I think my friend sexually assaulted me, but I still want to be their friend. Am I being naïve?

Nyoom

Learning
To put things briefly, on the 1st of January a friend of mine (K) did something that I think dances on the line between sexual harassment and sexual assault. They've been my friend since we were in secondary, around 7-8 years now, and we've always been close. So close that I felt no issue disclosing the experiences I've had with COCSA and the other experiences I have had with things like sexual harassment and otherwise predatory behaviour growing up. They knew I had specific boundaries, and while I am not exactly shy about sharing aspects of my sex life with friends (we are all very close knit and open, to the point that we tend to overshare to each other), I make my boundaries clear. They violated those boundaries on 2 occasions. The first one wasn't that bad, they essentially accidentally triggered my memories of the COCSA I went through by repeatedly asking for sex as a joke, and then accidentally (I want to stress accidentally, they fell over as they have 0 coordination and grabbed my boob) touched me, the combination of which sent me into a bit of a spiral. They were extremely apologetic as soon as they were sober enough to realise what happened and why I was upset. I was quick to forgive as I took it as them drunkenly making jokes that went too far especially when combined with the accidental touch. Generally, an accident that they said wouldn't happen again. I didn't blame them, more so myself for being so sensitive and letting my emotions get away from me. However the more recent example was a lot less accidental.

To put it short, they got extremely drunk. They have an issue with emotional drinking, and despite drinking with us on other occasions and being fine, this time their emotions took hold and they began drinking excessively. They have severe mental health issues (depression, anxiety, OCD, etc), and was about to finish therapy (as in the UK, unless you're going private the services usually only are able to support you for a small amount of time, 24 weeks maximum for most services) so I believe that's what triggered this outburst. Without going on too long, this lead to a steady escalation of bad behaviour which eventually led to my boyfriend and one of my friends to try and hide the alcohol. K tried to fight my boyfriend, which btw was a terrible idea as my boyfriend is a black belt and buff as f*ck meanwhile K is a twig, but they then almost started smashing glasses, so I grabbed them while my boyfriend and other friend sorted out the alcohol situation. I restrained K by putting their hands behind their back. That's when they started to touch around my vagina, but not in a gropy way. It was more like tapping, fairly hard tapping but not painful. This freaked me out and I told them to stop, because they were touching my vagina, when they responded along the lines of "Oh am I? Well you put my hands there." and then continued. I let them go and fortunately my partner came back and basically had enough and decided to kick them out the house, one of my friends offering to walk them home so they didn't get hit by a car while drunk or something.

I want to clarify I don't think the touches were sexual in nature, which is mostly why I question the status of this event as a sexual assault, but either way it was a major crossing of my boundaries and put me in a really bad place mentally. Some have told me it would count as SA because regardless of intent they continued when I said no even when I mentioned it was in a sexual area, but idk and I don't really have the energy to care. I do, however, see it as an attempt to emotionally hurt me, as I was still holding them back. Regardless of if they actually had malicious intent, or if they just weren't thinking, the main thing is they set me off into some sort of panic attack or breakdown, and I only remember parts of it but my boyfriend describing that after they left I locked myself in the bathroom and when I eventually came out I started sobbing and begging him to still love me, terrified he'd leave me and terrified I would have to go through everything I went through with the recovery from the COCSA I experienced again. While I didn't completely revert back to where I was before I started therapy for the COCSA, I was set back a bit, and have been struggling with my mental health more so than usual since. So needless to say, for about a month and a half or so, we didn't speak to K at all.

However, this is where my worries come into play. We eventually did start talking with K again, and while there's still awkwardness, and I still wouldn't feel comfortable seeing them in person (we have all agreed we will not be going drinking with them again), we talk online fairly often. They apologised the day after the event happened, and was respectful when I made it clear I didn't want to speak with them for a while, and has made plans to stop drinking and sort out their issues. So while it is still slightly awkward, I am still their friend, and I feel oddly guilty and wrong about this. I feel like I shouldn't be, because of what they did. Part of me feels what they did wasn't that serious and I am just being sensitive, but another part of me knows it still effected me and worries that they might do it again. And I feel like, if one would class this as an SA, I shouldn't even be friends with them at all because knowingly being friends with someone like that is morally wrong under my personal ethics system. But, similarly, I don't want to believe the actions taken that night are indicative of K's actual personhood. They were extremely drunk and was doing things they wouldn't normally do. Not that being drunk excuses that sort of thing but even so I want to give them a second chance, but that leads back to fears of it happening again.

