52 pm

        I completely disagree with everything ladybird has said, just to start.
        Your comment- “every time someone brings up rape, people are like “she may have been lying”. Do you think that way about other crimes? Like when someone says they’ve been mugged?”
        Just wondering outloud here, but do you think that’s because one COULD use rape as a coverup for cheating (really though, I can’t believe anyone would) but you wouldn’t need to use a mugging to cover anything up because what’s there to cover up (I guess unless you stole your husband’s cash or something)? I just don’t understand why someone would jump to the conclusion right away that someone is lying about rape. I mean, we all know the world is scary and there are rapists.

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      • Imsostartled

        Imsostartled October 10, 2013, 1:06 pm

        @lbh yeah I was thinking you could use a mugging to cover up that you either lost, stole, gave away something. I’ve seen that happen before (when my dad was drinking he said that someone mugged him and took my mom’s jewelry when he actually pawned it – I know that doesn’t make sense, addicts don’t always make sense).

        I’m sure people have used rape as a cover-up (I mean everything has had to have happened at some point right?), I don’t think it happens often and I don’t think that it’s an excuse for people to from then on think “Oh well I know this happened so they might be lying!” What I was trying to say is we need to give rape victims the benefit of the doubt, just like we give people who are victims of other crimes the benefit of the doubt.

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      • katie

        katie October 10, 2013, 1:09 pm

        yea, i think the general point is that people using a crime to cover something else up is the exception, not the rule. of course it happens, people do weird shit all the time, but for the most part, crimes that happen to people actually, you know, happened.

        buttt for some reason, in rapes, a coverup/not rape is the rule, and a “real” rape is an exception.

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        lets_be_honest October 10, 2013, 1:12 pm

        Right, its so weird to me that people assume the exception when it comes to rape. In almost every other scenario, people assume the rule. I guess I’m just trying to understand WHY people would assume the exception here.

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        SasLinna October 10, 2013, 1:23 pm

        Internalized misogyny. They’re not necessarily aware of it.

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        lets_be_honest October 10, 2013, 1:25 pm

        Like their fellow man would never do such a thing? Are these people kept hidden from the news their entire lives?

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      • Northern Mermaid

        Northern Mermaid October 10, 2013, 1:49 pm

        LadyBird and her attitude can go straight to hell. Straight. to. hell. You are all WAY nicer than I am. People who say things like this are wrong. Just fucking wrong.

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        lets_be_honest October 10, 2013, 1:56 pm

        NM, didn’t mean to sound like I was sympathizing with her or anything like that. I was just trying to understand who anyone could think that way. Sorry if it came across wrong.

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        SasLinna October 10, 2013, 2:03 pm

        I hope you didn’t think I was somehow condoning ladybird’s behavior. I don’t think ignorance excuses anything.

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      • Imsostartled

        Imsostartled October 10, 2013, 2:05 pm

        She is fucking wrong NM, she is. I’m not one to hold grudges, let alone grudges on a website, but if I ever see her name again on a thread I’m not sure I can ever see anything but red and will always think about this “debate”. I say “debate” because this REALLY SHOULDN’T BE A FUCKING DEBATE!

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      • Northern Mermaid

        Northern Mermaid October 10, 2013, 2:15 pm

        Sorry LBH and Sas, I just hit reply to y’alls because you were at the end of thread.

        And normally, I do the same thing. Try to dissect someone’s point of view so I can at least understand it or try to explain/educate, but not with this attitude. This whole pervasive victim blaming nastiness and the people that espouse that view can just go fuck themselves. I have literally nothing constructive to add or teach because it makes me so boiling mad.

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  • mylaray

    mylaray October 10, 2013, 11:56 am

    Not only does your sister not feel validated, but you don’t either when your brother is treating you like a child, where he assumes you are encouraging your sister. You have every right to take a step back in the relationship. Support your sister, but you don’t have to get further involved with your brother if you don’t want to. I think too often, we get too tied to the idea that we have to be super close with family. Have the relationship you want with your brother.

    I have a friend who just went through something very similar. Her boyfriend got really angry, not necessarily at her, but in general. He doesn’t think she cheated, but he also has such a hard time wrapping his head around it (and he’s not exactly the most knowledgable about rape). They’re not really together right now. He sees it as his woman having sex with another man and feels threatened by that notion. He doesn’t see it as “real” rape because it doesn’t fit his idea of what rape is. I don’t think he’s inherently a bad person or anything, but he comes across as being really shitty right now. I don’t know if this is similar to how your brother or your sisters husband feels, but I think you could try to educate them about rape and what real rape looks like. But I’m not saying you have to. If you don’t want that relationship with them right now, that’s fine too. Right now, focus on your sister and supporting her through this time.

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  • bittergaymark

    Bittergarmark October 10, 2013, 12:14 pm

    Eh, this letter is so FAKE — it had more plotholes than a broken collander.

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    • avatar

      Liquid Luck October 10, 2013, 12:22 pm

      Right, because men never accuse women of lying about things like rape. Chauvinism is totally dead, just like racism and homophobia. Gosh, what a wonderful world we live in!

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        SasLinna October 10, 2013, 12:25 pm

        I also thought it COULD be fake. Not because of the content, but the way it was written.

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    • avatar

      SasLinna October 10, 2013, 12:24 pm

      Maybe someone’s attempt to come up with a juicy letter?

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle October 10, 2013, 12:41 pm

        Aw, I would hope if anyone did that, they’d pick a less tragic topic?

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      • avatar

        SasLinna October 10, 2013, 12:48 pm

        I’d hope so too…

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  • avatar

    Liquid Luck October 10, 2013, 12:28 pm

    I’m so sorry that your sister is going through this right now. It’s very difficult to go through something so traumatic, and then to try to do so with no support from your on husband and family members must be soul-crushing. You are doing the right thing by supporting your sister, and simply being there and assuring her that you completely believe her story and are there for her is doing more good than you think. I agree with Wendy and other posters who suggest that she (and you) get some counseling.

    I also think that both of you need to cut communication with your brother, at least for the time being. He has an unhealthy view of marriage and a disturbing opinion of women. The two of you will be much better off without his judgment of how you failed at marriage (which is wholly untrue, as leaving a bad marriage is much more a victory than a failure) getting in the way of your therapy and healing processes.

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  • avatar

    rachel October 10, 2013, 12:33 pm

    I can’t even form a response to some of the comments on here. I’ll just summarize – rape is not the victim’s fault. I repeat – rape is not the victim’s fault. It doesn’t matter if she drank too much or took a drink from the wrong person or went to the bathroom alone (??). It’s also not the husband’s/brother’s fault. They were at a party. You would have to assume among friends. When I go to a party with my fiance, we are not glued to each other’s side, we mingle, and have conversations with different people, often in different parts of the house. Trying to place blame and look for the “more” in the story does nothing but discount the honesty of the victim. We have no reason to believe the LW’s sister is lying. And the only person who is to blame for a rape is the rapist.

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    • CatsMeow

      CatsMeow October 10, 2013, 12:46 pm

      WRS!!

