Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Your Turn: “Can I Move Home?”

I am considering moving back to my home town after more than a decade away. I have a large group of friends there and want to raise a family and hopefully start a business there.

However, there is someone who lives there whom I don’t ever want to see, but I know I will see them regularly as their circle of interests and friends overlaps with mine, and without fail, every time I go back for a visit, I see this person.

The reason I don’t ever want to see this person is because they sexually assaulted and attempted to murder a close friend of my family. The victim was already terminally ill with cancer when the assaults took place, and she died two weeks later. The perpetrator got off without significant jail time (basically ordered to stay with family and see a shrink) and is happily existing in the city, cropping up wherever I want to spend time.

How can I live with the anger and disgust I feel toward this person? The knowledge that they even exist in the city I want to call home makes me shake with anger. All of my hopes for starting a new life are tainted with their presence. If and when I see this person, should I say something? How can I not? One of my dreams is to open a business there. Would I be able to bar them from entering my business? What if they retaliate by attacking me or my family, or sabotaging my business?

As you can see, this is really eating away at me and any advice you have would be most appreciated. — Tainted Hopes

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

You can follow me on Facebook here and sign up for my weekly newsletter here.

If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.

50 comments… add one
  • FireStar

    FireStar December 12, 2012, 9:14 am

    You are worried about what to do when someone may retaliate against your non-existence business after you potentially bar them from it? Talk about meeting trouble half-way. It seems you need some therapy to deal with your hatred because the only person all that rage is hurting is you. The person who assaulted your friend is – I promise you – completely unaffected by it. Is this what you want for yourself? To carry this hatred around with you as something almost tangible? Is this what your friend would have wanted for you? It is time to let it go. And I’m serious – if you cannot do that yourself, seek help in doing so. The reality is that bad people live everywhere. There is no where you can go to avoid them completely. The best you can do is try to avoid them whenever you can or ignore them. I vote for ignore them in your case. You don’t know this man so treat him as the stranger he is. You are making this into way more than it should be…and you are doing it to your own detriment – no one else’s.

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    • avatar

      kerrycontrary December 12, 2012, 9:20 am

      WFSS. I think that people often assume that their anger is doing some sort of good, but it’s only destroying themselves. The best thing to do is let it go and move on.

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      • FireStar

        FireStar December 12, 2012, 10:10 am

        I agree – I think people hold onto it out of some sense of loyalty and think if they let it go they are being disloyal. But letting go does not mean you are okay with what happened or that you even forgive the other person. I know it is easier said than done but I hope the LW can find a way to move past it for her own sake and finds a way to honour the life of her friend instead of dwelling on one of the worst things to have happened to her. I know if I was the friend, I would hate to think a friend of mine was thwarted her own success and happiness out of misplaced sense of loyalty to me.

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      • FireStar

        FireStar December 12, 2012, 10:17 am

        *thwarting

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest December 12, 2012, 10:17 am

        Amazing advice, firestar.

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        Iwannatalktosampson December 12, 2012, 10:22 am

        “I think people hold onto it out of some sense of loyalty and think if they let it go they are being disloyal. But letting go does not mean you are okay with what happened or that you even forgive the other person.”

        Yes. This is the summary of exactly how I feel.

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      • avatar

        6napkinburger December 12, 2012, 10:32 am

        This is what I hate about a lot of TV shows — they seem to back up that type of rhetoric/sentiment. Like, a character starts to move on with her life and someone from her past will come back and say “have you forgotten about this horrible thing? How can you live with yourself, just pretending it didn’t happen?” as if being a lifelong martyr to a tragedy was somehow morally superior. But the TV shows tend to support that message, that the person was wrong to try and move on. Stupid TV shows.

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      • avatar

        SallyS December 12, 2012, 1:06 pm

        I didn’t read any other comments first before answering, and my initial thought was also “Therapy.” This incident has way too strong a grip on this person and it’s no way to go through life.

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    • iwannatalktosampson

      iwannatalktosampson December 12, 2012, 10:09 am

      Wfs. Perfect response. You are the only one hurt from hating him. Why should you be punished? We have a flawed justice system. It sucks, but it’s not yours to fix.