Idk, I want to hear others thoughts on this. On one hand, I want to forgive them because I really don't think K wanted this anymore than I did, and I can tell they feel horrible about it. Not to mention we have been friends for so long. K doesn't do this normally, the last incident which was an accident anyway was about a year, maybe two (my time keeping skills suck) years ago. They also promised to sort out their drinking issue and seek more intensive therapy for their issues. But K has definitely broken my trust, which has left me so conflicted on if I am just over reacting, if I should be their friend at all, if they'll do this again, if they even really care about me, etc. Like, I don't ask much from my friends, just they respect my boundaries. But here we are. I am just so confused on if I am choosing the right course of action, as I have been known to be overly forgiving in the past. The chronicles of my numerous past shitty friendships are insane yet most of them lasted 2+ years because I either didn't realise the things they were doing were wrong since I was so used to that sort of thing, and/or because I gave them the benefit of the doubt over and over again until I had to cut them off. I don't want to throw away a friendship over something that, when put into perspective, seems so minor, but at the same time it was deeply hurtful. But I also don't want to be hurt again or be foolish.
 
It’s sort of a tightrope walk. For you, it seems that you have discerned that their intentions were not to sexually assault you, but you felt hurt due to flashbacks about your previous sexual abuse. They crossed your boundaries when drunk but took responsibility for it as soon as possible.

For me, if I had a friend who visited my house and was nice but clumsy and repeatedly broke my things and spilled messes, even if it wasn’t their intention, I would limit my interactions because they would stress me out every time. Know what I mean?

Just because someone’s intentions are good doesn’t mean you have to make excuses or stick around for them, especially when they are unable to have enough self-control to respect your boundaries.

In terms of processing what happened, there is no rule on how long it takes to get over an event, that all depends on where you are in your recovery and what your coping skills are like.
 
I want to clarify I don't think the touches were sexual in nature, which is mostly why I question the status of this event as a sexual assault, but either way it was a major crossing of my boundaries and put me in a really bad place mentally.
It’s pretty standard self defense to do ANYTHING that makes the person holding you
- In pain (softening technique)
- Surprised (startle technique)
- Uncomfortable (Disgust/Revulsion technique, triggers a gut it OFF me response to what they’re “supposed” to be holding onto)

Genitalia is the BEST way to achieve all 3. (Although eyes and throat are better softening techniques, blind or stop someone breathing, and you’ve generally got at least 2 seconds to start breaking joints).

Ideally you grab and twist someone’s genitalia so hard they see stars and start puking (male or female, there’s a lotta nerves and delicate tissue there), but even just tapping/stroking can surprise/alarm someone so much they either let you go, entirely, or relax their grip on you out of fear/disgust/surprise.

If you don’t have genitalia in your reach? Licking them won’t cause pain, but surprise/disgust, and you can follow up a lick in one place with a bite in another. I’ve licked peoples faces, causing them to pull back and then ducked down and bit the hell out of whatever fleshy anything I can reach.

^^^
Long and short of it?

She was defending herself from someone attacking/restraining her.

Whether or not you want to be friends with someone who gets so violent when drunk that you have to subdue her? Is a personal choice.
 
Whether or not you want to be friends with someone who gets so violent when drunk that you have to subdue her? Is a personal choice.
All friends aren't necessarily good drinking buddies. In this case, maybe a lot depends on whether or not the person really does anything to handle their own problems.

Good friends aren't easy to come by. I'd weigh the pluses and minuses of the person before I decided to walk away from them. Because no one is perfect. Including me and I sometimes need my friends to give me a pass too.
 
It’s pretty standard self defense to do ANYTHING that makes the person holding you
- In pain (softening technique)
- Surprised (startle technique)
- Uncomfortable (Disgust/Revulsion technique, triggers a gut it OFF me response to what they’re “supposed” to be holding onto)

Genitalia is the BEST way to achieve all 3. (Although eyes and throat are better softening techniques, blind or stop someone breathing, and you’ve generally got at least 2 seconds to start breaking joints).