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    • avatar

      jlyfsh October 10, 2013, 1:10 pm

      Yeah I kind of hope the LW just stops at Wendy’s advice. Some of the comments are so insensitive it makes my blood boil.

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      • avatar

        rachel October 10, 2013, 1:12 pm

        Yes! Me too. And I’m lucky enough to NOT be one of the 1 in 5 women who have been sexually assaulted. The lack of empathy is just astounding to me.

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      • GatorGirl

        GatorGirl October 10, 2013, 1:21 pm

        Luckily the sister, not the victim, wrote the letter. I would hate for the victim to read some of this.

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    • avatar

      painted_lady October 10, 2013, 1:27 pm

      Yep. As much as I hate the husband and brother in this equation, and I really want to blame them for more of this than I already do, they didn’t rape her. If this was a situation a friend found herself in, that a girlfriend had been raped at a party where the friend was nearby, it would horrify me that people might ask, “Where were you? Why weren’t you looking out for her?” It still isn’t the fault of anyone but the rapist. Also, any suggestion that leaving a female unsupervised in any way brings on rape is…a little creepy.

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      • avatar

        SasLinna October 10, 2013, 1:34 pm

        Yes. Exactly what I was trying to argue above, in about 1 million comments. You said that so succinctly.

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  • katie

    katie October 10, 2013, 1:04 pm

    ah, nothing like a rape letter to bring out the rape culture in all of us. such a nice morning read….

    Reply Link
    • Imsostartled

      Imsostartled October 10, 2013, 1:11 pm

      I know right. I mean the letter wasn’t even really about whether the rape happened or not, it was about how the LW can handle her brother after he’s been acting so poorly. I mean even if it was a more cut and dry divorce I’d be mad at him for not supporting his sister. Ugh, I’m not being very productive this morning.

      Reply Link
      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson October 10, 2013, 1:51 pm

        Somehow ANYTIME rape is brought up it becomes about whether the victim is lying. Every.Fucking.Time. My mom taught me better, but I seriously wish very terrible things upon people that question a rape victim’s honesty THE SECOND they hear the word rape. Don’t even wait for details. Just assume she’s lying to cover something up. I can’t even today. Not on my watch. I have no idea why I am not allowed to exonerate people from this world. I belong in the wild wild west. I would kill all rape shamers. After raping them with a broom. Because two wrongs sometimes makes a right. Oh and then I would tell them they were just drunk. And lets be honest, looking kind of skanky.

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      • Imsostartled

        Imsostartled October 10, 2013, 2:52 pm

        You know normally I’m against things like the death penalty and killing people willy nilly, but I think you might be on to something. 😛

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson October 10, 2013, 3:13 pm

        Ha that’s funny, after I posted that I was kinda like, woah IWTTS, maybe too far. Some thoughts are better kept in my head.

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  • GatorGirl

    GatorGirl October 10, 2013, 1:07 pm

    LW, I’m sorry your sister is going through this terrible situation. I completely agree with Wendy (and the other sane posters) and the best you can do is to continue to be the loving, supportive, awesome sister you are and help her during her recovery. Your brother sounds like a real asshat, I would just close that door for a while.

    Reply Link
  • AKchic_

    AKchic_ October 10, 2013, 12:17 pm

    Your brother is a victim-blaming asshat, and honestly, so is the husband to a certain extent.

    Your sister needs the counseling she’s receiving and she needs support. If the husband can’t understand that she was raped at a party, then maybe she is better off divorced. If your brother can’t stop being a douchewad, maybe communications need to be limited/ceased.

    Support your sister as much as you can, and encourage her to drop the toxic people in her life, even if they are family. Yes, her cheating after the rape was wrong, but it is actually something that happens somewhat frequently after a rape as a coping mechanism, especially when the victim’s own support network doesn’t believe them!
    Your brother treats the two of you like children, or worse, like simple-minded females who needs a strong male to keep them in line. Do you really want that? No. Were this me (and I’ve been there), I’d cut this mysogynistic prick out of my life and tell him where to stick his antiquated beliefs.

    I do hope your sister gets all of the help, love and support that she needs. I hope that you find some peace after your divorce and the way your brother has treated the both of you. I truly hope that your sister’s marriage either works itself out or that she is better off after a divorce (whichever ends up happening and is actually better for her emotionally). Maybe the two of you will become closer as friends because of all of this, regardless of what happens in her marriage.
    Good luck to the both of you.

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  • avatar

    MsMisery October 10, 2013, 1:18 pm

    This is the second rape related post I’ve read today (any other Dear Prudence fans out there)? That one was horrible too, made even worse by the comments.

    Rape apologists, disbelieving & blaming the victim, and the natural tendency for society to side with the alleged rapist = being re-raped.

    Reply Link
    • the_optimist

      the_optimist October 10, 2013, 1:37 pm

      I was just going to reference the Dear Prudence post from today. That letter plus some of these comments is enough to make me want to give up on the internet and just live a Luddite’s life.

      But seriously. Do. NOT. Ever. Blame. The. Victim. Just the fact that I (and many other people on here) had to type that makes me so, so sad.

      Reply Link
  • avatar

    SasLinna October 10, 2013, 2:09 pm

    This is just my personal opinion, and it might come across as too “censoring” to some, but I think if a letter includes something about rape, then comments should be moderated more strictly. Like, I would like for Wendy to try to stop any victim blaming comments from appearing on the site, and maybe to include a warning at the beginning of the comments sections that they are considered unacceptable (sorry if you were already weeding out many comments, Wendy!). I just think that putting rape victims through seeing comments like ladybird’s is not worth it.

    Reply Link
    • Imsostartled

      Imsostartled October 10, 2013, 2:22 pm

      I agree with you to an extent. I think a trigger warning at the top of a letter like this might be warranted. However, I’m not sure if Wendy sitting down monitoring “controversial” threads is possible. She’s a one person team and doesn’t have a staff to sort through everything, perhaps there could be a report comment button? It wouldn’t be like the down thumbs because we wouldn’t be able to see it, but it could alert Wendy to the particular offensive comment.

      Honestly, this is the most well-behaved thread on rape I’ve ever seen. I still think it’s disgusting, don’t get me wrong, but at sites like Dear Prudence etc there are like 100+ people who think like Ladybird.

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      • avatar

        SasLinna October 10, 2013, 2:30 pm

        You’re right, monitoring every comment might not work in practice. I just thought I’d bring this up because I know different sites have different moderating policies, and personally I enjoy those sites the most who have pretty strict policies. (Of course we don’t know how many comments Wendy is already keeping from ever appearing!). I think this site generally has a high comment quality and everyone’s done a great job taking down the victim blamers , but there’s a risk on any site that the quality of the discussion is determined by the worst commenters.

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest October 10, 2013, 2:32 pm

      Hmm, don’t you think some people might learn something from the back and forth commentary though?

      Reply Link
      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson October 10, 2013, 2:39 pm

        No. People like that are beyond help.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest October 10, 2013, 2:50 pm

        I don’t mean people like crazypants above, but people like me. I learned a lot about victim blaming on here that I otherwise would not have considered victim blaming in the past.

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      • GatorGirl

        GatorGirl October 10, 2013, 2:55 pm

        Yes, me too!