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  • avatar

    spark_plug December 12, 2012, 9:16 am

    What you are going through is a very tough situation and I’m sorry for this, so I’m not even going to pretend like I know what it feels like or give you advice.

    However, I will say this. This person has gotten away with murder twice – the first time with your family member and the second time with your happiness.

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  • avatar

    kerrycontrary December 12, 2012, 9:17 am

    Wow. This whole situation must be really tough for you. I’m sorry for the loss of your friend, and that she had to go through such a horrible experience. Situations like this are why I wish there were harsher punishments for sexual offenders. When I was 15, a guy I knew (also 15) sexually assaulted my friend in school. He was never punished (he said/she said), even though he had prior sexual offenses starting at the age of 11/12 years old. This ruined my friend and she began using drugs, and eventually became a heroine addict. Unfortunately I had to continue seeing this guy at church, at school, and eventually at college. He always acted like nothing was wrong. I never “freaked out” on him, even though I wanted to, but I told everyone I knew what he did and I told women to stay away from him.

    So my advice is this: tell him off if you want to, but it probably won’t make you feel any better. And as you said, you may have to fear his retaliation. You could at least tell your friends what he did and to stay away from him. But, sometimes it is better to just let go of anger because it will destroy you and won’t do any harm to him. If you can’t get over the anger by yourself, you most likely need to see a therapist about it.

    You CAN stop him from entering your place of business (it’s a private business, you can do whatever you want). And how is he going to sabotage your business? If he tries to slander it or ruin your livelihood, sue the shit out of him. I think you are giving this guy more power than he actually has. Let go of that.

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest December 12, 2012, 10:10 am

      I wouldn’t tell him off. I would just ignore/avoid. Its the old Don’t Wake a Sleeping Dog. You confronting him will only lead to problems.

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    • KKZ

      KKZ December 13, 2012, 1:02 pm

      Just a note before I go further down the thread.

      Nowhere in the letter did the LW specify that this person is a “he.” So if we don’t know the gender of the person, best not to assume it’s a man just because they sexually abused a woman.

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  • avatar

    csp December 12, 2012, 9:31 am

    LW, we are all guilty of what you are doing. you are building up confrontations and fighting in your head. Read A New Earth and it talks about your ego and that voice in your head. You have created all these crazy senarios. You haven’t moved home or seen this person and he is already ruining the business you don’t have? Your anger and hatred is festering and hurting you. You are paralyzed by your anger. Think about it, your anger is holding you back from achieving all your hopes and dreams. It isn’t him, it is you and the villian you created in your head.

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    • avatar

      ktfran December 12, 2012, 9:57 am

      I like the way you described her hatred and how it was inhibiting the LW to lead the life she wants. I want to add to that LW. The only thing in this world you can control are your own actions and reactions. So, as much as I’m sure it sucks, you have to actively choose to let this go and not get angry.

      There are so many shitty people out there. Actively choose to concentrate on yourself, your happiness and the happiness of those you love. Forget about the rest of the assholes. I can assure you, they don’t think about you.

      Also, I’m very sorry for your loss.

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      • avatar

        csp December 12, 2012, 11:52 am

        I know so many people who hold onto anger like a badge of honor. This anger doesn’t hurt him because he doesn’t even know that it is happening. I think anything you worry about is always worse than the actual event.

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      • avatar

        ktfran December 12, 2012, 12:50 pm

        Do you know how long it has taken me to figure that out? And now that I have, I’m so much better off.

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  • katie

    katie December 12, 2012, 9:32 am

    well, my first thought was that how does someone who sexually assaulted someone and attempted to murder them have friends from that period in their life? how does this person still have the same friends you have if he knows what they did? i would have never talked to that guy again, and i would really question anyone who i considered a friend who did continue a relationship…

    anyway, i agree that you need therapy, probably. you need some way to let go of it. yes, it sucks, and yes, it wont ever “go away” in your life (until he dies?), but if you are going to move back home, you need to be able to live a happy life there. if you know for a fact that this person is going to ruin your happiness at home, dont move there. there is the entire world to live in, you can find happiness, raise a family and open a business in other places, i promise.