Ideally you grab and twist someone’s genitalia so hard they see stars and start puking (male or female, there’s a lotta nerves and delicate tissue there), but even just tapping/stroking can surprise/alarm someone so much they either let you go, entirely, or relax their grip on you out of fear/disgust/surprise.

If you don’t have genitalia in your reach? Licking them won’t cause pain, but surprise/disgust, and you can follow up a lick in one place with a bite in another. I’ve licked peoples faces, causing them to pull back and then ducked down and bit the hell out of whatever fleshy anything I can reach.

^^^
Long and short of it?

She was defending herself from someone attacking/restraining her.

Whether or not you want to be friends with someone who gets so violent when drunk that you have to subdue her? Is a personal choice.


Why are you assuming K is a woman?

For whatever reason, OP was careful to not disclose K’s sex.

My take is that this is a dude, and regardless of sex it’s still crossing boundaries.

Why have friends like this in your life? There are 8 billion other people out there.

Regardless, K is pissed off that OP is with her boyfriend and not with K.
 
Why are you assuming K is a woman?

For whatever reason, OP was careful to not disclose K’s sex.

My take is that this is a dude, and regardless of sex it’s still crossing boundaries.

Why have friends like this in your life? There are 8 billion other people out there.

Regardless, K is pissed off that OP is with her boyfriend and not with K.
Agreed. You need someone to bluntly tell you this is not OK. You should want better for yourself.
 
It doesn't matter what gender K is.

If someone says no or stop. It's a no and a stop.
The person that doesn't stop after being told to, is someone I wouldn't want to be friends with.
Why give care and consideration to someone when they haven't afforded that to you?

Why are you feeling bad?
Their problems and consequences for their actions aren't your responsibility to fix.
Do you trust them as a friend? Do you miss what they offer you? Are you prepared to put up with this behaviour again?
 
I’m judging here but I read your story and saw more red flags than just your drunken friend’s sexual abuse. If I had my way, you would print out your post, put a copy in your journal, continue seeing a therapist to help heal your cptsd, and then in 1-2 years revisit your post and note your future self’s reaction. You may find yourself discovering that you were surrounding yourself with people who were constantly retraumatizing you and were not providing you with healthy, safe and secure relationships.
 
It is VERY common for people who've experienced SA to minimize their SA experiences. "It's not as bad as what others have," "second offense wasn't meant to be sexual," etc.

I did it for years. It took me about 40yrs to see that the 2nd offense absolutely WAS sexual- he was testing the waters. And I told on him again. The court determined it WAS sexual, and our familial visits had to be supervised for a year. It happened during my one and only daddy-daughter date. Way to go dad! 👍🙄🙄

I see the minimization in your post. It was "accidental," (or "accidentally on purpose"), they just tapped my vagina. I'm not sure if this really counts...

Darling dear SA survivor, this person wants to be with you romantically and uses alcohol as an excuse to act out their forbidden behavior, because they know you have a bf.

" when someone shows you who they are the first time, believe them." ~Maya Angelou

As someone else has said, there are MANY people you can be genuine friends with, who WON'T violate you OR your boundaries. This is not a safe person. For you or anyone else. Once they get sober, they owe you amends for both of the incidents.

I would continue to make new friends with those who respect me as a person and my boundaries. And decide whether or not to allow this "friend" back into my life based on their behaviors after staying sober for at least 6 months. A year would be better. And then tell them how they made you feel and make you feel afraid, because they assaulted you.

I suspect that if you truly examine their behaviors, you'll be able to see other ways in which they violated your boundaries. Boundary Busters are Boundary Busters- drunk AND sober. In small and large ways.

It doesn't matter if your "friend" is of 3months or a lifetime, you have to cut them loose if they don't act like a friend. And your "friend" is no friend, sorry to say.

Stand up for you because you're absolutely worth it. 💕

I'm proud of you for setting boundaries and sticking to them. That's the first step toward lasting health. 💪🤛

Hth. 🤗🤗💕
 
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Why are you assuming K is a woman?
LMFAO!!! 🤣 Great catch! I love it when I get surprised by my own bias. Seriously.

In case you’re curious why I made that -possibly entirely incorrect- assumption?