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      • avatar

        SasLinna October 10, 2013, 2:39 pm

        Some might, and I like that you’re optimistic about that. But I think it’s not worth it all things considered. I think the pain caused to rape victims is bigger than the learning effect. I’ve had this discussion many times and I feel more and more comfortable just trying to censor those who are still blaming the victims. The less their opinions are heard, the less other potential or actual victim blamers feel justified in their opinions, or in uttering them. And the less rape victims get to hear those opinions.

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      • Imsostartled

        Imsostartled October 10, 2013, 2:44 pm

        I think the only “learning” that might be done on these type of threads is to teach us hot to effectively shut down victim blamers more effectively.

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      • Imsostartled

        Imsostartled October 10, 2013, 2:44 pm

        *how* obviously

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest October 10, 2013, 2:52 pm

        Good points, really. I doubt Wendy has the time to censor in real time, but I agree with you completely.

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    • GatorGirl

      GatorGirl October 10, 2013, 2:37 pm

      I’ve found it really valuable to read the back and forth (not just on this thread but others too). I haven’t had the most informed knowledge or formed opinion on subjects such as enthusiastic consent, victim blaming, etc and reading the counter perspectives (like explaining why saying she “should have not let her self get so drunk” is victim blaming) is really helpful for me.

      Perhaps an idea is to put a little disclaimer at the top of the comments that this section could be a trigger/have controversial opinions. I’m not a fan of censoring people, even the asshats.

      Reply Link
      • GatorGirl

        GatorGirl October 10, 2013, 2:47 pm

        I feel the need to clarify the “counter perspective” I’m referring to is those who are explaining what victim blaming is etc to the people placing the blame. I’ve learned a lot from the explanations and altered my thoughts and speech because of it.

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      • Northern Mermaid

        Northern Mermaid October 10, 2013, 2:59 pm

        I feel as if I am very fortunate, because I’ve come to a point where these kind of discussions don’t actually “trigger me”–as in, I’m not going to go on a spiral, but yeah. Having a little “These comments might get asshatty” would be ok. Or maybe a firmly stated policy. But it is Wendy’s website, and the level of good discourse here usually outweighs the bad. Plus, look how awesome everyone is at telling dickbags that they are being dickbags.

        And GG, I think you’re an awesome example of someone who listens to others with an open heart and mind when it comes to controversial issues (weddings, maybe not so much, 😉 but definitely on the BIG things). I really appreciate it, and if people are picking up information and behavioral cues from these discussions (or Highly Justified Smackdowns), I think that’s a good thing over all.

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      • GatorGirl

        GatorGirl October 10, 2013, 3:05 pm

        Thanks 🙂 I try really hard to listen to the big things (even if I sometimes (often) stick my foot in my mouth).

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    • Dear Wendy

      Wendy October 10, 2013, 2:49 pm

      I read almost every single comment that is posted on this site (and many that aren’t posted because I don’t approve them), and while I do appreciate what your’e saying and I certainly appreciate that this is a sensitive topic for many people, I’m not sure that deleting any of the comments that have been published thus far is the wisest move for a variety of reasons. I’d be happy to explain myself if people think an explanation is warranted, otherwise, I hope you’ll trust that I do moderate comments and I do consider the feelings of DW readers as well as the culture of dialogue and debate in what I hope most people would agree is a pretty respectful community. I think it says a lot that so many people are outraged over what I consider an insensitive and ignorant comment, and I hope that anyone who might be hurt over such a comment would be heartened by the many replies beneath it.

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      • avatar

        SasLinna October 10, 2013, 2:55 pm

        Thanks, Wendy! Just to clarify, I didn’t mean to suggest that you should delete any comments that have already been published. I was thinking of future comments & also just kind of interested in hearing what your current moderating policy is.

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      • Dear Wendy

        Wendy October 10, 2013, 2:59 pm

        My policy is pretty open-ended, which I know isn’t necessarily “fair,” but it is this: If I think a comment sucks and does more harm than good for the the site, its readers, our community, and me, personally, I delete it (or don’t approve it in the first place).

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      • avatar

        Liquid Luck October 10, 2013, 5:12 pm

        Wendy, would you consider posting warnings about sensitive topics before the letter on posts like this? To be clear, I’m not asking you to censor the content of the post, just mention something like, “hey, this letter contains rape themes.”

        I have to say, this letter (and I mean the letter itself, not even getting into the comments) was really trigger-y for me. Even though my experience was over ten years ago and it rarely makes me upset to talk about, reading such an eerily similar account really threw me for a loop, especially since the title of the post was so benign. It shook me up a lot, so I can only imagine the effect this could potentially have on someone who is not that far removed from their experience or is still trying to heal from it.

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      • Dear Wendy

        Wendy October 10, 2013, 7:26 pm

        Yes, in the future I will do that.

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      • avatar

        Liquid Luck October 10, 2013, 7:36 pm

        Thanks Wendy!

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      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray October 10, 2013, 7:40 pm

        also warn me if it involves weddings or 80s babies and ESPECIALLY if its a wedding of 80s babies.

        kidding.

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  • Imsostartled

    Imsostartled October 10, 2013, 2:45 pm

    Anyone else exhausted now? This thread was rough.

    Reply Link
    • Northern Mermaid

      Northern Mermaid October 10, 2013, 3:05 pm

      Yes. I feel like I need a hug and a big breakfast (because it’s only 11 here in AK)

      Reply Link
      • Imsostartled

        Imsostartled October 10, 2013, 3:06 pm

        I’m sending some hugs over there!

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    • avatar

      TECH October 10, 2013, 3:18 pm

      Yeah, some of the comments really made me sick to my stomach. Especially the comment from Terrie about “let’s not give carte blanche” to someone who says they are raped. I am so sad about this world we live in.

      Reply Link
      • Imsostartled

        Imsostartled October 10, 2013, 3:24 pm

        Ugh, I had to stay away from that part of the thread. My response would have been “ADGKJGLKJSDGKLJSDLK FUCK [email protected]!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! FUUUUCK YOUUUUUUFSDKJLSDGJKSLJGLS.

        Anyways, I’m glad that there are sane people on here.

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      • Northern Mermaid

        Northern Mermaid October 10, 2013, 3:26 pm

        Imsosstartled and I have the same response! Except I might have used a bigger font AND all caps to indicate my distaste.

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    • Fabelle

      Fabelle October 10, 2013, 3:50 pm

      Yeah, I can’t even. I was going to avoid this the rest of the day, but it’s. still. going. on.

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      • avatar

        TECH October 10, 2013, 3:59 pm

        Yeah, I hope tomorrow Wendy posts a letter about someone rescuing a puppy or something. Because I can’t deal with reading the comments any more. It’s so sad.

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  • avatar

    Lucy October 10, 2013, 2:47 pm

    Personally, if I had a brother who behaved this way, he’d be dead to me. Cut off, no question. I’m surprised the LW and her sister are even speaking to him given his behaviour.

    Reply Link
  • Addie Pray

    Addie Pray October 10, 2013, 3:05 pm

    yikes. so, um, what did i miss, in a nutshell? ha.

