But about six months ago, while driving home from his house, I had a sudden sinking feeling that he had cheated on me with her. This came completely out of nowhere, but I was suddenly so sure of it. I asked him point blank if he cheated on me and he stated that he had not. However, to cover my bases, I messaged Julia on Facebook to ask why she had defriended me (somehow I believed the defriending and supposed cheating were linked). She messaged me back the next day indicating that my fiancé had hit on her one night a year ago and was “persistent,” in her terms. In addition, she stated that he had touched her inappropriately in her sleep (which is, of course, sexual assault) and that she could no longer be friends with us because of this betrayal. She also told me not to reply to her message as it would cause her too much distress, so I did not.
I confronted him with this information and he admitted to hitting on her, but did not believe it would go anywhere and was not prepared to follow through with what he was saying. He also indicated he was really drunk, which he said was no excuse. However, he said he would never have touched her in her sleep and left immediately after she declined his advances. I decided to forgive him because I firmly believe that this hadn’t happened before and has not occurred since. I also know that he truly loves me and wants a monogamous faithful relationship.
On the other hand, once in a while over the past six months, I am overcome with guilt for believing his side of the story because I am almost always one to believe the victim in sexual assault cases. I feel, in those moments of guilt, that I am betraying my friend for believing him, and I am torn. I have a very hard time believing that my fiancé would touch her inappropriately, but he also lied about hitting on her. What should I do to move forward? I have talked to him at length about this issue and he consistently denies the sexual assault allegations. Other family members have advised me that this seems very out of character and he is otherwise a very upstanding individual. I thank you for your advice and that of your readers. — Assaulted with Suspicions
You’re focusing on the wrong thing here and I suspect it’s because thinking about what you know FOR SURE — that your fiancé persistently hit on another woman (whom he has a sexual history with, no less) while he was dating (maybe even engaged to?) you is quite painful. It’s so painful that you seem to gloss over it and focus instead on the question of sexual assault as, if you could somehow find out for certain that your fiancé is telling the truth about that part, then things aren’t so bad and you can trust him.
But he HIT ON ANOTHER WOMAN. He was so persistent in hitting on that woman that she no longer wants anything to do with him. Whether he inappropriately touched her in her sleep — and who knows what that means exactly? Did he grab her boobs? Kiss her cheek? Braid her hair? Anything is pretty inappropriate when one person is sleeping and the other person is engaged to someone else — is beside the point. He intended to cheat on you. Whether you want to accept that or not, it’s the truth. A man doesn’t hit on a woman — persistently — unless there’s intention to act.
Do you want to marry a man who would get drunk and pursue an old flame? Do you want to marry a man whose actions are so inappropriate that a longtime friend wants nothing to do with him OR YOU? Do you want to marry a man who so easily lies to you about something so serious? Do you want to marry a man you can’t trust? Do you really want to marry a man whom you have enough doubt in that you’re wondering whether allegations of sexual assault may be true? He can deny sexual assault until he’s blue in the face, but that doesn’t mean anything when you don’t know exactly what it is your former friend is accusing him of. She didn’t use the term “sexual assault.” You did. She said “inappropriate touching.” Maybe your fiancé wouldn’t be so quick to deny being inappropriate (that sounds less serious — and less criminal — than “sexual assault). Or, maybe he would. He didn’t have any problem lying about hitting on her.
Look, at the very least, please do some pre-marital counseling. Hire a professional to help you sort through these trust issues, and DO NOT marry this man if you have even a lingering hint of doubt. That feeling in your gut you got six months ago about him cheating on you was a crystal clear warning bell. Please don’t ignore it. Our intuition is a powerful thing and can save us from danger if we’re brave enough to hear it and listen. A broken engagement is far less messy than a painful divorce. Be brave and listen to what your gut is telling you. Listen, listen, listen.
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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at [email protected].
Alecia August 20, 2012, 9:15 am
I think Wendy said everything that needed to be said. He intended to cheat on you and betrayed your trust by not being honest. It doesn’t matter that he was drunk- it was his intentions that made you uneasy. And like she said a broken engagement is alot easier than a messy divorce. Trust your instincts.
MMcG August 20, 2012, 9:23 am
WWS — the sexual assault (as you frame it LW) is not as much the issue as is the fact that a man that you thought was commited to you got wasted, hit on an old flame, crawled into bed with her… and would have been cheating on you had she not said no.
-Do you want to have to worry every time he goes out drinking?
-Do you want to have to wonder whether you should be getting tested for STDs on the side just in case?
-Why would you marry someone while in the course of being in a relationship with you seemingly, very casually and arrogantly, chucked monogamy when it was convenient to him? I hate to say it – but if he chased a girl that he knew you were friends with and was within your circle, he’s probably chased a few others… especially with his skills in lying and deception.
Get counseling and build that trust back up before you get married, or MOA and look back at the moment when you trusted your instincts and realized something was wrong and took care of yourself. You’re not even 25 yet LW – so many more worthy men out there that you won’t have to worry or wonder if they care capable of sexual assault. I mean the fact that it’s even a possibility in your mind tells me there are some other things that may be off in your relationship.
Addie Pray August 20, 2012, 9:26 am
WWS, for sure, but real quickly, I’m just wondering how/why/where/when the “inappropriate touching in her sleep” occurred? Were your fiance and this other woman having a friendly/innocent sleepover at the time? Did they go camping together and share a tent? Did he sneak into her room through a window in the middle of the night?! … I can’t think of any scenario where it would be ok for him to even be in a position to inappropriately touch her in her sleep. Really, what the heck?
Addie Pray August 20, 2012, 9:33 am
I re-read the letter – ok so the part where the LW says “he said he would never have touched her in her sleep and left immediately after she declined his advances” means I guess her fiance and the other woman were at her place drinking alone when the alleged touching happened? Why would your fiance be partying with another woman alone at her place? I get that engaged people are friends with people of the opposite sex, but, when I get engaged, there’s going to be a rule where my fiance is not allowed to get shitcanned with an ex-girlfriend (or any girl) alone in her apartment.
kerrycontrary August 20, 2012, 9:38 am
totally agree. I’m not even engaged and I would never be alone in a man’s apartment, drinking, especially when I had slept with that man. That’s just disrespectful. And I would raise a shitstorm if I found out my boyfriend had been alone with an ex while under the influence of alcohol.
jlyfsh August 20, 2012, 9:43 am
yeah i’m kind of confused as to how this transpired. something seems off. which kind of makes me believe the feeling she had that he had cheated on her was because of some of his other actions. something is definitely off in their relationship.
GatorGirl August 20, 2012, 11:09 am
110% agree. It’s great to have friends of both genders but you just don’t put yourself in situations like this one. Getting drunk, alone, with an ex-fling- way way not okay in my book.
temperance August 20, 2012, 8:54 pm
As I am engaged right now, I would like to say that this rule should be in place for any monogamous relationship, generally speaking, even for BFs and GFs, with very few exceptions. I have had sleepovers with my BFF in college, who was a dude, but he is gay, so it’s not like we were playing hide the sausage or doing anything besides cuddling in our PJs and watching Dawson’s Creek.
Katie August 20, 2012, 10:10 am
Exactly what I was thinking! She is so hung up on what may or may not have happenedothan she can’t seem to think about why it actually happened in the first place! That is much more important, in my opinion.
katie August 20, 2012, 11:11 am
and from that massive typo you can probably guess i was on my iphone. stupid iphone. my computer’s internet was broken, though, and then i find out its becaues there is this little sliding switch thing on the side of my computer that turns the internet on and off. and it was off.
that switch is the dumbest thing i have ever seen put on a computer.
ANYWAY my computer is fixed again.
rachel August 20, 2012, 11:13 am
Who would make a switch like that??
katie August 20, 2012, 11:15 am
thank you!! lol
Jane August 20, 2012, 12:47 pm
Haha, that reminds me of Emperor’s New Groove – “Why do we even HAVE that lever??”