1) Big buff male black belts would almoooooost never leave a woman to restrain a violent drunk UNLESS the drunk was also a woman. Instead, they would restrain the person themselves, and direct others, whilst maintaining physical control.

Having a woman restrain another woman accomplishes 3 things
- It deescalates the situation
- It leaves them free to meet any sudden change/aggression in a way that someone bound to another person does not have
- It minimizes the risk of claims of sexual assault, or passerby misunderstanding (plainclothes police restraining female suspects have been attacked by passersby assuming evil intent, as gender bias paints women as victims and men as assailants). Anyone who is a black belt will have that training -match genders to minimize risk once dominance is achieved- drilled into them.

2) I was very strongly projecting

So I could be reeeeeally wrong there.
Boob & Vagina = probably female
Boyfriend = probably male
Them = male, female, non-binary all equally likely; my bias & projection filled in the rest.
 
She was defending herself from someone attacking/restraining her.

Whether or not you want to be friends with someone who gets so violent when drunk that you have to subdue her? Is a personal choice.
This is more or less how I figured they meant it. Just doing anything to get out of the situation. Perhaps not even really acknowledging at the time how much he was upsetting me, since when drunk you don't really sit around and think "Hmm, me doing this might trigger her childhood trauma". However, some things made me feel K may have known what they were doing, in terms of the emotional hurt, especially at the time, but this may just be from my own messed up perspective. For example, acknowledging where they were touching and carrying on anyway. It wasn't like they didn't hear me or didn't understand me, they knew where they were touching and I don't think over 7 years of me affirming my boundaries would be forgotten just like that while drunk, but then again I have never gotten that drunk before so who knows. Then later on asking me for a hug and when I refused saying I didn't want to due to everything they did, they continued asking until they repeated what they had said earlier "Why are you mad, you put my hands there.".

The way I was holding them wasn't violent or harsh, either. But perhaps to them they felt it was. K was such a wreak at that point I could restrain them by gently holding their hands behind their back, though with some more pressure when they tried to run off and get to the alcohol before my partner. I mostly wanted to make sure they didn't break their own neck while trying to run up the stairs to where my partner was putting the remaining alcohol. My partner is furious with himself due to the fact he didn't restrain K himself, but he was sorting out the alcohol situation as this all happened in his house so he knew where the best place to put the alcohol. Not to mention, K was so drunk that K wasn't exactly a threat to anyone physically, just needed to be stopped from trying to break shit. Normally I can't square up against anyone as I can't even do a single push up, but that day it wasn't hard. K was practically a ragdoll which is why my bf didn't really think I was in any danger (more so K and the kitchenware) plus I don't think my boyfriend expected K to do what they did.

But ultimately I don't think K is a bad person. They're not a good person while drunk, though. Currently the consensus between me and the other friends who were there decided we would definitely never drink with them again but maintain a friendship, though personally I can't feel the same level of trust I once did towards them which is a feeling a few of the others there that night felt (as K also started cussing out one of them, for example) or at least not for a while. Other of my friends have told me I should drop them completely, but I don't think it would be fair to do so because of how wasted K is. Like, that's not them normally. The one thing I am concerned about going forward is if K does this or something much worse to another friend while drinking with other friends. I am just hoping they keep to their promise to stop drinking. Because I do think the 2 main factors here were Ks mental health issues, and their drinking habits. When they drink while emotional, they don't stop. We have all advised them that if they want to keep their friendships, they need to sort that out.

I guess this is mostly tough because I am battling with two separate interpretations I have of the situation. One part of me believes they didn't mean any actual harm, another part believes they did intend to cause emotional damage. One part of me thinks those actions are not indicative of them as a person, another feels like they might be a threat. Not to mention I feel I am just overreacting to the whole thing. It's hard to tell which interpretation was correct because there are so many factors. And therefore, its hard for me to decide what to do. Remaining friends with them but not drinking with them seems like a middle ground at least.

Oh also, to quell any gender debates, K is a biological male but has expressed that they're questioning their gender (as feminine presentation seems to make them much more comfortable but their family isn't exactly contenders for any parenting/sibling-ing awards) but are unsure on pronouns, hence the they/them pronouns as currently I am unsure how to refer to them and they/them is neutral. Sorry for any confusion.
 
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