    Reply Link
    • Imsostartled

      Imsostartled October 10, 2013, 3:07 pm

      Some people are bigoted arrogant uppity assholes and most of us want them to not exist in the world. and IWTTS is going to take care of that for us.

      Reply Link
      • Northern Mermaid

        Northern Mermaid October 10, 2013, 3:27 pm

        Plus, no matter how much we at Dear Wendy are divided over weddings we are unified in our hatred of victim blamers.

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      • Imsostartled

        Imsostartled October 10, 2013, 3:30 pm

        Fist bump.

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  • iwannatalktosampson

    iwannatalktosampson October 10, 2013, 6:22 pm

    Ugh this whole comment section really grinds my gears. Well fine, two commenters grind my gears. Listen, I am an adult. Sometimes I like to get drunk. You could borderline call it a hobby, or a favorite past time. Sometimes I do it with my family (we enjoy having family black outs for funerals, in celebration of their life and all) sometimes I do it with boyfriends, sometimes I do it with girlfriends, sometimes I do it during the day (shout out to football season) sometimes I do it at night. Although I’m not a big solo drinker, if I were that would be fine too. Sometimes I end up drunk and alone, because I leave wherever I was drunk and get home.

    I do all of these things. I still don’t think I am asking to get raped. I am still allowed to get mad if I get raped. Because I am allowed to be drunk in public, and on a plane, and on a train, in the air, wherever. (If someone brings up public intoxication laws right now we’re not friends). I am allowed to exist and do what I want and not have people commit crimes against me. If a crime is committed against me I deserve to have people take me at my word. Why is this so hard for people to understand. Rape is one of the most traumatizing of crimes. It leaves scars and wounds on your heart, your mind, and your body. These discussions are so mind blowing to me that women can say such vicious things about each other. I’m guessing ladybird and terrie balls are probably the type of women that think every girl is out to get their man. I hope you both don’t procreate.

    Reply Link
    • katie

      katie October 10, 2013, 6:49 pm

      to bring out an old favorite– PREACH

      Reply Link
    • Addie Pray

      Addie Pray October 10, 2013, 6:58 pm

      I don’t care if you AREN’T allowed to be drunk in public, it’s never ok to be raped! I don’t care if you decide to pass out naked, sprawled in a park in a bad part of town. No one deserves to rape you. I’d be PISSED AND LIVID AND ANGRY AS FUCK if you got raped and it would be 100% the rapist’s fault.

      But, I also don’t see anything wrong with saying: iwanna, be careful, don’t pass out naked in a park all alone in a bad neighborhood, bad things could happen.

      Just like I don’t see anything wrong with saying: it’s not a good idea to walk through a bad neighborhood late at night on a dimly lit street carrying a big flashy purse on your wrist. You might get robbed. The robber is still 100% wrong, but that particular robbing could have been avoided.

      Is that victim bashing? I think it’s being wise.

      Reply Link
      • Lindsay

        Lindsay October 10, 2013, 7:26 pm

        I think there’s just a fine line. I’m all for telling people how to be safe, but I think that it can come from two very different places. One, where a person acknowledges that nobody should have to avoid walking certain places to keep from getting raped. And another where the person doesn’t acknowledge how fucked up it is that women in the present day actually are in danger by walking in the dark or by deciding to drink alcohol. So instead of saying, well, it sucks, but here’s a way to protect yourself, they just see it as risky and nonrisky behavior.

        I also think there’s a difference between telling someone to be safe as a preventive measure and talking about how a person who was already raped made a poor decision that led to her rape.

        But to me, I think it’s pretty obvious to everyone that walking in groups, not walking at night, etc. are safe practices, so it seems kind of redundant to tell people (aside from young girls who may honestly not have heard it yet), so to me, anyone who goes that far out of their way to tell someone how to “be safe” may be doing it for the wrong reasons.

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    • avatar

      painted_lady October 10, 2013, 7:15 pm

      Drunk in a box, drunk with a fox, drunk over here, drunk over there, IWTTS gets drunk EVERYWHERE!

      I don’t know what the line to draw is between telling someone to be careful and victim-blaming. Because what AP is saying (don’t get naked and pass out in a park) is nothing I see anything wrong with. But where is that line between, “Be careful,” and “Don’t do x so you don’t get raped”? Because AP is kind of implying the same thing, but it doesn’t make me want to take a swing like those two idiots up there did. Does anyone want to take a shot at defining that line? Or is there a line? Maybe it’s just that it’s AP and I love her and know she means well and would never imply that if I got naked and passed out in a park and got raped that it would be my fault. Somebody help me out here!

      Reply Link
      • katie

        katie October 10, 2013, 7:25 pm

        to me, its specifically WHEN it happens. if im at a party, and someone (AP, my mom, my husband, my bestie, whatever) says, “hey, dont walk home in the dark!” i dont see anything wrong with that. if after something happens (my purse is stolen, im raped, im severly beaten, whatever) my mom, AP, my husband, my bestie says “why did you walk home in the dark?? you know thats dangerous!!” that makes whatever happened my fault.

        the first is like, good wishes and positive thoughts for your life. “be careful of X!” is a hope that you wont have anything bad happen to you. after the fact, that becomes “you knew what you were doing, why did you LET IT HAPPEN?”

        also, saying “dont do x, you’ll get raped!” directly, absolutely, implies that one causes the other.

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      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray October 10, 2013, 7:32 pm

        I disagree. I am not going to say “gawd, katie, well duh, why did you walk home in the dark?” right after it happens – that’s insensitive and what you need then is some love and support. But I think it should be completely ok to say “next time, please don’t walk alone in the dark, call my cell any time of night and I will come pick you up if you don’t have a ride, i love you!”

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      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray October 10, 2013, 7:34 pm

        but what if X DOES sadly result in more rapes? the reverse is not true; if you do X you will not get raped. and it certainly doesn’t mean if you did do X that you deserved anything bad that happens to you. but, i will tell you a million times, katie, please don’t walk home alone in the dark down a dimly lit street in a neighborhood you don’t know. it’s not safe. anything can happen.

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      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray October 10, 2013, 7:29 pm

        I think people confuse “fault” with “only one to blame” and “deserving it,” but it’s not the same. I mean, can we agree that if you decide to get undressed and then drink a bottle of wine and then go lay down and pass out at night in a dimly lit park in a bad neighborhood and you wake up and realize you were raped that it’s your fault? Eh, that sounds bad. The rapist is still 100% at fault; just because there were some safety precautions you could have taken does not mean he’s not 100% at fault. I certainly don’t mean you deserved to get raped. In a perfect world you could do just that and no one would touch you. And also in a perfect world you can leave your windows open, your doors unlocked and no one will steal from you. But we don’t live in a perfect world. Of course, just because you take those safety measures doesn’t mean it won’t still happen, and if/when it does, it doesn’t make it any more legitimate or wrong than if you were careless and it happened.

        Ugh, I dunno. What I am trying to say is: rape victims, it’s never your fault and the rapists should die; but also, everyone: be as safe as you possibly can!

