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Rumours after forced sex

A friend of mine was forced to have sex and the whole neighbourhood, including the church, got to hear about it. The rumour was that she had had sex. It’s only me, my friend, and the guy who know that it was forced and not voluntary.
She is really struggling now, but she doesn’t want to go to the school nurse, (we don’t go to the same school), as she doesn’t think the school nurse will understand how it is to be rejected. I am really worried about her, as she seems quite different – quieter and sadder. I don’t know what I can do for her, and she hardly ever wants to be with me now. She has almost no social life now, and we can’t talk about anything any longer, as everything goes back to her being forced to have sex, the rejection and the rumours... I can understand to some extent, as the school nurse is not a Christian and can’t understand the situation, and the people who we should feel safe with at church won’t understand as they think sex is ‘wrong’.

Hi and thanks for your question!

This sounds like a very difficult and painful situation to be in. It’s great to hear how much you care for your friend, you understand her and you notice how this experience has changed her. That’s a good starting point!

We think it sounds like your friend needs help, but we understand that it is hard to look for help when she is so afraid of being condemned by people. Could you tell her that you see that she has changed, and that you are worried about her? Perhaps just by saying this you can help her see that she needs help, and that she can dare to involve some adults who can help her.

Doing something sexual to someone who doesn’t want to is assault and it is illegal. It can be painful and difficult to tell someone else about an experience like this, as people may feel guilt and shame and are perhaps afraid of not being believed. But it is still important to get help so as not to carry the pain and discomfort alone.

The school nurse could be someone who could listen to her, show respect and help her to work through this experience and the way she’s been received after it. You write that she doesn’t dare go to the school nurse as she’s not a Christian and can’t understand. Our understanding of the changes in her temperament and her behaviour, and the fact that she is so afraid, confirms that your friend needs someone to talk to, and she can expect to be well received even if the school nurse is not a Christian and perhaps can’t quite understand the church’s reaction.

You could offer to go with her and talk to the school nurse or another adult who you both trust. Most school nurses are used to talking with teenagers who have been forced to have sex, and know what your friend needs in this situation.

However, if your friend doesn’t want to get help, we think it is important that you don’t carry this burden alone. It can be tough to worry for friends, and this is a burden you need to share with someone. Is there an adult who you trust, who you can share this with? If you talk to an adult about her, it’s important that you are open and tell her about it beforehand. You can say that you think it is so serious that if she can’t talk to anyone, you want to help her. If ‘everyone’ knows about this and no one talks to her about it, then a lot of people will treat her wrongly. Some adults should have got in touch with her and given her support and the opportunity to tell them what happened. We don’t think every Christian would meet her with understand and grace, but we are certain that there are some who want the best for her and can help her to get help, and to move on in life in a positive way.

If you still can’t get her to talk to anyone, you can recommend that she call a helpline where people can be anonymous, these are usually free of charge. Check which are available in the country you live in.

We hope that both of you will be brave enough to get help and we wish you all the best in the future.

You can also read:

Have I been raped?
I just had sex but didn't want to

Best wishes, boyandgirl.info

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