General Question

LeavesNoTrace's avatar

Would you disown someone if they were friendly to your rapist (and knew)

Asked by LeavesNoTrace (5674points) February 4th, 2015

This is not your typical “Facebook Drama” story…

For more than two years, I was in a sexually an emotionally abusive relationship with a man from a different country.

After my mother died, I went and lived with him and his parents in South America (under some duress and much prodding from him) and the abusive and controlling behavior unsurprisingly got much worse once I was far from home and isolated from my friends and family. He would pressure and/or force me to have sex with him when I didn’t want to – including anal sex – which left me with physical and emotional injuries and PTSD on top of everything else I was dealing with at the time.

I broke up with him a year ago and have made big strides getting over what he put me through, but my best friend’s mother (and my deceased mother’s former best friend), doesn’t seem to believe that he was abusive to me. She was disappointed when I broke up with him and tried to discourage me from leaving him because she had only ever seen his “nice” side and didn’t take it seriously when I told her that he had mistreated me. (He even forced me to throw out my mother’s ashes because he didn’t like having them around.)

A few weeks ago, I found out through a friend that she was still “liking” and commenting on his Facebook posts, telling him how handsome he is and otherwise heaping praise upon the man who used to leave me with anal tearing and vaginal yeast infections from forcing himself inside of me. (She doesn’t know all of the gritty details, but she knows enough.)

I shot her a brief, two-sentence message on FB telling her I would appreciate it if she didn’t interact with him because he was sexually and emotionally abusive to me throughout our relationship. She saw the message but ignored it.

I just find out that she’s still liking and commenting on his content and honestly, I’m just devastated to know this. I’ve been known this woman for 21 years and have been best friends with her daughter since we were 4. She was my mother’s close friend and took care of her while she was ill, so to say we are close is an understatement. Her not taking my experience seriously and continuing to interact with and praise my abuser feels like a re-victimization after I’ve come so far.

I gave her a chance to make it right and she flat-out ignored me. I’m hurt and I’m confused. Should I cut her off? I want to but am afraid it would hurt my friend. What should I do? :’(

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41 Answers

Dutchess_III's avatar

I would simply distance myself from her.

talljasperman's avatar

I was fondled by my father in public and at family dinners. All who saw claimed that I was a liar and I stopped talking to them for 15 years… I’m finally forgiving my family. They still are not admitting to seeing anything.

LeavesNoTrace's avatar

Why would she do this to me? I know she has a history of BiPolar disease but thought she had it under control and was more in touch with reality. I honestly feel sick over this and I’m sure the ex gets a kick of out of the virtual back-patting he gets from my family friend. That also makes me sick.

Dutchess_III's avatar

She doesn’t believe you.

chyna's avatar

Since she has been such a good friend over the years, I would not unfriend her, but I would block her and not be able to see any of her posts. Obviously they are making you miserable so this is only for your own well being. And as @Dutchess_III said, distance yourself from her.
You told her how you felt, she ignored you, so don’t feel bad about blocking her.

zenvelo's avatar

You can tell the mom she is betraying the memory of your mother. If she disagrees with that, cut it off.

Unfriend the mom, tell the childhood friend what you are doing, and if she doesn’t support you, cut off from her.

josie's avatar

Friends are people who look out for each other’s interests at a level second only to their self interest.
Otherwise, they are merely an acquaintance.
Sounds like your friend has violated that principle
Therefore they are not a friend
So, fuck em

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Since you asked, I am going to give it to you, and it may not be in agreement with you, if that is what you seek, you might be left short.

I would not disown her. How you decide to coin him is your decision to label. However, if it is true, I say _”fool me once, shame on you; fool, me twice, shame on me_”, but that is a different issue. In short, he acted in a manner you did not like, and she doesn’t believe it to be accurate. You can like someone but hate what they did. Because I may hate her still chumming it up with the ex and even believing him more. I would keep connected but make every opportunity to let her know what I truly believed happen and ask him if any of what I said was true and see what his reaction would be. To simply say I will get my vengeance by cutting her off, you are punishing yourself more than her. The choice of men was yours, not hers, she did not set you up with him, it is him you need be upset with and if you can’t even things with him, the best you can do is get over it, get off it, and get on with it. Chalk it up to the learning curve next time around.

josie's avatar

As an aside, when you say you were forced into something, to me that means you had a gun pointed to your head, NOT that you were in a position to make tough decisions.
My answer is based on that inference.
Otherwise, my opinion changes.

Coloma's avatar

Abusers of all kinds are notorious for being charming, manipulative and coming across as victims themselves. I think this is where your focus should be. Your mothers friend has probably been influenced by this guys charisma and has a hard time believing the abuse you suffered was as bad as it was. What I mention is the #1 red flag of character disordered people, the uncanny ability to get others to feel sorry for them and see them as victims.

Put the blame where it really belongs, on your exes manipulative powers not this woman who is, most likely, being manipulated by whatever image this guy is presenting.
I wouldn’t be surprised if he is/has been calling you “crazy”, another favorite tactic of sociopathic types that makes them the victims instead of the other way around.
Really there is nothing you can do, this woman has to come to her own conclusions even if you don’t agree with her correspondence with this guy.
You can’t control others, only yourself, don’t keep your pain alive by reading their correspondence on FB anymore.