Riefer August 21, 2012, 3:01 pm
I used to use it a lot actually, back when wireless internet was way slower than wired, and I wanted to switch to wired to download a big file. Also handy for troubleshooting network issues. My new laptop doesn’t have it and I miss it. 🙂 Different strokes, I guess.
Clare August 20, 2012, 11:31 am
I had one too on my old computer to switch wireless internet on and off and was CONSTANTLY hitting it accidentally and turning off my internet without realizing. So annoying!
MMcG August 20, 2012, 11:53 am
I have the same switch!! used to always get me until I realized why my internet would arbitrarily fail when moving my laptop 😉
katie August 20, 2012, 12:48 pm
glad to know its not just me you guys!!
haha i felt so dumb.
MMcG August 20, 2012, 1:16 pm
My laptop is work-issued… they had to point it out to me after I complained. I had to try really hard not to mock my IT department’s usual failings for a long time afterwards because I felt so dumb!
bethany August 20, 2012, 10:14 am
Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. Why was he around her while she was sleeping, and if she was sleeping, how does she even know that he did anything?
kerrycontrary August 20, 2012, 10:18 am
Maybe she woke up while he was trying to? Maybe they were sleeping in the same bed and she was asleep, but he wasn’t yet so he was creeping on her?
Eve Harrison August 20, 2012, 10:43 am
Let’s not suggest the woman was lying about getting assaulted. Just because she was asleep it doesn’t mean she didn’t know what was going on. Victim blaming ain’t cool, ma’am.
jlyfsh August 20, 2012, 10:54 am
i don’t think anyone is victim blaming i think they are trying to figure out the timeline of things. the timeline is weird, why is the LW’s fiance drunk in the same place while this friend is sleeping? and not weird that she is saying she was assaulted but that the fiance chose to put himself in that position. why would he stay after she fell asleep? it seems like there is more to the story than the LW is sharing and it’s obvious the friend isn’t comfortable sharing those details so there’s a lot of the story that is unknown.
SweetPeaG August 20, 2012, 11:01 am
Yea, didn’t see this as victim blaming either. There are just many pieces missing to this story.
katie August 20, 2012, 11:14 am
how in the world is that victim blaming? honestly, how?
kerrycontrary August 20, 2012, 11:00 am
Uh yeh I was def. not victim blaming at ALL. We are all just trying to figure out what happened because the details are fuzzy….
tbrucemom August 20, 2012, 10:36 am
I’m having a hard time figuring that out too. Why would he be in bed with her if they were no longer together? At first I thought it was when they were dating and was thinking how is that inappropriate if they’re sharing a bed/having sex in it, etc., but now I’m really confused. If it was him being with her while engaged I don’t even know why the LW would hesitate breaking up with him. Just the fact that he was that close to her would be the end for me.
Iwannatalktosampson August 20, 2012, 10:42 am
Agreed on all counts Addie Pray. Even thinking about getting wasted alone with an ex fling makes me want to confess to all sorts of things I didn’t do. It just looks so bad no matter how much you’re “just friends” now. Why do people put themselves in these situations? The fact that he put himself in this position shows how much he actually would have cheated.
MMcG August 20, 2012, 10:51 am
I’m also curious as to how long they have been together in total and when this incident occured… not that it would change my fundamental concern about trust issues – but still a vital piece of information that isn’t clear.
katie August 20, 2012, 11:14 am
yea- it actually could have been on of those fuzzy we werent exclusive yet kind of hookup situations that turned creepy because she fell asleep?
MMcG August 20, 2012, 11:56 am
That’s what I am thinking… was this incident in the gray area of time before the LW and SO had the monogamous conversation, and he was still interested in this other girl? Or was it 6 months after the proposal and he’s just a terrible douche??
Or it could be that the guy wants to have a more open relationship… to each his own if properly discussed in advance!
bagge72 August 20, 2012, 3:20 pm
I don’t know, they are already engaged, and this incident happened only a year ago, so unless they got engaged after only dating for a couple of months, it just seems like shady activity to me.
MMcG August 20, 2012, 3:58 pm
“unless they got engaged after only dating for a couple of months”
@bagge: are you saying this wouldn’t be normal behavior for some LWs? i’ve become so jaded by some of them lately… nothing surprises me anymore 😉
bagge72 August 20, 2012, 4:10 pm
Haha true true! It is very hard to come up with a standard time line for anything that happens after reading some of these letters. Especially after Friday’s short cuts! Wish I was around Friday to read them instead of waiting until today!
SweetPeaG August 20, 2012, 10:56 am
Addie, you are right on the money today. Good job. That is all.
Addie Pray August 20, 2012, 12:20 pm
Why thank you, SweetPea! Maybe we should try to get “AYAROTMTGJTIA” started? I like the ring to it. No? Well we can work on it.
cporoski August 20, 2012, 12:45 pm
That is exactly what I thought. My only guess would be if there was a house party that they both attended. She crashed at the house while the party was winding down, and that is when it happened. Where I live, it is the suburbs and people sleep over all the time because public transportation is not available.
Fabelle August 20, 2012, 12:58 pm
Yeah, this situation is close to what I was picturing– a party situation would explain the sleeping, copious alcohol consumption part of this story.
Riefer August 21, 2012, 3:05 pm
Maybe they were at a party together, and she passed out on a bed somewhere?
Fabelle August 20, 2012, 9:41 am
WWS. Seriously, I know this hurts, which is why you’re deflecting & transferring the guilt your fiancè should feel onto yourself. It’s understandable to want to believe him– & maybe he’s telling the truth– but reconsider if you really believe that he “wants a monogamous faithful relationship.” People who REALLY want a monogamous, faithful relationship do not persistently, perhaps aggressively, hit on anyone.
Also think about how this girl wants nothing to do with you guys because of your fiancè’s actions a year ago, & is still so distressed over it that she didn’t even want you to reply to her message. Her reaction alone indicates that your partner crossed a serious line, whether or not it was “sexual assault.” If you leave out that entire aspect of this situation, what adds up still isn’t a very good start to a marriage.
kerrycontrary August 20, 2012, 9:55 am
“Her reaction alone indicates that your partner crossed a serious line, whether or not it was ‘sexual assault.'” YES! Sometimes guys do things that make women SO uncomfortable that they never want to be around them again, even if it wasn’t rape. I had a guy once act in such a creeptastic way that I’m severely uncomfortable seeing him. My one girl friend is still friends with him and just never took it seriously enough to understand what transpired…
MMcG August 20, 2012, 10:16 am
“I also know that he truly loves me and wants a monogamous faithful relationship.”
I see nothing in this letter that indicates this is possible… how does one go from “Is my fiance a sexual predator capable of assaulting friends and former flames?” to “I know he loves me and wants to be faithful” !?!
Emily August 20, 2012, 11:43 pm
Actions speak louder than words. I can only imagine LW’s pain right now. LW, if your fiance does not agree to go to pre-marital/couples therapy, you might need the help of a counselor to process all the complexities of this situation. Your fiance lied to you about his actions with another woman, he might have sexually assaulted her, and now you are left to rectify the differences between who you thought he was and what his actions say about his character–this would be tough on anyone! Were I in your shoes I would consider taking a huge step back from the relationship for the time being to get some perspective, and seek out counseling for a level, outside perspective in this storm. Only you can know what is best from you. Good luck!
LK7889 August 20, 2012, 9:41 am
WWS – LW, you are focusing on the wrong part of the picture. Even if he didn’t sexually assault this woman, he DID: hit on her, lie to you and cause her to be so uncomfortable she isn’t willing to be your friend anymore.
Also, why would you marry a man when you can’t convince yourself that he didn’t sexually assault someone? Do you want to have to look at your husband in the morning and say to yourself, “Gee, my husband might’ve sexually assaulted a woman”? Since he’s already been caught in a lie you may not ever trust him enough to be able to get past this question.
