(Artwork: Tess Emily Rodriguez)
She’s made all the mistakes, so you don’t have to… Ask Erin is a weekly advice column, in which Erin answers your burning questions about anything at all.
This is something that has haunted me for many years.
When I was 17, my best friend had a new boyfriend.
I hadn't seen her for some time as she had moved in with him and she insisted that I come to spend a weekend with them. He was a couple of years older than us and could drive and buy alcohol.
My friend wanted to party, and her boyfriend went out and brought a couple of bottles of liquor. We were all drinking, and I noticed that the boyfriend hadn't been drinking all that much but seemed to be quite happy to keep pouring drinks for the two of us. I didn't think too much of it at the time.
Later on, my friend pulled me aside and told me that her boyfriend was quite interested in having a threesome with us. I laughed it off and declined because I was a virgin at the time and losing my virginity in a three-way with my friend, and her new boyfriend was definitely not on my to-do list. The topic of sex was discussed some more, and I made a few jokes about how it was no good talking to me about that sort of thing. I had absolutely nothing to add, just trying to joke my way out of an uncomfortable situation.
The boyfriend started talking about how he had friends that he could set me up with to help me out and I laughed, and I think I said something along the lines of that would be very nice, thanks. I was very drunk and my friend even more so.
She passed out, and the boyfriend insisted on helping me to the bedroom that I was sleeping in. I didn't want to appear rude, so I accepted his help. He escorted me to the bedroom and hugged me. And this is the part that saddens and confuses me. I hugged the boyfriend back, kissed him on the cheek, and told him that I didn't want to be a virgin anymore, that I really should try this "sex thing." I meant about him setting me up with a friend, but I think he took that to mean that I wanted to have sex with him.
I went into the bedroom, got undressed, got into bed, and turned the lights out. I was close to passing out myself when I heard the door open.
The boyfriend climbed into bed with me, got on top, and had sex with me.
I'm ashamed to say that after it was over, I sobbed in his arms about what a slut I was and what a terrible friend I was. His way of "comforting" me was to climb on top of me again.
After that weekend was over, I barely spoke to my friend, and I don't see her all that often anymore. We are still friends, and she is still with him. I don't think she knows what happened and if she does, she either pretends it never happened because I'm sure he would have told her that I hit on him or she chose to ignore it as she does with the other women he cheated on her with.
The topic of that awful night has only been brought up by him once. It was a few weeks later, and he emailed me and told me that he would "never forget that amazing night because I was so wonderful in bed." I read that, emailed back “thanks," and threw up.
Just thinking about it now makes me feel sick, but I don't know whether I feel sick because I was raped or whether I am just that terrible friend and drunk slut.
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Okay, first of all, you are not a terrible friend or a drunk slut. Please stop beating yourself up about this.
If you could go back in time, would you make different choices? Maybe.
But, you were 17 years old. At the very least, this was statutory rape.
This boyfriend of hers took advantage of a drunk minor, who he plied with alcohol. EVEN if you kissed him, EVEN if you commented about not wanting to be a virgin anymore, at no point did this adult man obtain consent.
I am so sick and tired of men who prey on young women in the murkiness of youth and booze and inexperience.
I am so sorry that this happened to you. I am so sorry that you have spent however many years beating yourself up over this.
Secondly, I want you to write two emails — one to this asshole and one to your friend. I want you to get all the truth out, and then set those emails aside for a while. Save them as drafts. After you’ve received some support and had a little distance, revisit them, revise as needed, and if you feel as if it will bring further closure, send them. But let yourself have the time and space to consider that before you do. I think that the act of writing them alone will bring you some closure.
If I could go back in time, I would hug that 17-year-old girl and assure her that she is not a drunken slut; she is not a terrible friend. She is the victim here.
And I see her and believe her.
The information within Ask Erin should in no way be interpreted as medical advice because I'm not a medical professional. But I am here to help — to share with you the wisdom I've gained after years of making mistakes. If you have a question for me about relationships, addiction, dating, friendship, depression, sex, consent, what I’m watching, what I’m reading, Magnetite, or anything at all, use the contact form below or email me at email@example.com. As always, your anonymity is golden. Lastly, I’m so excited to share my Ask Erin Self-Care Guide, free when you sign up for my weekly newsletter. xoxo