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      • CatsMeow

        CatsMeow October 10, 2013, 8:00 pm

        There are general safety precautions that everyone should take. I mean, there is common sense. I lock my doors. I carry pepper spray most of the time. I check behind my shower curtain for evil clowns before I sit on the toilet.

        It depends on how extreme you are, and if you are citing safety measures as precautions specifically against rape. Telling a woman not to drink without a baby-sitter, or not to go to the bathroom alone at a friend’s house? Crazy. My mom AND grandmother have told me that I might get raped because of outfits I was wearing. Not cool! My mom and grandma also tell me all the time to lock my doors and generally, to “be careful,” and I usually roll my eyes (like, duh?) and say OK. I think the first two things are more victim-blamey and the third is just… concern? A weird superstition that if you say “be careful” to someone that nothing bad will happen? I dunno.

        The other thing is that the “general” safety precautions might protect you more against the stranger-in-the-alley rape, which definitely happens, but is much more rare than the rape that usually happens – among friends/acquaintances, where the “victim” feels safe. So, 1. that stuff is like, duh (and am I the only one who gets eye-rolly when people tell me to do obvious things?), and 2. it doesn’t do much to prevent the rapes that are most likely to happen.

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      • CatsMeow

        CatsMeow October 10, 2013, 8:03 pm

        I’m probably not making sense either because it IS such a fine line. But you saying to Katie, “If you ever need me to come get you, call me even if it’s the middle of the night and I will take you home no matter what,” is better than, “Don’t go out alone wearing that.” Right?

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      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray October 10, 2013, 8:13 pm

        Right. But a lot of this is form over substance. Like, “in thre future don’t walk home alone, call me” and “I wish you hadn’t walked home alone”?are kind of the same thing. And none of that implies it will always work bc like you said I agree that rape more often than not is by someone the victim knows.

        As for over cautious moms, sure, moms do that, for not-so-risk things, and I roll my eyes too. But eh that’s not the point.

        The point is, I don’t care if it was a stranger in an alley, a friend you thought you could trust, someone in a club who saw you dancing provocatively in a short skirt, when it was consensual and then you changed your mind, or you were wasted on your own or someone drugged you or you were sleeping soundly in your room and someone broke in – all rapes are bad, not one is more legitimate than the other, and the rapist is 100% at fault, and the victims are not at fault at all. … But still, try to be safe! I feel a lot of the comments above are just trying to say that. Some are certainly ignorant and insensitive and just stupid and judgy but for a lot it really is just that.

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      • katie

        katie October 10, 2013, 8:19 pm

        well probably a great place to start would be to, oh i dont know… believe victims when they say they have been raped? and then maybe, just maybe, actually prosecute rapists with real penalties?

        im not saying you DONT do those things- but when its such an issue, with so many rapes not being reported because they just wont be believed anyway, and even IF they get the case to a judge the rapist will just be “talked to firmly” or whatever- in a climate like that, comments will be more victim blame-y and make people mad then if it was a fair and just climate, you know? if rape, although still happening, because you cant ever eradicate it forever, was taken seriously, i really dont think people would get so worked up about people talking about it and talking about safety in general.

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      • CatsMeow

        CatsMeow October 10, 2013, 10:52 pm

        It’s a fine line, though. If you say, “Don’t do x, y, z so that a, b, and c won’t happen,” then you are implying that rape/whatever is preventable. Or, what if they specifically do the things you said not to do and then get raped? You don’t even have to say “I told you so”… they will be feeling it. And OF COURSE you’re not implying that they deserved it, but self-blame and shame are SUCH a problem for people who have been raped that it’s just a super-sensitive topic. All the safety stuff is disproportionately aimed at women too.

        And while you or I might not be uncomfortable with someone saying, “Hey, don’t walk alone at night in an unfamiliar neighborhood,” where do you draw the line? What if someone told you not to go out without your gun because they felt like that was the only true way to protect yourself? Or even, “Hey next time don’t go out without your gun.” I mean, people have limits to the behavior they’ll alter in order to feel “safe.”

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      • avatar

        SasLinna October 11, 2013, 7:39 am

        AP, a really big problem here is that people are just empirically wrong about which situations are objectively dangerous. A lot of your examples are classic examples of “stranger danger” (like laying naked in a park), but empirically those are a small minority of rapes. People *think* they know which behaviors might protect women from rape or endanger them, but they are in fact *wrong* in their assumptions and thinking under the influence of myths that they never bother to put into question. Please check whether those assumptions hold up to scrutiny.
        Specifically with drinking alcohol, people think they know so well what the relationship between drinking and getting raped is, but they’re actually wrong. All we know is that there is a correlation between being drunk and rape, we do not know the actual causal relationships. And there’s actually a bigger correlation between raping and drinking than between being raped and drinking. So it would make more sense to tell women to avoid drunk men, but somehow that’s not so very popular – probably because it’s harder than saying “don’t drink”.

        Second, the safety measures that are recommended – even if they *were” effective, which is often not the case – are super costly. They require women to police their own behavior *very much*. I think people are only ready to accept this because they are basically taken for granted that women just aren’t as free as men. Many women don’t even realize how many restrictions on their behavior they just accept as “normal”. Our baseline for “normal” is not acceptable. Now you may say that that’s true, but that’s just our reality, and we have to accept that. Well… would you tell a person in a racist society that “that’s just reality” that they might be lynched if they look at the wrong woman? You wouldn’t do that even if it were actually empirically true. Because even if other people act very badly and that’s the reality it still doesn’t make it OK and we cannot ask people to adapt to that. Same with women and the danger of being raped.

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      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray October 11, 2013, 8:45 am

        Well, I completely agree with you about everything but we’re not talking about the same thing. When I say “hey be careful, don’t walk down a dimly lit street alone” I do not mean “because that’s the only way people get raped.” It’s one way that you could find yourself in danger. Might not be the most common way danger comes to you but it’s one fairly obvious thing you can NOT do to help avoid danger.

        And your example of a racist society is a good one b/c it furthers my point. That *is* just reality if that they might be lynched if they look at the wrong woman – that happened. So I would tell my loved one to be careful in that situation. Of course that doesn’t make it OK; no one said it made it ok; but I would beg and plead with my friend/family member who was black to get his has through town and out as safely as he could if he had to, I dunno, pass through a racist place. I’d do the same if I had to go through a country where women were expected to be covered. My mom lived in Iran for 15 years and though not Muslim always covered up from head to toe b/c if she didn’t and a man saw her in the market or whatever, he’d come up to her and poke and pinch her. So everyone told her “hey cover up” – not because the men were right but because they would harass her and we didn’t want her harassed.

        I think really though this is a sensitivity issue. You know I’m right on the above. That doesn’t mean though if a woman says she was raped first response is going to be “well you shouldn’t have done X, Y or Z.” It’s not certain that would have worked, it makes her feel worse than she already feels, it’s counter productive, it’s mean, it’s insensitive, it’s judgmental, it’s ignorant – it’s all those things.