Amybelle August 20, 2012, 9:44 am
” I also know that he truly loves me and wants a monogamous faithful relationship.” How do you know this? Because he said so? His actions kind of say otherwise. Also wanting a monogamous relationship and having a monogamous relationship are not the same thing. Try putting yourself in his place and imagine what it would take for you to hit on someone else like that. Do you want to marry someone who thought and acted like that, even once? Honestly I think you should get out now while there’s still plenty of good single guys left. You can be with someone who loves you and has never and will never cheat, why settle for less? Do you want to gamble your future happiness on someone who betrayed you? I have come to my point of view on this kind of thing based on a lot of real life experience and that of many people I know….sooner or later, the cheater will cheat again, because you’ve already shown them that you will forgive them if they do. Your boyfriend has a motive for lying about what happened; your friend doesn’t, I think the guilt you feel about believing him is your intuition trying to warn you.
j2 August 20, 2012, 9:52 am
He lied to you — there is no question there.
He is still lying to you — that’s also beyond question based on the reply by the other woman.
The actual question is how important is it to you to be able to trust your partner?
jlyfsh August 20, 2012, 9:53 am
I’m going to guess there was something he did or said to bring on the sudden feeling that he had cheated. And while he might not have gone through with the cheating he definitely intended to. And like Wendy said whatever he did made the friend uncomfortable enough to not want to ever talk to the two of you again. And like AP said why was he at her house alone when he was drunk. Why would she have been asleep when they were together? Any scenario I come up with seems wrong. And not a situation I would be comfortable having my husband in. And if he was that drunk how did he get home? I guess coming from a city with zero public transportation that portion of the story also bothers me.
And honestly sure sometimes everyone can tell a person is a jerk or the type of person to hit on women or cheat. But, most people who do that are ‘nice, normal’ individuals whose family and friends would never think that person capable of the things they did. I would definitely take a step back and think about your relationship. You are young and have plenty of years ahead of you to be married if that is what you decide to do. Plenty of time to put the brakes on things now. And if you’re worried about the judgement you will receive from people imagine going through a divorce in a few years after he has actually gone through with the cheating. Do you really want to end up there?
Red_Lady August 20, 2012, 10:22 pm
“But, most people who do that are ‘nice, normal’ individuals whose family and friends would never think that person capable of the things they did.”
Yup – I know someone who recently found out their husband was cheating, and everyone thought they had the healthiest marriage. Never would have thought they’d be in this situation. So you never know.
Skyblossom August 20, 2012, 10:03 am
Your intuition is saving you from a lot of heartache. Your intuition is waving a red flag in front of you. There must have been small things happening in your relationship that you may not have consciously noticed but your subconscious put them all together and came to the correct conclusion so I think you know the answer here. You don’t trust your fiance and even after six months of trying you still don’t trust your fiance. You want to trust him because you love him. Being betrayed doesn’t stop the emotional attachment and your fiance probably seems very sincere and honest when you’re with him so it seems difficult to know the truth. You will almost certainly never know the full trust because she doesn’t want to tell you and neither does he. You will have to know yourself and what you need. It sounds like you need trust and you don’t have it and likely never will. Trust yourself to know what you need and then go from there. Talking to a councilor is probably the best idea because they can help you sort through your issues and can help you reach make a decision but if you don’t want to do that trust yourself to know yourself and your own needs. In the end it really doesn’t matter if you know all the details, what really matters is whether you can spend your life married to this man with mutual love, trust, respect and monogamy, because it sounds like that is what you want and need for yourself.
In general, at the beginning of a relationship, both partners should be infatuated with each other to the point of having no interest in anyone else. If he wasn’t that infatuated at the beginning he likely isn’t the right partner for you. I’m not trying to say that two people should be stuck together like glue at the beginning of the relationship, I’m saying that he should have had you on the mind enough that he had no interest in climbing into bed or being sexually active with anyone else. This is something that has been researched and is a real mental, physical, chemical thing that people go through as part of pair bonding.
call-me-hobo August 20, 2012, 10:12 am
Please don’t marry this man. I have been sexually assaulted by a man like your fiance. I was 17 and he was my teacher. Granted, he was an outstanding guy as well- he won our state’s teacher of the year award. He rose money for charities, worked in soup kitchens, and helped adults get their GEDs. He badgered me to sleep with him, he told me that he didn’t feel the same about his fiance as he did me. I told him no. Once, he overstepped his boundaries. After I graduated high school, I cut off all contact with him. He married his fiance 4 months after I graduated.
Flash forward to today- He just got out of jail this month. He served two years, and now has eight years parole because even after he was married, he still sexually assaulted. His marriage didn’t stop his behavior. He continued to assault. Please, please get out of this while you can.
MiMi August 20, 2012, 10:40 am
There is definitely something rotten in Denmark on this one, LW, and it’s not just your fiance’s heinous behavior. I’m perplexed that you have discussed this with a variety of (his?) family members and god knows who else. I would be mortified to tell anyone my fiance has behaved like a total scumbag, let alone ask them for commentary, so what are you doing? Canvassing the world until you get the answer you want, which is that it is ok for an engaged man to get drunk with an ex, come on to her, tell lies about what he did, tell more lies about why she de-friended you, and generally be a complete loser? No, it’s not okay, no matter how many people you ask. You deserve better than this, so consider this pre-wedding window into the man’s shady soul your lucky break.
MMcG August 20, 2012, 10:57 am
Wow – hadn’t even honed in on the surveying of family. That speaks to a bit of immaturity… if her family says he’s a good guy that makes it all ok? and if she is talking to his family about his behavior that’s even more wrong.
How can one honestly look to be building their own family unit and creating a household when one has to ask family if their fiance is a douche that can sexually assault people!?! Who are you talking to in your family, and what version of the truth have you told them, if they are telling you what great character your fiance has and to ignore this clear red flag because otherwise he is so upstanding… methinks you are forum shopping for answers you want to hear. I can’t imagine getting anywhere close to describing cheating, much less potential assault, with my family and their reaction being to ignore it and move along.
katie August 20, 2012, 11:17 am
MMcG August 20, 2012, 12:01 pm
Thanks 🙂 Problem is I am preaching to the choir, the DW community that are probably all wiping the keyboard imprints off their forehead like I was after reading this!!
Brad August 20, 2012, 12:22 pm
landygirl August 20, 2012, 10:46 am
LW, whatever instict it was that popped into your head that told you that he was cheating is the exact same instinct you should be listening to now. Don’t think with your heart, that will only confuse you, think with your gut. If you were truly comfortable staying with him then there wouldn’t be doubts plaguing you about your decision to stay.
bagge72 August 20, 2012, 10:01 am
LW, your fiance says he hit on her, but didn’t believe it would go anywhere, and was not prepared to go through with it, yet he was drinking alone with her, and I assume was in the same room as she was sleeping in. Sounds like he was very prepared to go through with it, but if it wasn’t for her pretending to be asleep, because she got cold feet, or to drunk than he would have physically cheated on you as well.
Skyblossom August 20, 2012, 10:10 am
What he’s saying is I hit on her knowing she’d probably turn me down, meaning he hoped she wouldn’t turn him down and it was worth a try. Certainly not the actions of someone trying to be in a monogamous relationship.
bagge72 August 20, 2012, 10:41 am
Yeah I agree, he hoped she would turn him down, because he knew he would cheat if she didn’t
bagge72 August 20, 2012, 10:07 am
Just to be clear what I’m saying, is that I think they both got drunk, and started to get a little frisky with each other, and either this girl realized that he is in a relationship with her friend, and backed off, or she was too drunk, and fell asleep, and this is when this guy got to touchy feely, and took things to far which is just wrong, and I don’t put any blame on this girl. If she stopped then he needs to stop.
fast eddie August 20, 2012, 11:22 am
bagge your imagination seems to be the most likely explanation. No matter what else happened his EX took him to bed willingly. If a drunk girl invites a drunk guy to “sleep it of” the horn dog is going to bite. Perhaps she recovered from her stupor enough to feel guilty for letting it go as far as it did given her friendship with the LW. The only way the whole truth will be known is for all 3 of them to take a lie detector test and have a showdown meetup. If some touchy feelie in or out of bed were sexual assault most the population would be up on charges several times over. It’s all in the details and circumstances.
bagge72 August 20, 2012, 11:33 am
Yeah I agree, we are never going to know, and that would be enough for me to walk away if I were the LW.
cporoski August 20, 2012, 12:59 pm
I don’t think they were necessarily alone together. IF there was some house party or a few friends getting together, then this could have happened without full planning. Like they both just happened to be at the same poker game or something and she crashed in a bedroom.