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    • avatar

      csp December 12, 2012, 1:13 pm

      My guess is that there was alot of he said she said in this. Or drugs involved. Or wierd extra circumstances.

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    • honeybeegood

      honeybeegood December 12, 2012, 4:17 pm

      Katie so often you say what is in my head. I guess that’s a WKS. Woo. Who would want to be friends with someone who doesn’t believe/care that he tried to rape and murder someone who had terminal cancer! Terminal cancer is the trump card of suck btw. No matter what terrible thing happens in this world the second you throw terminal illness on top it seems 10x worse.

      Also PSA about rape: About 8% of men perform 95% of heterosexual rapes against women, but 25% of college age women report surviving rape or attempted rape. The reason so many men are able to rape again and again is they are supported by people like LW’s friends. “Joe is a good guy. It was just a misunderstanding. She was always a slut.” etc.

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      • avatar

        lemongrass December 12, 2012, 5:51 pm

        That happened to me. I ditched those friends who told me “you asked for it.”

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    • avatar

      temperance December 12, 2012, 5:13 pm

      I’ve seen a lot of people stand up for rapists.

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  • avatar

    cdobbs December 12, 2012, 9:59 am

    LW, don’t let this person influence your life or your happiness…having said that, if or when you move home avoid this person like the plague…there is no law that says you need to acknowledge him in any way…i would not confront him however as he has demonstrated in the past that he is violent…if he shows up at your business just deal with him like any other customer (and don’t ever be alone with him!)…i guess what i’m saying is, have the most minimal contact with this individual as possible, but if and when he shows up, if you cannot remove yourself from the situation, then just deal with him in the most detached way possible (don’t be friendly and invite him into your life, but avoid any sort of action that would result in this unstable person retaliating against you or your family) best of luck and stay safe!

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  • avatar

    MISS MJ December 12, 2012, 10:12 am

    LW, there is nothing you can do about this guy living in the town you want to call home. There is nothing you can do about the fact that he essentially got away with sexually assaulting and attempting to murder your friend. There is nothing you can do about the fact that he crops up wherever you are when you’re at home. There is nothing you can do about the fact that some people in your circle apparently still associate with him to some degree. The only thing you can control in this situation is whether you let your hatred and fear of him ruin your life and prevent you from having the life you imagine and want. Why give this guy that much power over you? Go see a therapist. Let go of your anger and your fear, not because this guy doesn’t deserve your hatred (he does), but because you deserve better than to be consumed by your hatred of him. It is your focus on him that is tainting your imagined new life, not the fact that he exists. And, once you stop hating him, this guy’s role as a seemingly omnipresent menacing force in your life will fade, I suspect. But, don’t move home until you can envision a life for yourself there where this guy exists, but thoughts of him don’t overshadow your happiness. Life is too short to waste time wallowing in hatred, anger and disgust, no matter how deserving the target is. There are lots of cities. If you really cannot get past this, build a life elsewhere.

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  • avatar

    oldie December 12, 2012, 11:12 am

    This person acted very badly and committed serious crimes for which you don’t think he was adequa
    tely punished. But … you have to recognize that it is not your responsibility to punish him, in fact you have no right to punish him more than society has decided is appropriate. That doesn’t mean you have to ever be friendly toward him, or even speak to him. If he is as bad a person as you say, he is not going to feel sorry or guilty because of what you say, but will lash out at your or your family. How does that possibly help? You can never like or feel neutral toward this person, but the level of active anger that you have is messing you up. It is preventing you from being comfortable making the changes in your life that you desire to make. That isn’t healthy.

    Every city or town houses some truly loathsome people, some undoubtedly worse than this guy. I’m sure you read about them in the papers every day. You may even encounter some wherever you choose to start your business. A lot of these people are truly dangerous and you don’t want to pick a fight with them, seeing yourself as society’s or your friend’s avenging angel. That just isn’t your job. If you can’t come to terms with this, don’t return to your home city.

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  • QaraKoz

    QaraKoz December 12, 2012, 11:50 am

    I’m completely at a loss about what to say regarding your hatred of this person. While I agree with @firestar and other commentators above that it’s probably not healthy no one but you can really decide how you feel about this person.

