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November 21, 2018 - Welcome Guest!

Advice » Hard Knocks

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Rape Denial

Question:

My best friend was drinking, and she went to this guy's dorm room. She was so drunk that she was very out of her senses. The next thing she knows is that a guy she very much cares for starts undressing her. She knows that sex happened because she is sore now a couple days later. The problem is that she doesn't think that it is his fault. Or that he raped her. But she gave no sort of consent or any such thing. So it was rape. But she says she loves him and she doesn't think he'd ever do such a thing to her.

How can I make her understand that she WAS actually raped by this man?

Patti (18 year-old woman) from Virginia Beach, Virginia

Answer:

Dear Patti,

I am sorry to hear about what happened to your friend. I would agree that this is a case of date rape, but there are really a couple of issues here. Getting intimate with someone is a serious and glorious thing. I feel strongly that it should only occur between consenting adults who have all their faculties up and running. Your friend did not because she was drunk. In fact, she was drunk enough to not remember large chunks of time. This is called a black out and it is a serious event. Most clinicians who work with substance abuse believe that a black out constitutes alcoholism and I would agree with this. Passing out is a bit different. The body passes out when someone has drank enough to almost die and the body shuts the person down so that they can no longer drink.

A black out means that the person drinking loses complete or partial time (patchy memory) and therefore can continue to drink. This only happens when tolerance to alcohol is present, which is another sign of alcoholism. The person at that point may look relatively fine, yet drunk, but they are not aware or only partially aware of what they are doing.

Other signs of alcoholism are a family history of the disease, marked personality changes at times when the person drinks, some withdrawal symptoms, a history of DWI's or driving drunk without getting caught, and periodic destructive things happening to someone when drinking. Usually though these symptoms are slow to develop and take years to present themselves. Black outs often happen early in someone's drinking career. So you might want to show your friend this response just to not miss anything.

No one evidently knows what really happened that night other than the boyfriend. Whatever it was, it wasn't good and it certainly did not fit the criteria for healthy sex because one of the partners was significantly impaired. I don't know how much the boyfriend would see it this way. When people are drunk they often can come on very seductively because they lose inhibitions. Evidently your friend likes and is attracted to this person so that makes this more likely. I also don't know if the guy knew she was having a black out.

My belief though is that it does not take a rocket scientist to realize when someone is impaired enough to make sex dishonorable. My guess is that he took advantage of the situation and knew this. This should not have been done and so I feel it fits the criteria for date rape. Date rape is not as clear as standard rape because often the two people have some feelings and attraction to each other. It can also happen by just one person going farther than the other person would like and it can range in violence.

You cannot force anyone to see it the way you or I would, however. It sounds as if she still cares for him and therefore denies the seriousness of the offense. All you can do is tell her you care and maybe talk with her about some of the issues I have brought up. My guess is that you have already done so. I also don't know how typical this is for this guy. Did he act dishonorably once, which is serious enough, or is this a pattern for him and defines him? She will eventually find out. It is always hard when you see a friend making what you feel is a serious mistake, but everyone has to run their lives as best they can. I hope this has been helpful.

Good luck,

Jef Gazley

This question was answered by Jef Gazley M.S. Jef has practiced psychotherapy for twenty-five years, specializing in Love Addiction, Hypnotherapy, Relationship Management, Dysfunctional Families, Co-Dependency, Professional Coaching, and Trauma Issues. He is a trained counselor in EMDR, NET, TFT, and Applied Kinesiology. He is dedicated to guiding individuals to achieving a life long commitment to mental health and relationship mastery. His private practice locations are Scottsdale and Tempe, Arizona. You can also visit Jef at the internettherapist, the first audiovisual mental health online counseling center on the net.

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