        I dunno

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        SasLinna October 11, 2013, 9:08 am

        I think the point is that a lot of normal activities have the same risk of rape as walking in the dimly lit alley. Being alone in a room with a coworker, for example. But somehow that’s not an issue. Similarly we don’t constantly tell people “don’t drive, could be dangerous”. Although that’s risky, too. It’s harmful to focus on a certain type of risk because it distorts the picture. It’s impossible to warn of certain risks and not of others without giving the idea that somehow these risks are more worth paying attention to than others. But they really aren’t.

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      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray October 11, 2013, 9:20 am

        Well, on the one extreme you can encourage people to live in a bubble and on the other extreme you can say fuck it go walk anywhere you want, whenever you want, without a care in the world because crime happens anywhere all the time. I’m sure we’re all somewhere in the middle with the risks we’re willing to take in order to, you know, live outside of a bubble and have a normal life without irrational fear. … But it sounds like what you’re saying is there’s no point in telling people to be careful. I’m not advocating you go around and tell strangers what to do. But people you care about? Yea, if I knew my sister was drinking to the point of blacking out, i’d tell her to be careful.

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        SasLinna October 11, 2013, 9:23 am

        There’s another thing I just wanted to touch upon, namely that most women are *already* taking many precautions. Women are already afraid of rape. So the whole “be careful” message is already omnipresent. Every woman has heard that message a million times. What’s the point of repeating it every time we hear of rape? I don’t think there’s any other reason than trying to give oneself some sense of security, in order to continue believing “it’s not going to happen to me”.

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        SasLinna October 11, 2013, 9:31 am

        The number one thing I would tell my younger sister if I had one would be to not be afraid of coming across as impolite if a guy is making her uncomfortable, and to listen to her gut feeling if she thinks something’s off about a guy. Have you read The Gift of Fear? I think the tips in there are great, because they can really help to distinguish a dangerous situation from a non-dangerous one. “Woman being shitfaced” is just way too general.

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  • Lindsay

    Lindsay October 10, 2013, 7:20 pm

    Some of these comments blow my mind. I teach college students to intervene when they see someone in danger (such as in danger of being sexually assaulted), and these sorts of comments are EXACTLY the types of things I use as examples of beliefs that perpetuate sexual violence. So, there’s that.

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  • avatar

    John Rohan October 10, 2013, 8:15 pm

    A lot of the rage on this forum is really misplaced. It sounds like some people are more angry at the comments or the brother than the actual rapist! I understand that rape is an extremely passionate subject, but I strongly disagree with Wendy’s assumptions. The LW wasn’t there at the time. Three of the people who were there are giving different accounts of what they saw. Two of them say she wasn’t raped, while the sister says she was (and she doesn’t remember it clearly).

    I also understand some people in these comments have been victims of rape so you have strong feelings about this, but what happened to you doesn’t mean that the same thing happened here!

    Some people ask, why wasn’t the brother or husband looking out for the LW? Why didn’t they beat up the guy she was “cheating” with? I don’t know, but I can just as easily ask why didn’t she file a police report? There are a lot of “why”s or “maybes” you can ask.

    Here’s a hard truth – some women lie about being raped. It’s pretty rare, but it does happen. And one must at least consider that possibility here, because the LW says her brother is otherwise a stand-up guy, the sister doesn’t know if she was drunk or drugged, and she went off and had an affair afterwards. So calling the LW’s brother an “asshole” is not very fair or helpful without more information (not that it matters to him, unless he happens to read this forum).

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    • katie

      katie October 10, 2013, 8:27 pm

      ill say it again, and with the appropriate dwight reference:

      FALSE.

      you do not have three people who were there and are giving different accounts. if the brother and husband had been there, there would have either be irrefutable evidence of cheating or rape. there would be no grey area there. what we have here is someone who was raped, and two people who dont believe her. thats very different.

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        John Rohan October 10, 2013, 8:41 pm

        I don’t think you are actually thinking this through. What would that “irrefutable evidence” be? Cell phone video?

        Regardless, if we use your standard, then the sister was there, so why doesn’t she also have “irrefutable evidence of cheating or rape” with “no grey area there”?

        Yes, we have two people that don’t believe her. That’s the only part you got right. You can’t possibly know someone was raped, because you weren’t there.

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      • katie

        katie October 10, 2013, 8:45 pm

        she said she was raped. thats all the evidence i need, because i tend to believe people when they say that stuff happened to them. i also would believe someone who said their purse was stolen, or that their car was broken into, or that their ass was grabbed on the bus.

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      • CatsMeow

        CatsMeow October 10, 2013, 10:06 pm

        Not only did she say she was raped, but ALSO, this is what the LW says about the brother and husband: “They don’t think she necessarily cheated, but they don’t believe she was traumatically raped either.”

        So, they don’t think she is covering up cheating. They just think that she is somehow to blame for the sex that was had without her consent? What’s with the “traumatic” qualifier anyway? Sounds super douchey to me. Like “legitimate” rape. It wasn’t the scary stranger in the alley, so of course it wasn’t REAL rape.

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      jlyfsh October 10, 2013, 8:34 pm

      It’s also not helpful to discredit the woman in the story because she doesn’t behave how you see fit. We don’t have enough information to make assumptions on either side. And we shouldn’t.

      And to answer your question about why she didn’t file a police report? I think it’s been covered but to answer you, it’s scary, especially when two people who you rely on aren’t giving you support, why would the cops? if you have no evidence the likelihood that charges will be filed and you will win in court are slim to none. going to trial sucks and choosing to do so means your life will be picked apart. Which is why so many rapes don’t get reported or prosecuted.

      I don’t think the brother is an asshole any more than I think the sister is lying, because we don’t know enough. But, you know what being drugged or drunk, having an affair after, neither of those things make the fact that she was potentially raped her fault or any less true.

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        John Rohan October 10, 2013, 8:44 pm

        I REALLY wish people would read my comments more carefully. I didn’t “discredit” the woman. I only repeated what was written by the LW. And I know that not everyone calls the police!! My point was that the question was just as silly as other people wondering why the husband or brother didn’t do numerous things themselves.

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        jlyfsh October 10, 2013, 8:49 pm

        Oh no I read your comment. And yes you repeated facts stated by the LW, in your own way. Which definitely insinuated that you didn’t believe the LW, at least that’s how it came across to me.

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        painted_lady October 10, 2013, 8:51 pm

        I REALLY wish your comments weren’t so obviously douche-y or reeking of MRA vernacular. As it turns out, the world is not a wish-granting factory.

        As much as I love your attempt to educate the silly, over-emotional women of DW, I do wonder why you keep trying as it never goes well for you.

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        painted_lady October 10, 2013, 8:57 pm

        Also, WTF is it with mansplainers assuming that disagreement = poor reading comprehension. I do not think it means what you think it means.

        Dude, I read it. I understand it. I completely fucking disagree.

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      • avatar

        John Rohan October 10, 2013, 9:16 pm

        Since I directed that remark toward Jlyfsh, not you, then it’s obvious that no, you didn’t actually read it or understand it.

        BTW, maybe I should change my screen name to something more gender neutral? Why is it that everyone thinks because I disagree, that I’m a man waging some gender war? Good gravy, get over yourself.

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      • avatar

        jlyfsh October 10, 2013, 9:19 pm

        It has nothing to do with your name, it has to do with the tone and content of your comments.