SweetPeaG August 20, 2012, 11:32 am
Here’s the thing about broken trust. You can believe that the person who has done something to hurt you will never do that again. Maybe you can really talk yourself into that. But, once they’ve broken your trust so deeply, don’t they cease to be the person you fell in love with? LW, this guy did something really bad. At best, he tried to sleep with another woman… someone you considered your friend. At worst, he sexually assaulted someone and is a monster. Is that the man you fell in love with? I don’t think so.
Alcohol can make us do some silly things. I’m apt to get silly or sleepy when I’ve had a few. I get more talkative. But, I’ve always heard you don’t really do anything that you don’t secretly WANT to do when sober. The alcohol just makes you less inhibited. What I am saying here is that your fiance is a man that WANTS to sleep with another woman. Even if it was just the alcohol talking and he wouldn’t even think to do this when sober… he put himself in a situation that can be viewed as very fishy. A part of not cheating is not putting yourself in these situations. What the hell was he doing getting drunk (obliterated, I’d say) alone with his ex-girlfriend? Really? Explain that.
As I’ve heard others say on here before, my advice might be a little different if you two were already married. I might advise you try a little bit (but, wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t want to), only because marriage is serious business. First of all, he would need to stop drinking all together. Once someone does something that stupid, they have proven that they can’t handle alcohol and have lost their privileges. That’s it. You’re done. Second of all, he’d need to get into extensive therapy… both individual and couples. There might come a time that he would need to make a formal letter apology to this woman. I don’t really know what would be recommended and I’d certainly not want to make the situation worse for her, but maybe a therapist could guide him that process (forgive me if I am way off base…). Either way, the point would be he’d have to fully admit to his wrongdoings and not make excuses. There would be a lot of years where he’d have to build some trust. And then maybe JUST maybe, the marriage could be saved.
However, you’re not married. You’re young and haven’t taken that plunge yet. Walk away. Just really… walk away. I know it is hard. You think you are supposed to love someone unconditionally. But, you don’t have to. That’s a lie. You can be brave and leave and no one could blame you.
I sincerely hope to see an update. Best of luck.
lemongrass August 20, 2012, 11:33 am
RED FLAG, RED FLAG, RED FLAG.
LW, do not marry this man.
bittergaymark August 20, 2012, 11:43 am
Eh, I just don’t buy this letter… Nothing in it makes any sense. It all sounds fake to me. Very.
Caris August 20, 2012, 11:46 am
Please don’t get married.
He hit on another woman (persistently) while he was with you. Lied about it. And somehow got to be with her in her room while she was asleep. And to top it off, he may have touched her inappropriately while she was asleep.
Why do you still want to get married with him? Even if he had not intended for the persistent flirting to go anywhere (which is bs imo), flirting with other ppl (who happened to be an ex and a friend of yours too) when you have a SO (and one you are going to get married to no less!) is wrong.
RMM0278 August 20, 2012, 11:47 am
You remind me of Liz Tuccillo — writer on Sex & The City, co-author of He’s Just Not That Into You, and some other stuff. She once had a dream that her then-boyfriend was cheating on her. She literally had no other evidence but that dream. She confronted him, and he admitted it! (That takes guts because I don’t think I could ever do that based on a dream only.) Then she dumped him. (It’s in one of her books.)
I had a psychologist once tell me that dreams, gut feelings, etc. are inexplicable ways that our brains are trying to figure out stuff. Just because the resulting feelings aren’t logical or empirical doesn’t mean they don’t mean anything.
Think about it. When my cat hears a loud noise, she immediately hunches down, ears go back, pupils get really big, her nose juts forward, and her claws come out. What she doesn’t do is try to rationalize her gut instincts, which are trying to protect her. “Hmm…well the loud noise I just heard could be my imagination or maybe there’s a predator out to get me, but that’s mean to just think that so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.” It’s how she survives in the wild.
Your instincts are doing the same. I think deep down you know what you need to do, but it’s an extremely painful decision. Understandable. Please keep us updated.
Brad August 20, 2012, 12:19 pm
It’s not a good sign that he’s lying to you about important things (fidelity in this case) before you’re even married. It’s really not a good sign that this other girl was so weirded out by what happened that she wants nothing to do with him, and by extension, you anymore. It’s also not a good sign that he’s willing to put himself into situations where cheating would be easy when he’s supposed to be marrying you. It’s definitely not a good sign that his behavior is causing you to feel guilty about your own actions/beliefs.
I also think these two statements are inconsistent with each other: “he admitted to hitting on her, but did not believe it would go anywhere and was not prepared to follow through with what he was saying.” vs. “he said he would never have touched her in her sleep and left immediately after she declined his advances.” If he didn’t plan to follow through on his advances, why did he leave after getting turned down? Maybe I’m reading too much into those words, but to me, If he was hitting on her just for fun and was having fun with her then getting rejected shouldn’t have caused him to leave. If I had to bet, I’d place my money on the belief that he lied to you (presumably to your face). I think it’s more likely than not that a guy who was “persistently” hitting on a woman definitely would have had sex with her if allowed.
I know the thought of having to start over sounds like a sucky and daunting prospect, but consider if you really trust this guy enough to be faithful from now on and stop lying to you about anything important. Consider the heartache and financial burden you would incur if you were to marry his guy and he were to cheat on you. If he’s willing/considering cheating on you now when you’re not even married; there’s nothing to suggest he’ll magically become more faithful after marriage. I’m not telling you to break up, only you can make that decision, but make sure you think long and hard about your future before you say I do. His behavior is a serious red flag, so to balance that I’d think you would want/need some serious reassurance, based off of more than just words and promises, before you’d seriously consider marrying a guy that wanted to cheat on you.
And the comments like this one: “other family members have advised me that this seems very out of character and he is otherwise a very upstanding individual” are completely irrelevant. EVERYONE out there (yes myself included) is capable of sexual assault under the right circumstances. Sure some people’s characters make them more likely than others, but everyone is capable of rape, everyone is capable of murder, everyone is capable of stealing, etc. We all have a dark side. I’m sure the mothers of 99% of all rapists would have sworn their son wasn’t capable of doing that. So don’t hold onto statements like the one quoted above. They’re just fluff. You only time you truly know that someone isn’t a rapist is on the day that they died without ever having committed a rape.
bittergaymark August 20, 2012, 12:33 pm
For the record, I don’t buy tales of sexual assault where the victim conveniently doesn’t bother to involve the police. If what she says is so true — why not file charges? Seriously.
jlyfsh August 20, 2012, 12:39 pm
in this case it might have been something she didn’t think would get police attention. what if he grabbed her boobs while she was sleeping like Wendy said. I don’t think I would think to go to the police if that happened. I wouldn’t want anything to do with the guy after that but I wouldn’t report it. in cases where there is no evidence it becomes a he said she said thing, maybe she didn’t want to get in to something that would be long and involved and more than likely not end up with him being punished that severely. I can understand just wanted to be rid of him as a friend rather than dragging myself through filing charges.
bittergaymark August 20, 2012, 12:46 pm
Or maybe it’s all bullshit? My point is — we don’t know.
jlyfsh August 20, 2012, 12:50 pm
however, he did admit to hitting on her…and we don’t know for sure, however, either way he hit on another woman while engaged to her. not cool.
jlyfsh August 20, 2012, 12:55 pm
my point with that being he’s admitted to being in the situation where the taking it too far may or may not have happened. and she felt uncomfortable enough not to want anything to do with him anymore. obviously he crossed some sort of line with his interactions. the LW used he term sexual assault not the friend in question. her terms were persistent and inappropriate.
jlyfsh August 20, 2012, 1:05 pm
gah my computer froze and i was trying to edit this. oh well. other people have said it better than me below anyway!
katie August 20, 2012, 12:46 pm
and that is true of any legal matter- legal stuff takes tons and tons of time, not to mention money. i hate that people get away with stuff just because its convienient, but it does happen…
i mean, i was considering not taking my asshole landlord to court for my security deposit just for that reason. it’ll take up my time, energy and money, and is the 1700 dollars really worth that? …not that it matters anymore because the asshole filed for bankruptcy, but whatever- i still had that thought.