Ask yourslef what you really want, more drama or peace, your choice.

dappled_leaves's avatar

Of course you should cut her off. It sounds like she is only in your life through Facebook. Simply unfriend her and be done with it. She plainly does not prioritize her relationship with you.

Dutchess_III's avatar

You can be forced @josie, even without a gun.

jca's avatar

The woman probably doesn’t believe you, as @Dutchess_III said. Maybe she feels you’re embellishing the story. I wouldn’t force the woman to choose sides. You know what happened. I would definitely make my stuff private on FB and stop following her feed, so you don’t have to be subjected to seeing it.

JLeslie's avatar

If it upsets you and she won’t stop then I think you should distance yourself from her, especially on facebook. You should hide her posts and certainly should not be friends with your ex on facebook, are you? How do you know she is liking his posts?

However, I, as someone on the outside, wouldn’t necessarily be so harsh about her not shunning him. Afterall, you knew very well his abusive behavior, but stayed in the relationship, yet you want her to just cut him off as a friend. Like I said, I think she should. Her friendship with you, and your anxiety around the situation should be more important. Moreover, I know it is not easy to leave a longterm relationship, so I in no way judge that you stayed in it. There is a horrible dynamic in abusive relationships and I have total empathy for the difficulties. But, in some ways you are asking her to be better than yourself. She’s wrong, but if you can just distance yourself for a while I would, but possibly don’t be too harsh about her inability to see what is in front of her face.

dappled_leaves's avatar

Curious – why are people suggesting that the OP not unfriend this woman? There is no reason to maintain the connection if the OP doesn’t wish it.

chyna's avatar

@dapple_leaves I only suggested that she block or stop following her posts instead of unfriending her because of the 21 year connection she has with the woman and her daughter is @leavesnotrace’s best friend. To me, the OP didn’t seem to know what she wants and seems very distraught, so I didn’t think cutting the connection at once would be beneficial. But then again, maybe it would be. I’m not a therapist.

jca's avatar

What @chyna said.

JLeslie's avatar

I suggested hiding her from her news feed, because I think if the OP felt more sure she would have already unfriended her. If she just hides her, out if sight out if mind, and if she ever wants to rekindle the friendship she doesn’t need to go through asking her to be a friend again in Facebook.

Plus, when you unfriend, sometimes the person figures it out and it can cause a confrontation the OP might not want. That’s up to her of course.

I still want to know how the OP knows the friend us liking her exes posts. For sure the ex should be blocked in every which way.

chyna's avatar

@JLeslie On Face Book on the side with the feed I can see what my friends like even if they like a person’s post that I’m not friends with. I hope that made sense.

JLeslie's avatar

@chyna I know what your talking about. I don’t see that on some if the apps I use for Facebook, but I do on my PC, which I don’t use much.

I hope that is what’s happening and the OP isn’t friends with the ex. If she hides her friends posts will it eliminate the friend from that feed you are talking about?

chyna's avatar

Yes. At least it did on mine when I hid a “friend’s” feed that was too gung ho on certain topics.

LeavesNoTrace's avatar

So if I’m not mistaken, @josie is saying that in order for it to be rape, there has to be a firearm involved… o_0

Dear sweet baby Jesus, please tell me this guy is a troll.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I would dump them years ago. I have another firearms question coming in on another rape question. If I disappear you know I got banned. Assholes

dappled_leaves's avatar

@chyna @jca Fair enough, but the OP’s friendship is with the daughter, not the mother. I’d be willing to bet that neither of you make sure to friend the parents of all of your friends. I certainly don’t. There’s not an obligation here. If the OP is worried about how her friend (the daughter) will react, she can simply tell her what’s going on – but since this is her “best friend”, I can’t believe she wouldn’t support this extremely benign action that will save the OP a great deal of hurt.

filmfann's avatar

I have written at length about my former boss, who raped a coworker, and bragged about it. I continued to be friends with people who stayed friends with him, but I always gave them those little digs that reminded them of what a piece of shit he is.

LeavesNoTrace's avatar

Hi All,

Thanks for the (mostly) helpful and compassionate answers to what I knew would be a difficult question.

Just to clarify:
the person I’m having the issue with is my best friend’s mother and not my friend herself. I’d actually prefer not to involve my friend in this because I don’t want to cause her any needless suffering; especially when it’s A) Not her fault and B) Out of her control.

One of the complicating factors in this is that I am very close to their family and even spend occasional holidays with them. My friend and I grew up on the same street, and her mom was my mom’s best friend (was even mentioned as a survivor in her obituary) and helped me care for her in her final days with cancer. So yes, person has been like family to me and I consider her to be more than an acquaintance.

To the person who wants to split hairs about what constitutes “rape”, shame on you. I know what happened to me and don’t need to defend what I know to someone who’s so intent on causing pain to a stranger on the internet and invalidating the experiences of millions of people (not just women).