    Instead I will say that if you do move back to your home town things probably won’t be exactly as the last time you lived there (from personal experience). Unless you are in a tiny town where everyone knows each other, your social circle will expand (especially as a business owner!!!). You can probably avoid seeing this person when you’re there long term and don’t feel pressured to go to an event this person will be at because you’re only there for a short time. The dynamics of some friendships may change and the friend s closest to you will eventually figure out you really don’t want to hang out with this person in small group settings and you can always just avoid talking to him at large events.

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  • avatar

    Lindsay December 12, 2012, 11:51 am

    Obviously what this guy did is awful, but if after 10 years, you’re still actively hating him and he’s influencing your long-term plans, then you need to deal with that. Like others said, therapy would probably help. Not only could it help you come to terms with what happened, but you’d surely learn ways to handle your anger and stress levels. I imagine that stewing over this for so long is magnifying your feelings. Not that he isn’t a terrible person, but it may be that if you stop thinking about him so much or even were conditioned to seeing him after you move home, that he’ll fade into the background of your life.

    As for the business, you are getting ahead of yourself. To determine whether or not to open a business based on whether one single person is allowed inside is giving him way too much control over your life. Do you really want to look back over your life and realize that you’ve made most of your major decisions based on how it relates to this guy? And honestly, barring someone from your business is probably going to cause you more problems than simply ignoring. He sounds like a troublemaker, and as soon as you tell him that he’s not allowed inside, you’re just going to be fanning the flames and essentially trying to pick a fight.

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  • avatar

    Turtledove December 12, 2012, 11:53 am

    I think there are three things you should consider doing in this situation.

    1. Therapy. I really think that you should get into a therapists office as part of your planning phase of moving/starting a business. You do need to let go of some of your rage– it’s caustic and it will eat away at you without doing one iota of damage to the person you are feeling it towards. Words cannot express how sorry I am for your loss and for the pain your friend went through. It’s awful and this dude harbors such evil in his heart for doing that. But you can’t punish him– it is not within your power to do so. And I ache for you, but your friend is gone and I think that if she wanted you to carry one thing of hers, it would not be her pain, her fear, or her rage.

    2. Do something to empower yourself around this situation. I think part of the reason why you must be holding this anger so tightly is because you were and are powerless in this situation. You couldn’t save your friend and you couldn’t punish her offender. So maybe you should get involved in a way that lets you help others in her memory. Whether you are working with sexual assault victims or cancer victims and whether your are giving money or time, do something active as a way of giving others the power now that you wish you had then.

    3. Get new friends. Seriously. Even if you want to keep some parts of this circle of friends, you need a new and different support system. People who want to be friends with someone who does this sort of thing are not good friends. If they don’t know what he did, tell them. If they keep inviting him around you, then they are telling you loud and clear that his comfort is more important to them than yours. I mean seriously– friends don’t make friends be friendly with rapists. So maybe that means that you make new friends in that city and see some of your old circle individually where this dude won’t be. Maybe that means you find someplace new and different to settle and start over. I get that it’s scary to start over and it takes work to make new friends, but in this case it would really be worth it to be able to go to a party and not feel haunted by ghosts of rapists past.

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  • avatar

    emjay December 12, 2012, 12:40 pm

    I would love to hear Wendy’s advice to this person, though I believe it would have been along the lines of firestar. LW listen to what firestar has to say, she is spot-on with her advice. I do not think anyone else could have said it better.

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  • avatar

    lemongrass December 12, 2012, 12:51 pm

    As someone who has been raped- and moved past it- you need to move on not from your home town but from this issue. I would highly suggest therapy. It is not being disloyal to your friend to let go of your anger. I assure you that I would never want my friends to hold anger like that about what happened to me. Anger is not a helpful emotion, it only hurts you so the best thing to do is to let go of it. There are techniques to letting go: writing a letter and then burning it, breathing exercises, etc. But you have been holding onto this anger for a long time and I truly think therapy would be able to help you find the best way to deal with it. I’m sure your friend would only want you to be happy. Good luck.