GatorGirl August 20, 2012, 12:47 pm
Totally agree. The amount of time and energy this girl would have exhausted trying to get what most likely would be a slap on the wrist for this guy, in my opinion, would not be worth contacting the police. I would sever ties immediately and move on. I’ve been in situations similar (ie too drunk to consent) and rather then drag myself through paperwork and re-living the event over and over I again I ceased all communications and interactions with the guy and his friends, seriously evaluated how I ended up in the situation in the first place and made positive changes in my life.
Not reporting a crime doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.
SweetPeaG August 20, 2012, 12:40 pm
Uh oh… I am just going to sit back and watch the commenting storm that is bound to follow.
Brad August 20, 2012, 12:45 pm
Because of the high focused scrutiny that the woman will come under. And in a case like this one, let’s assume it’s 100% true for argument’s sake, would be next to impossible to prove. Our system is still mostly innocent until proven guilty, so the burden of proof would be on her to prove that he crossed the line. I highly doubt she would be able to do that. Maybe I’m wrong, but I doubt you would be able to get a reliable finger print off of her shirt or pants, so the police wouldn’t be able to do anything. All that would happen is her reputation would take a hit for accusing the guy of doing something wrong.
savannah August 20, 2012, 12:49 pm
In some fantasy land where female consent is actually judged by verbal consent alone I would agree with you. But aren’t you the one always trying to bring us back to reality?
MJ August 20, 2012, 12:56 pm
And once again, BGM manages to make it a woman’s fault/problem. I am continually amazed by this. Every time I wonder how he’ll manage to do it…and he still does!
SweetPeaG August 20, 2012, 1:37 pm
He really seems to HATE women.
I am sure there are women in his life he must love… a Mom (or Mother figure), an Aunt, a sister, some friends. But, judging from his comments alone… he despises women. I am not sure if he really just loves to get everyone going or if these are genuine feelings he has.
MJ August 20, 2012, 1:45 pm
I thought it was interesting how no one responded in any way to his first comment, so he posted another more inflammatory comment below that. Well, if he wants to get people going, he certainly succeeded.
call-me-hobo August 20, 2012, 1:01 pm
Generally, in our legal system- if there isn’t any evidence of penetration (i.e. oral, anal, vaginal) or physical altercation (bruises, scratches, broken bones) then you really don’t have much of a chance of conviction.
In my case- my attacker straight up told me that no one would believe me. He said that if I did tell anybody, it would be my word against his- and nobody would side with me. I had just turned 18 and I was scared. I hadn’t even graduated high school and this man was a paragon of the community. I believed him. And even now, after he plead guilty to statutory rape and had over 2 dozen girls come forward about assaults and inappropriate propositions- people STILL believe that it was some sort of misunderstanding. He’s a registered violent child sex offender, and people still think that’s there is no way that he could have done all those things.
MackenzieLee August 20, 2012, 1:45 pm
Even if there is evidence of penetration, determining if it was consensual can be very difficult. Plus it’s just “easier” to believe the woman is a lying psycho or merely confused or ashamed of what she did than that a a man could actually do that.
Plus it’s a lot easier to say you’d report it until you’ve actually been in the situation, BMG.
MMcG August 20, 2012, 1:45 pm
People believe Sandusky… what more needs to be said.
And for the record, I think for some it’s not necessarily victim-blaming but more of an inability to even acknowledge that bad things like that happen and that people they know are capable of it – so they just cover their ears and yell “La La La” until they don’t have to think about unpleasant things anymore.
MackenzieLee August 20, 2012, 1:52 pm
I’m not quite sure why DW has become bash-women-victims-central these last few days but I’m really growing to hate it. That comment hits home very hard for me, Mark. I’ve always appreciated your point of view and your ability to stir up productive conversation. This however crosses so many lines it’s not funny. Beyond that, instead of apologizing, you are defending yourself. I don’t know what women have done that has made you hate them so much, but I’m sorry for whatever it was. But mostly I’m sorry for you.
People like you are the reason women and girls don’t report because what if their details were too fuzzy, or they were drunk, or maybe he accidentally grabbed the boob, or maybe she was flirting with him so that makes it okay right?
I’m just beyond disgusted.
bittergaymark August 20, 2012, 1:57 pm
I’m sorry that I offended any of you. That was NOT my intent. I originally said that I simply just didn’t buy this letter and clearly I should have just left if with that.
ele4phant August 20, 2012, 4:23 pm
You know, the letter is kind of chaotic, and I’d be lying if I said I was 100% convinced it was real. It might be a fake. But the one aspect of the letter that seems most believable? That a woman would be assaulted, groped, or made uncomfortable by a guy’s advances, and rather than report him or make a fuss about it, she decides it easiest and most worth her while to just have nothing to do with him anymore. That to me is completely believable and consistent with what I’ve observed or choices I’ve made in regards to creepy guys in my own life.
Wendy August 20, 2012, 12:56 pm
Oh, Mark. Mark, Mark, Mark. This is one of the more ignorant things I’ve read in any comment thread, ever. I’m so astounded I don’t even know how to reply.
“Why not file charges”? Seriously? As if re-living the assault and actually verbalizing what happened to you immediately afterward is some easy-peasey thing, like deciding to scramble eggs for breakfast or see a movie tonight? Do you have any idea what you’re talking about? Can you even begin to imagine the emotional state a woman might be in after being sexually assaulted — how she might want to crawl under a rock and hide from the world for the rest of her life rather than face a bunch of strangers and recount, in detail, the horrible thing that just happened to her? Can you imagine how some women, stripped in a matter of minutes of their sense of confidence and power, might feel like the assault was even their fault? Can you imagine that kind of shame and how it might silence them?
I was assaulted once in an elevator when I was 15. It was horrible and the last thing I wanted was for anyone TO KNOW. I thought I somehow brought it on myself. I thought if I told someone, I’d have that fear confirmed. Well, I pulled myself together and told my teacher what happened (I was on a school trip). Guess what! She told me I shouldn’t had been dressed so skimpy!! Thank God nothing like that happened to me again in the following years as I regained my confidence, because you can be sure as shit I would have kept my mouth shut the next time. And if it happened like that to me once, I’m sure it’s happened that way to many other women — women who were shamed into silence.
Have some sensitivity, and quit shaming the victim. For fuck’s sake.
Fabelle August 20, 2012, 1:03 pm
Thank you, seriously.
CatsMeow August 20, 2012, 1:06 pm
THANK YOU, Wendy. It really was one of the most ignorant comments I’ve seen, and I was trying to muster up the energy for a response, but you said everything I would have said (and more!), and said it better.
bittergaymark August 20, 2012, 1:12 pm
Honestly, I just don’t think there is any evidence in this particular situation and that the stories of ALL involved are very questionable. I dunno.. it all seems like a witch hunt… It just rings hollow to me, this letter. Sorry. But it does.