Also for those who asked, I’m no longer connected to the ex on FB or any other social media. A friend of mine informed me that she was being very active on his page and I was upset to learn that considering that this person was aware that my ex sexually and emotionally abused me. She’s a nice person but a bit of a space cadet with a history of mental illness and depression and might have a bit of an old lady crush on a seemingly charming young Latino. When I broke up with him and told her some of the reasons why, she tried to talk me out of it and said that his controlling, manipulative behavior was “just his culture” and that it was because he “loved me so much”.

Keep in mind, this woman is also part of a generation who thought the obvious rape scene in Gone with the Wind was swooningly romantic. _

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, tell the friend who told you that you just don’t want to hear a thing about your ex, ever again.

LeavesNoTrace's avatar

@Dutchess_III I don’t want to hear any more about my ex. But at this point, I already know. So now my problem is less me knowing and more the fact that she’s doing this behind my back with so little regard for my feelings.

Another thing I’d like to make clear is that she has no “friendship” with my ex and has only met him a few times through my relationship with him. Other than that, she’s never had any reason to communicate with him.

Is it really that important that she comment on his vacation photos or compliment the myriad selfies he posts on a weekly basis? (Yes, he is a quintessential narcissistic abuser – charming, handsome, and extremely vain.) And like I said before, I know he’s getting off on being virtually praised by someone he knows is close to me. It validates him and makes what he did seem “okay”.

Yes, it feels like a betrayal and a revictimization.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I’m sorry for that. What do your guy instincts tell you to do?

LeavesNoTrace's avatar


I honestly don’t know. Interestingly enough, another one of my friends is no longer on speaking terms with this woman because she’s maintained a friendship with her estranged mother. That’s a bit more of a complicated matter though—they’ve actually been friends for years.

I know that my BFF (this woman’s daughter) is heartbroken that her mother is alienating friends of hers she used to be close to. I don’t know if I would do any good by confronting her directly or if I should just do a “slow fade” and not have contact with her.

She needs to realize that despite his “nice guy”/victim persona, my ex is not a good person and that I’m telling the truth.

Dutchess_III's avatar

It’s odd that another woman, who has probably known her fair share of manipulative men, would take his side.

LeavesNoTrace's avatar


Just like you said before, she doesn’t belive me.

flutherother's avatar

The important thing is that you have escaped his clutches, don’t worry about the rest. You have at least told your friend’s mother what he was like. If she can’t comprehend it so be it. I wouldn’t allow his baleful influence to disturb you anymore and I wouldn’t let it interfere with good friendships.

Mariah's avatar

A man is perfectly capable of putting fear into a woman without a gun involved. Jesus fucking Christ, man. Why make a victim’s life harder with your skepticism? Utterly sick.

OP, I’d cut ties with this woman, personally, but only you can decide what feels right. I’m so sorry.

CWOTUS's avatar

I had avoided this question – for reasons that I can’t even fathom – I hadn’t even read the question until after I got involved with the other thread and saw your response there. (I think I was considering that this “must have been more FB-type drama” – again, until I read your response there.)

Your friend is simply ignorant and delusional OR she thinks that for reasons of your own you are being hyperbolic, hysterical and exaggerating “a rough patch that you decided you couldn’t handle” and making up stories to prove your point. She sees what she wants to see, discounts your horrific story (for more reasons that I can’t even guess at; I may not want to accept all of my friends’ various horror stories about their pasts, but I tend not to simply pretend that they were all made up).

She may still consider herself your friend, but I guess the thing to do is ask yourself: Do you need a friend who doesn’t believe your account of what happened to you? Or do you want a friend who “believes in the basic goodness of everyone” regardless of what has been done to you? Or a friend who is simply ignorant of the harm that one person can inflict upon another?

I wouldn’t advise any additional confrontation, argument, attempts to make her see reason or anything like that. Just … drop her. She’s doing you no good; she’s keeping you tied to a painful past, and she’s a potential vehicle to bring that harm back into your life. I would (silently) wish her well, that she remain out of his orbit of control, and leave her alone.

And having seen a lot of what people can do to each other – outside of movie stories with scripts and stunt doubles and pat endings – I fully understand many of the various forms that “force” takes between people.

Yeah, you definitely need new friends, or at least to drop this one. And she is very likely to fall under his spell in some way and bring her own hurt on. But you cannot save everyone from himself or herself. It’s not like you haven’t tried. Let her go and wish her well – from a distance.

Inconito101's avatar

You should definitely cut her out of your life. Just the fact that she doesnt believe you and that she is not supportive at all show how bad and not much of a friend she is. Cut her off even if youre scared its scary because shes so close and it might seem you wont find another friend but trust me you will. You need space, space to clear your mind, heal and to welcome new things in your life. <3

Dutchess_III's avatar

Something you need to understand @Inconito101, is that she is not directly friends with the person in question. It’s the mother of a good friend of hers, so it’s not that easy.

dappled_leaves's avatar

Far easier, in my opinion.

Inconito101's avatar

Its even worse(not for her but the mother of her friend) shes so wrong for doing that. Her daughter should be the first one to tell her, maybe have a talk with your friend see what she says and if shes on the mother side cut both of them off

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