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    • avatar

      csp December 12, 2012, 1:42 pm

      I totally agree. I have lost two friends to tragic events. My sister in law’s fiance was walking on a sidewalk and a drunk driver jumped the curb and killed him. I also had a friend who was killed by her husband. It was meant to be a murder suicide but of course he lived. I still find that so frustrating.

      LW, both of these events had people who were taken by the willful decisions of another person. Both were hard for our friends and family. The drunk driver set back my SILs life. She had a man she loved and was going to marry and he was taken from her. She is still spinning years later. The drunk driver was out of jail in 9 months. The one that murdered his wife will be in jail for 25 to life. However, focusing on the way they died is no way to honor a memory. Remember thier lives. Realize that the world does not work on your sense of right or wrong and sense of justice. Stop thinking about the way you want to punish this guy and focus on the way you want to heal yourself.

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      • avatar

        temperance December 12, 2012, 5:18 pm

        I’m going to try and take your advice, even though I am not the LW.

        One of my aunts was murdered by a drunk driver (the woman literally accelerated into her car on purpose, and she’s currently being charged with 3rd degree although her counsel is trying to plead down to who knows what), and I’m so angry at her killer and how her killer lives near my uncle and sister, who need to drive past her house every day on the way to their own homes.

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  • avatar

    SallyS December 12, 2012, 1:05 pm

    I’m so sorry that this happened to you. It must’ve been a traumatic experience to go through, to say the least, and I’m not surprised that the city you say you want to call home seems tainted.

    However, I wonder if finding someone to talk this through with would help. As much as this hurt you, shaking with anger at the thought of this person living his or her life in this same city is no way to spend YOUR life. Seeing a counselor to discuss what happened and learn how to begin to detach from this awful truth that has such a grip on you might be the best course of action.

    Good luck!

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  • avatar

    csp December 12, 2012, 1:10 pm

    LW, I need to tell you a revenge story. I have a friend from high school who was kind of a mean girl. She said what was on her mind and called very insecure kids out on thier BS. She wasn’t a bully but she wasn’t someone to pull punches. Anyway. like 8 years after we graduated from High School, We were walking through the mall and this girl that graduated with us stormed over and said, “You were an awful person to me and I want you to know that I am a good person in spite of you.” My friend looked at her and with all honesty said, “I’m sorry, who are you?” now I recognized this girl but my friend did not. She needed a yearbook later to remind her. I know it is not the same, but, this girl carried around alot of hurt and anger and getting ready for this moment that she could speak her mind. Only to find out that this object of her anger didn’t know or remember her. This guy did a terrible thing. But it wasn’t to you. And, you have seen him every time you have gone home and haven’t done this grand shaming. I am curious to why you would feel the need to do this once you have a business in town? Do you see how this has gotten out of hand?

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    • avatar

      kerrycontrary December 12, 2012, 1:23 pm

      Love this example. While it’s certainly not as extreme as rape or attempted murder, it’s just like the people who hold onto the pain from being bullied in middle school or high school. They don’t let it go, and it prevents them from being a fully functioning adult who can behave appropriately in social situations and NOT assume that everyone is attacking them. When really, their bullies were probably kids who were dealing with something difficult themselves and ended up developing into normal, successful, adults.

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      • avatar

        csp December 12, 2012, 1:30 pm

        Right, but how much of “bully” situations are just people feeling left out and ignored. I was on the edge of the popular group in high school. So I could float in any group I really wanted to. People would say, “Your friend hates me.” and most the time she didn’t even know who they were.

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  • Lyra

    L December 12, 2012, 1:24 pm

    This is a really sad and unfortunate situation. I’m not going to pretend that I understand what you’re going through and how difficult it must be, LW.

    I did want to say one thing: right now this person is controlling YOU and your LIFE. This is getting in the way of your dreams of starting your own business in your hometown. You are the one who can take control of this situation. Whether that means banning him from your business or finding new people to be friends with to avoid him, you and only you have the power to take control of this. Also, forgiveness and letting go can be very freeing. I’m not saying you have to go out and forgive him for everything today. That will take days, weeks, months, and years to do. I’m saying let your decision be based upon what you and you alone want to do. Don’t let this person chase you away from that.