The stories all of you relate to me — don’t ring hollow. They seem very grounded in fact by the explicit detail alone. But with this letter? There is NO detail at all. It couldn’t be more vague if it tried. And I think that’s worth noting. I really do.
jlyfsh August 20, 2012, 1:16 pm
why should the friend have given the LW any more detail? it’s not her job to fill the LW in on what happened. and why would she want to talk about it with his fiance? it’s not the LW writing in about her own experience and leaving those details out. it’s obvious to me why the fiance wouldn’t include those details.
bittergaymark August 20, 2012, 1:23 pm
I guess not. But if you’re going to come forward with such a damaging story, I don’t understand why you wouldn’t want to make it as clear as possible. The vagueness on the part of the friend is just odd to me… It seems false to me.
jlyfsh August 20, 2012, 1:26 pm
she wasn’t very vague to me. she let the friend know that her fiance had crossed a line and she wasn’t comfortable being friends with them any longer. she doesn’t need to state exactly what happened detail for detail in order for it to be true.
bittergaymark August 20, 2012, 1:32 pm
But what line? I think that’s vague. Look, if he just tried to kiss her and once she stopped him, he stopped that’s one thing. But here her vagueness somehow made the LW leap to sexual assault? It is all very hazy and confusing to me. It’s odd to me that there aren’t more details…
rachel August 20, 2012, 1:35 pm
He touched her in her sleep! That crosses a whole LOT of lines!
jlyfsh August 20, 2012, 1:40 pm
i still don’t understand why she needs to define to the LW what the line is. she felt he was being persistent and inappropriate. why would she want to rehash the details with his fiance months later? and she stated she was asleep when this happened, so like rachel said any touching/kissing/physical interaction would have felt like a violation after he persistently hit on her.
Oldie August 20, 2012, 2:13 pm
Why? She didn’t ‘come forward with such a damaging story’. The guy crossed a line and she reacted by cutting him and his fiancee out of her life. Seems like not a stretch to me. For suspicions of her own, doubtless to do with this guy’s behavior, the LW is so suspicious that she messages former friend. Former friend doesn’t seem to have piled on, but to simply say the guy hit on her and touched her inappropriately while she was asleep. She is not required to give LW a blow-by-blow description. Why would you think this woman lied? We already know that the boyfriend lied to the LW, so what he says carries a lot less wait than what this woman said, when specifically put on the spot to explain the reasons for defriending.
bittergaymark August 20, 2012, 2:50 pm
Whenever exes are involved I proceed with caution. Why? I have witnessed so many people (male and female) dealing with crazy ex bullshit. That somebody’s ex would lie to wreck a relationship is NOT exactly unheard of. That somebody would sleep with their ex — willingly, and then lash out and blame the other person out of guilt isn’t exactly unheard of either. And for the record, with this last example, in my case, it was a man who pulled this shit on a woman…
The deliberate vagueness here on the part of the ex is just suspect to me.
jlyfsh August 20, 2012, 3:27 pm
it’s not like the ex approached the LW about this. from the way it seems she was never going to say anything. the LW contacted her with questions. if she was going to try and ruin the relationship there was a lot of time in there to do so. but, she chose just to distance herself. doesn’t seem like a crazy ex kind of move.
bittergaymark August 20, 2012, 3:40 pm
She passive aggressively defriended the LW… Then — when asked about this, as she KNEW she would be — had a rather vague tale to tell that put all the blame on the ex-boyfriend. That’s exactly how I would play it if I were writing a script about such a scenario. It’s clever.
Or it could be that she WILLING slept with her ex. God knows that happens, I’ve done it even. And then felt guilty about it. And I explained it away to my rightfully annoyed friends at the time (he was a REALLY bad ex) by saying: “It happened! He just showed up at my apartment and I was completely blindsided…” My friends all were so sympathetic. Especially since I conveniently left out the all important detail that the reason she showed up at my apartment was that I invited him…
My point is that there are just so many way that this COULD have gone done, based on the vagueness of the story here, I don’t know what to believe. If the story had detail and specifics I could better determine it to be true…
jlyfsh August 20, 2012, 3:47 pm
actually i’ve defriended people i’m no longer friends with in real life (the LW states they were drifting apart) because i just didn’t want to read about their life anymore. and if i was trying to cut an ex out of my life i would probably defriend his fiance i was no longer close to. and it’s not like she was asked right after it took months, months to ask. i mean if you’re trying to cause drama you would probably be more up front about it.
and i really still don’t see the vagueness here or why it matters. it’s not like she wrote this letter and then kept contacting the LW and her fiance. in fact she said please don’t contact me again. if she wanted drama, she sure did a crappy job of trying to keep it up. and honestly if she was telling everyone about this and the LW/her fiance were friends with her friends they probably would have heard about it before the LW confronted her.
bagge72 August 20, 2012, 4:07 pm
The thing I don’t get is if there are so many ways this could have gone down, why jump to the conclusion that she is lying, and then generalizing all other victims who don’t report their attacks as liars as well? Especially since this is not the LW that you are talking about, or the reason the LW wrote into DW for advice. You aren’t hearing the story from the person it happened too, you are hearing the story second hand from the person who was told by her boyfriend that he did lie to her about trying to cheat, but for some reason doesn’t believe he would lie about the shadiness that happened.
bittergaymark August 20, 2012, 4:17 pm
I’m not jumping to the conclusion that she is lying, but I’m not jumping to the conclusion that what she says is true either. My advice to the LW is not to take this info seriously until she gets more information…
iwannatalktosampson August 20, 2012, 4:21 pm
Mark – she did get the info she needed. He got drunk and hit on another chick and didn’t do what he considered physically cheating because she stopped him. How much creepier can you get? It was bad enough that she quit being friends with both of them. I mean what more do you need? You always think the LW’s are so naive about everything – well if this one stays with him she is being that naive LW.
jlyfsh August 20, 2012, 4:24 pm
i agree completely iwanna. it’s not like this guy is innocent in all of this. he’s admitted to hitting on someone else.
ele4phant August 20, 2012, 4:29 pm
I think the fact we KNOW the fiance was lying (or behaving in a less than honorable way), his credibility goes down. And therefore, a little bit more weight goes to Julia.
Maybe their both lying about the assault, but at the end of the day, if you know your fiance was actively trying to cheat on you, whether he did or did not sexually assault someone is just the cherry on top, right?
iwannatalktosampson August 20, 2012, 3:43 pm
Yet she never brought it up and just unfriended them and quit hanging out with them. What about that makes you think she cared whether they broke up or not? She clearly just wanted to get the fuck out of their lives.
bittergaymark August 20, 2012, 3:50 pm
I have a good friend, whose male ex is totally crazy. He has done so many things to wreck her life its mind blowing. He has cleverly used social media in ways that amaze me. And he always fucks her over by appearing to reluctantly say something. The scenario I put forth actually happened to her — only it wasn’t on facebook, but myspace. It was THAT long ago. Long story short, he was really cool for a while — they have a kid. I don’t know what set him off, but he had been friends with her boyfriend for a while on myspace as they shared the same profession… He then aburptly ended that. The boyfriend thought it was odd and sent him a message and he came back with a sordid tale of my friend seduces him at work and blah blah blah. At the time, truly, I didn’t know what to believe — at the time my friendship with Amy was rather new…. Neither did the boyfriend… Their relationship ended. As time went on and I witnessed how NUTS the ex was, I realized how he had royally fucked over my friend.
And they hadn’t been together in YEARS.
All I’m saying, is after that, I no longer take anything at face value. I just don’t.
bagge72 August 20, 2012, 4:14 pm
You know to many people that do to many fucked up things, which for some reason makes you think everyone else can’t be telling the truth.
Budj August 20, 2012, 4:19 pm
Bagge – you can’t have any faith in humanity….overall we suck.
bagge72 August 20, 2012, 4:24 pm
You don’t suck Budj!
BecBoo84 August 20, 2012, 3:53 pm
She didn’t really come forward per say, she only said anything after the LW specifically questioned her on it. It’s not like she was spreading some story for attention.
ele4phant August 20, 2012, 4:47 pm
I don’t understand why you think it has to be clearly described to be true. If she doesn’t feel like detailing to the police, why do you think she’d be happy to describe it in gross detail to anyone else? Particularly the guy’s girlfriend?
If I heard that my boyfriend had assaulted, or groped some woman, I don’t doubt my first instinct would be to get defensive (I’d hope I’d come around , eventually, but at first, no doubt I’d be in disbelief).