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        Christy October 11, 2013, 12:44 am

        man, jlyfsh, you are on FIRE today. In the best way.

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        painted_lady October 10, 2013, 9:40 pm

        Oh, you’re right. I’m so wrong. I was agreeing with jlyfsh, and I should have clarified. I think the same thing as her. Clearly, I am lacking in intelligence.

        You come in sporadically and offer comments that are clearly opposite of what many people have said. But somehow you think you’re going to be seen as the lone voice of reason and all of the weak-minded females will flock to your wisdom. And when we don’t flock to your clearly superior intellect, it’s because you’re male? And it has nothing to do with the fact that we’ve all – independently of you – more or less agreed upon the same points, to varying degrees. It’s clearly that you’re a man.

        It’s funny that two commenters who think along the same lines as you, who both have either female or gender-neutral names, were wholeheartedly disagreed with earlier. I don’t feel like it’s us that carry the gender bias. Maybe if we all changed OUR names to something gender neutral or male, you’d think we were less in need of an education.

        Either way, every single time you come here and post, people rip you to shreds. Why continue? You’re not welcome. You clearly think we’re silly or flawed in our thinking or we all hate men…unless you just enjoy stirring the pot, there’s nothing for you here.

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      • Imsostartled

        Imsostartled October 10, 2013, 9:59 pm

        Um, it’s not becaue you’re a man that we think you’re being douchey, it’s because of how you’re comments are sounds now and how they have always sounded in the past. Yes, we remember you John Rohan, we remember very well.

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    • Addie Pray

      Addie Pray October 10, 2013, 8:35 pm

      Oh please. How about this: when there’s a trial, ok assess the credibility of the witness and treat the defendant innocent until proven guilty. But here, a woman telling you what happened to her? You believe it. Why not? You weren’t there. What’s it to you? You wouldn’t disbelieve a guy who came up to you and said he got punched at a bar or someone stole his phone or whatever.

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      • katie

        katie October 10, 2013, 8:41 pm

        you know, we should really start pulling this same behavior across the board- its only fair…

        “i lost my phone!” “are you sure- i mean, you usually text while your on the toilet, did it just fall in?”

        “i got punched at a bar by some d bag!” “are you sure you didnt just fall out of bed? you do tend to drink a lot and fall asleep…”

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        John Rohan October 10, 2013, 8:46 pm

        If a guy came up to me and said he got punched, but he was drunk and two others who were there said he didn’t get punched, then YES I would have doubts about either story.

        Is that really so strange?

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        rachel October 10, 2013, 8:49 pm

        Really, two other guys who weren’t in the room when he got punched yet decided that they knew better than the victim of violence? You would believe those two guys? Because that’s what we have here. Clearly the husband and brother were not in the room when the sex happened, so they could not attest as to whether it was indeed rape. So how is it that their opinion counts more than the woman’s?

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        John Rohan October 10, 2013, 8:57 pm

        1. You are making assumptions you don’t know. For example, they could attest to seeing her awake and kissing/flirting with this guy, etc. We don’t know.

        2. I never said their opinion counts more than the woman’s.

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        rachel October 10, 2013, 8:59 pm

        1. Even if she was flirting with him, if she was THAT drunk, she couldn’t consent, and it was rape.

        2. You repeatedly point out that the fact that THEY think she’s lying is reason enough for us to believe that. Which, by the way, has nothing to do with the letter, since the sister who wrote in does believe her.

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        rachel October 10, 2013, 9:01 pm

        Also, in regards to 1 – do you not think that date rape is a thing? Because generally a date is a pretty flirty situation, but flirting does not mean implicit consent to any and all sexual activity.

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        John Rohan October 10, 2013, 9:12 pm

        Date rape is a thing, yes, and it’s true that if she was very drunk she can’t consent to sex. However, if her partner was also just as drunk, he can’t consent to sex either. Look, I don’t know what happened. I swear on all that’s holy that I was only pointing out the POSSIBILITY that she was covering up an affair she had. And I didn’t think it was healthy the way this comment section was acting like the brother was the rapist.

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      • CatsMeow

        CatsMeow October 10, 2013, 9:28 pm

        “BTW, I’m not concerned about the brother! sheesh.” – John Rohan

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        John Rohan October 10, 2013, 9:32 pm

        My concern there was for the comment section, not the brother. I doubt that he reads DW.

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      • CatsMeow

        CatsMeow October 10, 2013, 9:43 pm

        …you were concerned about the comments about the brother (splitting hairs much?), and the lack of comments disbelieving the LW’s sister.

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      • rainbow

        rainbow October 10, 2013, 9:19 pm

        2.- No, but you said they counted equally, which they don’t, because they’re stupid as fuck and they have been debunked again and again and again. Sorry, but the fact that you show up and say something doesn’t make it count. You’re just making a fool of yourself.
        You seem to be very angry, entitled, misguided about what intelligence sounds like and from a time before google. I wish you the life you probably have.

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      • rainbow

        rainbow October 10, 2013, 9:22 pm

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        John Rohan October 10, 2013, 9:31 pm

        Yes, let’s change the conversation to personal attacks whenever someone disagrees with us. Might raise your self-esteem for a moment, but otherwise it’s not very useful. That’s also a pretty sad way to live. I wish you well.

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      • CatsMeow

        CatsMeow October 10, 2013, 9:39 pm

        She said you seem angry, misguided, and entitled. You said I am paranoid and need therapy. I WISH YOU WELL.

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      • LadyinPurpleNotRed

        LadyinPurpleNotRed October 10, 2013, 8:50 pm

        But they weren’t in the same room. So they can’t know if she was raped or not. All they know is that she wasn’t raped DIRECTLY in front of them–where they could see.

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      • katie

        katie October 10, 2013, 8:50 pm

        well, once again- they WERENT there. thats a moot point. you cant keep using it.

        and secondly- let me tell you that as a woman, if i was raped- even if i had been so drunk not to understand what was going on or while i was drugged- i would fucking know it happened.

        so if your guy came up to you with a black eye, said he was punched, and then his two friends who werent there and didnt see anything said that he’s probably just lying because he was drunk? yea, that doesnt happen.

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    • Addie Pray

      Addie Pray October 10, 2013, 8:39 pm

      Also, I think it’s funny you’re so worried about calling the brother an asshole – poor brother’s feewings! But meh calling the victim a potential liar because statically lies happen? Because she didn’t file a police report (and we all know that means squat)? Well then lets give her no benefit of the doubt.

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        jlyfsh October 10, 2013, 8:41 pm

        yeah andwe can add responses like this and a few of the above only add to the reasons why people don’t feel safe reporting rape or telling people about it. but yeah, let’s definitely be more concerned about the brother in the story.

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        John Rohan October 10, 2013, 8:48 pm

        And responses like yours only add to the reasons why people can’t talk about these issues in a calm manner. BTW, I’m not concerned about the brother! sheesh.

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        jlyfsh October 10, 2013, 8:51 pm

        Who isn’t discussing this in a calm manner?

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      • CatsMeow

        CatsMeow October 10, 2013, 8:56 pm

        Me. I have strong feelings against people spouting bullshit so I guess that discredits my opinion.