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  • bittergaymark

    bittergaymark December 12, 2012, 2:57 pm

    As others have said — you need to let this go… I get that it’s all very dramatic, hell, it sounds like a Lifetime TV Movie. But (sadly?) life ISN’T a Lifetime TV Movie… The idea that this person is now somehow going to come after you smacks of starring-Tori-Spelling paranoia. Surely, be that the case, this person would have probably already lashed out at half the town by now…

    It hasn’t happened.

    Again, you really need to let this go. And to do that you probably NEED a little professional help. Look into it. And please do so right away. It’s time to get your life back…

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  • SarahKat

    sarahkat December 12, 2012, 3:16 pm

    A rapist/attempted murderer, however dumb, will probably not walk into a business where he could be publicly outed as rapist/attempted murderer, so I don’t think there’s a worry of that in the future.

    And, like a lot of people are mentioning, it might not be the best idea stir up sh*t with a dangerous man. Instead of getting angry at the thought of him, focus on making it a point for him not to show up in your personal life and head space. Text your friends before you go out with them to find out if he’ll be where you’re going. If he is, go somewhere else. Staying with scenarios that will increase the odds of seeing him will just keep you hurt and furious. It isn’t unhealthy to be angry at him, seeing as he’s a monster, but it can turn into an unhealthy pattern if you keep making plans knowing he could be there and knowing it will trigger your anger.

    It wont be hard to cut the chance of seeing him down to a minuscule percent, if that’s what you want. If you catch yourself looking for reasons to be angry about him, then it might be worth to get some counseling to help relieve the grief over the awful things that happened to your friend.

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  • CatsMeow

    CatsMeow December 12, 2012, 6:08 pm

    I agree with everyone else, and I don’t have much to add. But it’s definitely time to let this go. That doesn’t necessarily mean you must forgive and forget, but it DOES mean that you must stop letting your anger toward this person control your life. If you’re actually considering avoiding your hometown, your friends, and your plans to start a business just because this person exists in the vicinity, you’re giving that person way too much power over you. You’re essentially letting them “win.”

    Live your life the way you want to without taking this piece of shit into account. Ignore them. They aren’t worth the torment you’ve put yourself through for all these years.

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  • KKZ

    KKZ December 13, 2012, 1:08 pm

    I posted it above but just in case it wasn’t seen by those lurking at the bottom of the thread:

    Don’t assume the perpetrator here is male. The LW does not use any gendered pronouns, and I assume it was intentional. Yet all those who have replied above who did use a gendered pronoun chose the male pronoun.

    I say this not to rabble-rouse or accuse anyone of sexism, but just to raise awareness. Women are capable of terrible acts too. And assuming the perpetrator is male plays into cultural tropes about men that are unfair and damaging.

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    • CatsMeow

      CatsMeow December 13, 2012, 1:26 pm

      I noticed that as well and tried to leave my response neutral. The LW seemed to take great care not to say “he” or “she.”

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      • KKZ

        KKZ December 13, 2012, 2:07 pm

        I think sometimes I’m hyper-conscious of gender issues like that. Beyond this site, the other place I spend a lot of time online is The Good Men Project, and it’s really opened my eyes to issues like the above – assuming the perpetrator is male because of the nature of the crime. I doubt it was a conscious choice by anyone who did choose ‘he” – but that just illustrates my point further, that we’re not always conscious of the negative stereotypes/assumptions we make.

        Now I have no evidence to support that this is true, but I got this eerie sensation while reading the letter that the perp may have been a caretaker for the terminally ill woman. It would certainly have given the perp the access and ability to abuse and attempt murder. (“Tried to murder” could be interpreted as “withheld medication” or “pulled the plug” etc.) This happens more often than we’d like to think, and it’s not talked about much. Again, I do not know or even believe that that is what happened in this particular situation, but it did bring that scenario to mind.

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      • avatar

        wendykh December 14, 2012, 10:04 pm

        You do realize the overwhelming majority of sexual assaults are committed by men right? It’s really not a huge stretch to assume a rapist would be a man. That said, the absence of gendered pronouns makes me think it was a woman (although most people don’t use the word “rape” to describe sexual assault between women) and the LW avoided saying so in order to try to preserve identity.