So the fact that the girl said little more than, “He touched me in a way I wasn’t comfortable with. I just want to move on, I don’t want to be around him anymore, nor do I want to talk about it.” is detailed enough.
Could she be lying? Anything’s possible. But her lack of detail doesn’t make her less believable.
landygirl August 20, 2012, 6:48 pm
The friend didn’t come forward, the LW asked her and she responded.
rachel August 20, 2012, 1:28 pm
Um, that’s because it’s a 2nd hand account. The LW only knows what the woman told her (on facebook no less!). If someone were sexually assaulted and didn’t want to involve the police, why in the world would they describe what happened in intimate detail to the perpetrator’s GIRLFRIEND??
Wendy August 20, 2012, 1:26 pm
Well, you said (and I quote): “I don’t buy tales of sexual assault where the victim conveniently doesn’t bother to involve the police.”
Some of us have just shared some “tales” of sexual assault where we, the victims, “conventienly” didn’t bother to involve the police. I hope that you — and other people who share your opinion that the only true victims are the ones who press charges — consider that there are many, many reasons why a victim may not come forward, not the least of which is the fear of not being believed.
bittergaymark August 20, 2012, 1:41 pm
Indeed. I misspoke here. I should have said “I don’t buy VAGUE tales of sexual assault where the victim doesn’t bother to involve the police…”
Honestly, it rather astounds me that in this day of age, so many still don’t come forward after such an attack. That makes me very sad. I suppose it often stems from the psychological response of denial to the sheer trauma of it all… Denial that eventually fades, but by then many think it’s too late as time has passed and evidence has been washed away.
Clearly this happens much more than I thought.
GatorGirl August 20, 2012, 1:56 pm
Denial, truama, victim shaming, being unaware of your rights and what consitutes a sexual assult, concern for lack of proof, worrying your name will be smeared, worry your family will be drug into it, worry that you won’t win your case and then what will be thought of you? There are a million reasons why anyone (not just women) are afraid to come forward after a sexual assult.
And yes, sexual assults of all varities are way way too common.
iseeshiny August 20, 2012, 2:18 pm
It’s not misspeaking to say exactly what you think. Please tell this to Todd Akin if you ever run into him.
ele4phant August 20, 2012, 3:57 pm
ele4phant August 20, 2012, 3:56 pm
Indeed. I misspoke here. I should have said “I don’t buy VAGUE tales of sexual assault where the victim doesn’t bother to involve the police…”
Uh, this isn’t better. You can find it astounding that women don’t feel safe reporting their crimes, but you should still buy that its possible. As you’ve seen, there are many instances where women feel frightened, or that their efforts will be in vain, if they report their assaults.
You can find it shocking and sad, but don’t doubt it.
kerrycontrary August 20, 2012, 4:19 pm
Ok…here’s what happens if someone comes forward and they believe they have a chance of the guy being convicted.
1) They have to go to a hospital, say the words out loud “I was raped”, then go through an embarrassing and uncomfortable exam.
2)They talk to the police and formally press charges.
3) They have to tell their family, friends, and coworkers while they go through trial
4) They then have their family, friends, and coworkers all question whether they were truly assaulted or not because unfortunately for most of history people have believed women about rape. Or blamed it on the way they dressed. Or putting themselves in a bad situation.
5) They have to go through trial, face their attacker, repeat the story outloud, and then they may or may not “win” by having him go to jail for like what? 2 years? rape with a weapon is 5-7 I believe. But about 80 percent of the time a man can get away with it. I come from a family of lawyers and convicting a rapist is hard if not nearly impossible most of the time. None of it repairs the damage that he caused.
So reporting it to the authorities isn’t as easy, satisfying, or justified as they thought.
ele4phant August 20, 2012, 3:41 pm
What sounds fake to you?
The woman cut out this man AND his girlfriend out of her life for over a year now. She didn’t bring it up to anyone until asked directly. How is that a witch hunt. While there may be no evidence, to me it sounds entirely consistent with something happening to her that made her feel very uncomfortable, so she’s removed herself, forever, from seeing him again.
Wendy August 20, 2012, 1:00 pm
For the record, I never believed, even as a naive 15 year old, that a man who “merely” shoved me against a wall and grabbed at my breasts and my ass and my crotch, would get more than a slap on the wrist. Was that worth me reporting him? I didn’t feel that it was. But that doesn’t mean that the psychological trauma wasn’t very real to me.
BecBoo84 August 20, 2012, 3:54 pm
Violet August 20, 2012, 2:23 pm
Thank you, Wendy.
MackenzieLee August 20, 2012, 2:09 pm
Has anyone seen that PSA about victim blaming and rape where instead of a rape victim it’s a man who was robbed and the police interrogate him about whether he was wearing expensive clothes and whether he sometimes gives away money (because if you give away money than it’s okay for people to take money from you too ala if you sleep with some men it’s okay for any man to sleep with you). I think it’s a really awesome PSA and I can’t seem to find it.
BecBoo84 August 20, 2012, 3:57 pm
It must not have hit the airwaves in my area yet, but it does sound awesome! I’ll keep my eyes open for it.
SweetPeaG August 20, 2012, 2:22 pm
I really want to say something regarding BGM’s comments… but I am having a hard time formulating the best way to say it right now. Ugh. As I said a few comments up, I am not sure if he is just trying to stir up trouble. The internet is full of “trolls”, so I guess this could be a case of that.
But, on the chance that BGM truly doesn’t understand why a woman doesn’t always report assault… here goes. It can be shitty to be a woman. I am sure being a man comes with its own set of problems. And I know being gay man comes with a whole different set of challenges. But, just so you are aware, just walking around as a female can be a real bitch sometimes. Here’s some reasons (and there many more) that a woman might not want to report an assault.
1) I’ve lived in a bad neighborhood in the past and would often walk to work, as it was really close. I’d occasionally get cat called or have male passersby say things to me that made me really uncomfortable/borderline frightened. I was once talking to about it with a male coworker. His response? “Oh, you like the attention. Typical girl”. Nice… there’s an attitude that could make a woman feel less inclined to say something. Now, I am not saying I was “assaulted”, but I imagine someone who was assaulted could be greeted with that response. You feel stupid after someone says something like that to you and are less likely to speak up in the future.
2) I also once had an “admirer” at work. He was married with several kids. But, he’d follow me around, try to sit with me at lunch, and would say creepy things like “You need to give me a chance. Come on, baby”. I hated it. He made me afraid at times. But, I never reported it. Even after my boss came up to me (because she’d heard a rumor) and asked if I wanted to file a formal complaint, I just said “No, if he could just be asked to leave me alone. I don’t want him to get in trouble”. Why? Because talk around work was that there’s always those girls who make a too big a deal about things. They need to learn to take a joke and not be so serious. God forbid… I wouldn’t want to seem like one of “those girls”.
3) My Mom was once assaulted by a Doctor when she was very young (so, it was probably the early 70s). She never told an authority… just left the office crying that day. She was a teenager. She was afraid. She was embarrassed. She didn’t know who she would even tell. Her family is the kind of family that doesn’t talk about that sort of thing… you forget it happened. That’s another reason some women don’t tell.
4) As others have said, she’d be forced to prove something. What if he only groped her? There’s no physical evidence. What if she was drunk and fell asleep? She knew something icky happened to her, but that’s about it. How is she going to prove that?
5) She just wants to be done with it and with him. He assaulted her, but she doesn’t believe it is enough to get him in trouble with the law. He gives her the creeps. She’s afraid of him. But, as long as he stays away, she’s ready to just be done with it.
None of these reasons make her a liar or the situation fake.
bittergaymark August 20, 2012, 2:33 pm
Actually, the whole tone of the letter seemed odd to me. I mean are there REALLY that many women out there that still want to marry the fiance that they now think is a rapist? I hope not.