        I also have strong feelings against one single person who repeatedly comes on a website after discussion has died down to try and be the “lone voice of reason” or have the last word to tell the sea of hysterical women that they’re all overreacting.

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        painted_lady October 10, 2013, 8:58 pm

        Yup. Your wandering uterus needs to shut its trap.

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        jlyfsh October 10, 2013, 8:59 pm

        I didn’t find your comment to be not calm? I mean passionate maybe. But, then again us women folk tend to be a bit emotional, no? Must be why we’re the weaker sex. I’m sure he’ll find a way to pick this comment apart as well and I should probably stop but, yeah whatever.

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        John Rohan October 10, 2013, 8:59 pm

        ?? OMG, more paranoia.

        I didn’t come “after discussion has died down to try and have the last word”. This is when I happened to be home from work. FYI, some of us don’t hang out on Dear Wendy all day long.

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    • CatsMeow

      CatsMeow October 10, 2013, 8:41 pm

      Why? Why, in the context of this letter, do we need to assume that there is a possibility that the LW’s sister lied? What the fuck good does that do except derail the conversation? And she may have said her brother was generally a “stand-up guy”… except for the part where he blames one sister for being raped and blames the other for her divorce without knowing the story. Oh, and he also tried to protect one from the other, in case her sluttiness rubbed off and she was encouraged to hook up with more dudes? Fuck that guy. That’s enough evidence for us to dislike the brother, whether he believes her or not. We don’t have any reason to suspect that she’s lying, except that 2 people don’t believe her (aka don’t believe that it was a “traumatic” rape)…. which is usually the case when it comes to rape, in case you haven’t noticed…. which is also why VERY FEW who are raped report it to the police. Do you really think that’s “evidence” that it didn’t happen??? That’s the biggest load of bullshit I’ve ever heard.

      Also? Men aren’t very likely to be believed when they have been raped or abused either, and are also not likely to report it, because of harmful masculinity constructs. I’m sure you’d be pointing all of that out to us if it was a different letter, but for now, you have to make sure we all know there is a POSSIBILITY that a woman lied about being raped.

      You can fuck right off.

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        John Rohan October 10, 2013, 8:54 pm

        So your point is, when someone claims rape, we must immediately take sides, and anyone who even questions is, no matter what other witnesses say, and no matter what her other actions were?

        This wasn’t a couple of frat guys covering for one of their own. This was her own husband and her own brother for heaven’s sakes!

        BTW, when you have to resort to saying things like “fuck right off”, that doesn’t exactly give you credibility in debates after the 6th grade.

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      • katie

        katie October 10, 2013, 8:58 pm

        yes, actually, you should always take the side of the victim when a violet crime happens. thats pretty standard- we dont really go rushing to the credibility of LITERALLY any other crime victims. zero. none.

        if a false rape claim happens, it will get sorted out in court, yes? that is how all crime is sorted out- oh wait, actually- EXCEPT for rapes, weirdly, which are basically never prosecuted how they should be. its almost like there is a culture that lets rape happen, and lets rapists get away with what they do, and perpetuates a whole cycle of a shitty world. huh.

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        John Rohan October 10, 2013, 9:06 pm

        Of course I would take the side of a victim when a violent crime happens. But I don’t know that happened here. When I have contrary evidence, I’m going to keep an open mind. That’s how most people view any crime. Rape isn’t an exception there.

        Maybe you live in the world of black and white. But I don’t – In the military, I have known married people who have used a rape claim to cover up an affair. Yes, it’s a shitty world. huh.

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      • katie

        katie October 11, 2013, 9:35 am

        oh yes, the military- such a great, shining example of how to deal with rape and sexual assault in our country…

        like Cats said above, there is no “contrary evidence”. they dont believe that the rape was “legitimate” enough, or “traumatic” enough, or “insert sad word here” enough. thats not fair. we dont treat any other victims of crime that way- again, LITERALLY any others. do you say, when you friend was robbed- “oh, well, your car’s window wasnt really broken, so i dunno, maybe it wasnt a REAL robbery- REAL robberies have much more damage to windows.”? or, after someone was beaten in the streets by a gang- “oh, i dunno, your bones arent broken too badly, and you just got a few scratches- i dont really think this can count as a REAL beating”. i mean, do you say those things? do you think that its ok to say those things? i dont, i think thats crazy talk. but for whatever reason, when we talk about rape, its ok. its the only crime that this happens to.

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        John Rohan October 11, 2013, 10:18 am

        Katie, please!!

        You are raging against a strawman. I never said anything about “legitimate rapes” or anything like that. In point of fact, I agree with you. Either she was raped, or she wasn’t. There isn’t any gray area. So either she is telling the truth, or she is lying. I NEVER said anything otherwise.

        It’s almost like you WANT me to be this horrible rape apologist that you hate, so you can direct all your frustration and anger against me. Whoever you are angry at in real life, I promise you I am NOT that guy!!!

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        John Rohan October 11, 2013, 10:22 am

        Just to add .. considering all the personal attacks against me in this thread, I am tempted to become that kind of guy…

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        Terrie Bruce October 11, 2013, 11:47 am

        John-I’m a woman and I’ve been attacked regarding my comments too. I agree with everything you said. We’ve commented on this particular story and the possibility that given the info provided it could be a false rape. I’m not victim blaming and I think the majority of rapes aren’t false and thankfullly I can’ t imagine how traumatic they would be, but they do happen and by posing the possibility that this is one of them we’re somehow horrible people. Personally I’ve had enough and won’t be commenting again but I wanted to let you that I understand what you’re saying.

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      • CatsMeow

        CatsMeow October 10, 2013, 9:00 pm

        I wasn’t saying it for credibility or to win a debate. I said it because I truly want you to fuck the fuck off.

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        John Rohan October 10, 2013, 9:08 pm

        If it’s helpful for your therapy, then say it three times. Might make you feel three times as good.

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  • Northern Mermaid

    Northern Mermaid October 11, 2013, 3:14 am

    Yep. John Rohan can go fuck the fuck off.

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    TheRedhead October 11, 2013, 5:35 pm

    In regards to any crime, isn’t everyone “innocent until proven guilty”? So shouldn’t we atleast consider the possibility that what she’s saying isn’t true? Especially given the type of situation, the persons actions afterwards, and the fact that 2 close family members immediately don’t believe her. There has got to be some past history here.

    Everyone’s acting like they know, without a shadow of a doubt that she was raped and that ANYONE who questions what happened is a “victim shamer” and “rape apologist”. That may be true if we actually had concrete evidence (which is rare to get in this type of crime). But since we don’t, and people can claim anything happened, I don’t think it’s fair to attack anyone questioning the situation.

    We simply don’t know what actually happened. So no one is more right than the other.

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  • kare

    kare October 12, 2013, 12:11 am

    I haven’t read all of the comments (fortunately), but I just wanted to say to everyone on DW that has commented to share their experiences:

    I think you guys are amazing, and I really admire your strength to discuss such traumatic experiences in this thread. Some of the comments haven’t been pretty, but I have faith that the vast majority of the DW community supports you. Thank you guys for posting.

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