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    • katie

      katie December 17, 2012, 6:25 pm

      to add to the gender thing- i was brought up that any time “man” or “men” or “he” was used, it could mean girls too- and thats because i was brought up in a religious house and i attended a religious school, and well, the bible was not written for women, it was written for men, so all the pronouns are male, and so they save face by saying that they “meant” to address women too, so the male pronouns are both. which is bullshit, but whatever.

      i guess what i mean is that it doesnt even have to be a negative thing like a rape/murder to assume it was a male or use male pronouns- i was brought up to think that is normal pretty much all the time, and i catch myself all. the. time. doing it!

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  • avatar

    LW December 16, 2012, 3:13 pm

    I’m the LW and I just wanted to say thank you to everyone weighing in. Your responses are insightful and detailed and I really appreciate it.

    I just wanted to clarify a few things. As KKZ suggested, my decision to use gender neutral pronouns was deliberate. The perp was not a caregiver, however, and the attempted murder was most definitely not withholding medication, or anything subtle. It was violent and left no question as to the intent. KKZ, I appreciate your reading of my language. And yes, wendyhk was correct that I was trying to preserve, or protect identity, however it appears to be a relevant detail so I’ve come out with it.

    Also, to the poster who thought I was saying this happened ten years ago, it didn’t, maybe I wasn’t clear about that. I haven’t lived there for 10 years, but the assaults and death took place less than 2 years ago, so the pain is still fresh.

    I just want to clarify that the reason this issue is affecting me so much is because justice was not done. I believe this is because the perpetrator is female and that affected the judge’s opinion of her. Had the perp been male, there is no doubt in my mind that he would have imprisoned. It is galling to me that someone can do the exact same horrible crime and get off with minimal punishment because of their sex.

    So yes, the reason this is hurting me so much is because I believe the system failed my friend in the most horrible way. I’m not the type to believe that I should just trust and accept what the legal system decides because they’re infallible. They can and do perceive events through a biased lens and I believe that’s what happened here.

    I don’t think many people in the community know that this happened. Because the perp was sentenced so lightly, most people didn’t realize it happened. I have told several people and they were shocked and had no idea. I do believe that many people, if they know, also give the issue less weight than it deserves, because again, the perp’s gender.

    To Firestar, and everyone else for their excellent advice, thank you. I know I need to see a therapist, and I’m working on a way to make that financially possible. I agree that anger rots us and hurts no one but ourselves. I know that cerebrally, but when the anger is held in your body it’s hard to know how to let it out physically. Does that make sense? I guess what I’m saying is I don’t feel like I’m choosing to feel this way- I certainly don’t want to.

    Your opinions are are very valuable and I will be revisiting them and re-examining the various aspects of your collective thoughts.

    Thank you.

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  • avatar

    Ginger December 17, 2012, 1:32 pm

    The exact same question was just answered in the local Toronto newspaper. (its the second question in the column)

    Anyone else feel like the LW was forum shopping til they got the answer they wanted?

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    • bittergaymark

      bittergaymark December 17, 2012, 6:36 pm

      Right. Because ANYTIME you ask anybody about a dilemma in your own personal life you only ask only one person and just go with what ever advice he or she says. You never ask a handful of people you just better hope the first person you ask has remotely sound advice or else you’re, well, fucked…

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  • avatar

    LW December 17, 2012, 6:01 pm

    @ginger, yes that was me. i wasn’t “forum-shopping” for answers, i submitted that question months ago and received no indication that it would ever be answered by that columnist so i turned elsewhere. in fact i didn’t know it had been published until i came back here. is there some kind of unwritten rule about looking to many people for advice in a life-crisis? i’m not trying to cherry pick answers, or curate the advice i’m trying to get. i was trying to find any advice i could get on something that i’m sure you can appreciate is really weighing on my mind very heavily right now.

    thanks again to everyone who provided helpful, well-thought out advice. happy holidays to everyone.

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    • avatar

      rachel December 17, 2012, 6:19 pm

      Don’t worry, I think it’s pretty common for people to submit a letter to multiple places. After all, you never know if one will actually answer.

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