Caris August 20, 2012, 2:44 pm
Haven’t you read any of the letters Wendy gets? There was this one about a woman finding child porn on her husbands computer and she asked if it was ok to stay with him or something like that.
Unfortunately some ppl can’t or don’t want to see how wrong/messed up things their SO’s do are.
SweetPeaG August 20, 2012, 2:45 pm
I hope not too.
And, a letter always could be a fake, I suppose. I guess I have a hard time getting in the mindframe to understand why people take the time to write a fake letter. ::Shrug::
Brad August 20, 2012, 3:03 pm
For the lulz SweetPeaG, for the lulz! The satisfaction that they’ve wasted time time of hundreds of people and possibly made some of them angry.
For the record I’ve never submitted a fake letter or trolled, but given that I play videogames online I’ve experienced the mentality many times.
katie August 20, 2012, 4:29 pm
sweet, sweet lulz….
katie August 20, 2012, 2:53 pm
i think it has a lot to do with what someone mentioned above- a rapist/murder/theft’s mother is going to believe that her little boy is a good boy and its a lie or someone trying to entrap him or whatever..
ive said this before, but it needs to change: when something bad happens and you see it on the news or something, everyone is all up in arms- that monster should be excecuted! he isnt fit to breath our air! bla bla bla whatever… but when someone you KNOW is in trouble for something (so, in this case, the LW who has promised to marry the guy), its all, oh it wasnt that big of a deal, he has already “gotten help and changed” a la the celebrity sex rehab, its not his fault, bla bla bla. personal connections really skew perception. its sad.
Fabelle August 20, 2012, 3:10 pm
But BGM, she DOESN’T think he’s a rapist. The whole point of the letter was her trying to come to terms with the fact that she “doesn’t believe the victim.” Why would you think this letter is fake? Like, what even would be the point of faking a letter with this bizarre plotline? Only real life is like this.
Also, I hope you’re not only sorry for offending everybody & nothing else. Maybe you think this letter is vague, or off (& like somebody said upthread, it’s a secondhand account, so of course it is) but please inform yourself before making such sweeping generalizations about a sensitive subject. Seriously, there are well-known psychological & societal reasons why women often don’t report.
bittergaymark August 20, 2012, 3:24 pm
Again, I misspoke. I was responding to THIS letter specifically when I typed the comment that inflamed this letter. Clearly, I should have said — “I don’t buy VAGUE tales of sexual assault FROM EXES where the victim doesn’t bother to involve the police…” That’s actually what I meant, honestly.
bethany August 20, 2012, 4:39 pm
Just for the record- she never said she thinks he’s a rapist.
Caris August 20, 2012, 2:36 pm
I’m walking down the street and a dude decides to grab my ass/crotch/boob and then keeps walking.
How do you suggest I report this? If there is no one else walking down the street and there’s no way to prove that someone grabbed any part of my body. And I have no idea who this dude is. You suggest I drag the asshole by the ear to the police station?
Lindsay August 20, 2012, 4:03 pm
Last year, my neighborhood was struck by a string of sexual assaults of that natures (20 or so). Most of them weren’t witnessed, but the cops took statements and eventually released a sketch and other info. It’s important for other women in your community to know that there’s a perpetrator out there, and possibly what he looks like. They and the cops can be on the lookout in case he tries again.
Caris August 20, 2012, 5:23 pm
I was walking back to my house from school. I was exactly 1 block away from my house. I never saw the dude until his hand was on my crotch. I froze for a couple of seconds, and then I turned around but instead of just going for a hit I shouted first ( I called him an asshole, a pervert, a son of a bitch,etc), so he turned around and was able to block my lousy attempts at hitting him. And then he tried to grab my ass. It was horrible. Maybe if I knew anything about self defence. But he was quite taller and bigger than me. The realization of what happened hit me when I got home. My mom and my brothers where not home. And I had no idea what to do. So I didn’t report it. I am not sure what the reaction at the police station would have been if I had gone and said “Hi, a dude just grabbed my crotch in the middle of the street without my permission. I have no idea what he looks like or what his name is. I would like to report him” (note: I live in Argentina)
This happened back in 2009, in august I think. It was cloudy, rainy and cold.
MMcG August 20, 2012, 4:11 pm
That actually happens on the street in DC… except it’s a perv on a bicycle and they just go moving past really quick on wheels and reach a hand out and under. Like a modified version of robbing someone’s purse. Have read lots of tales online, include plenty that have reported it, but haven’t seen one perv caught.
TO add to the list above: girls are also conditioned not to make a fuss and get along from a very young age whereas boys are encouraged to battle and defend their turf. Think of all the studies that demonstrate one of the reasons professional women make less than their male peers is because we don’t negotiate salary… if we are conditioned to just go along and not make a fuss with the person across the table that is offering us a job, what in the hell do you think the average girl/woman who has experienced the arm wrestling dance of no with a date or person in authority is going to do?? Three guesses, first two don’t count… and the words “report” and “police” aren’t in the answer.
kerrycontrary August 20, 2012, 4:21 pm
Really!? Omg I live in DC I never heard of that. Although last week the news did a story on some guy asking women for directions and then videotaping up their skirts at my metro stop. I would also like to go to the grocery store 1 TIME without having a scary man come up to me in the parking lot. And a girl in my neighborhood had a guy fondle himself and chase her. But she did report it (good girl).
MMcG August 20, 2012, 4:33 pm
I can’t remember where I read about the incidents… dcist? WAMU? Not the Post for sure. Pretty freaky, it was downtown/DuPont area I think. I would probably get so mad I would run out into the street after him and get hit by a car.
I hate the videotaping guys, have read about that happening so many places. Talk about the saddest and most pathetic of the perverts
SweetPeaG August 20, 2012, 4:35 pm
I had a strange guy come up to me in the grocery store, arms outstretched as if to grab me and stopped within inches of my face, as I was trying to jump away. He then laughed and said “JUST KIDDING!”. What?! Just kidding? What the hell kind of joke is that? I do think he was drunk. I don’t know who goes to the grocery store drunk in the middle of the day and runs at women.
It is crazy how many stories we all have of weird guys making us feel afraid when we are just going about every day tasks.
bethany August 20, 2012, 4:31 pm
The girl involved didn’t call it Sexual Abuse, the LW did.
For all we know, he could have touched her arm or kissed her on the cheek.
ele4phant August 20, 2012, 4:36 pm
Still inappropriate. If you had turned down on a guy, and he touched you in a romantic or quasi sexual way after he knows you aren’t interested, its still violating your boundaries. To say nothing of the fact he was involved with another woman.
bethany August 20, 2012, 4:43 pm
I don’t argue that it’s not inappropriate- it is for sure, but it’s not SEXUAL Assault. I’m not defending a perv nasty guy who gropes women in their sleep, however, none of us knows what actually happened.
For the record, I think the guy’s a loser, and she shouldn’t marry him.
jlyfsh August 20, 2012, 7:06 pm
technically i think inappropriate touching and unwanted kissing or other unwanted sexual advances are considered a form of sexual assault. although like you said the friend in question didn’t use those terms it was the LW. and no matter what the guy like you said is not someone i would be able to trust again.
temperance August 20, 2012, 8:59 pm
Are you suggesting that all women who choose not to file a police report when they get raped are lying, or that the ex-friend of this couple is lying? There is a huge difference.
stilgar666 August 20, 2012, 3:37 pm
WWS. This dude is scum. MOA
Lindsay August 20, 2012, 3:58 pm
Wendy is so right. In terms of your relationship, it doesn’t matter if he assaulted her. He shouldn’t have been hitting on her and shouldn’t have been around her while she was sleeping. He also lied to you.
Flake August 20, 2012, 4:33 pm
By the way, the victim never called it ”sexual assault”, she just said that ”he had touched her inappropriately in her sleep”. I don’t understand how she can be accused of lying. And that is more than enough reason to cut the guy out of your life.
Red_Lady August 20, 2012, 10:02 pm
Wendy, you are just amazing! I had no idea what to think as I read this letter, and your response just made so much sense!