Wednesday, May 30, 2007

A friend-ly chat?

Several months ago, I was sexually assaulted by an acquaintance of mine. In the following months, I moved back home with my parents in order to piece myself back together. Most of my friends have been amazingly supportive, and I am so very grateful to have them. However, I am having trouble with my college roommate, one of my closest friends.

At the time of the attack, my friend was overseas, and I called her several days later to tell her what had happened and what I was doing, just to let her know I was okay. I didn't expect her to say all the right things, and I knew she would have a hard time coming up with what how to respond (who wouldn't?). But I also didn't expect her to turn on me, asking if I had been drinking, how much I drank--giving me the third degree on my actions and implying I should not have partied so hard. This hurt me very much, and I tried to tell myself that she didn't mean what she was asking.

Since then, she has had very little contact with me. I have sent her e-mails and messages ranging from personal updates to "housekeeping" emails about our apartment. She has responded only once to give me information I asked for and to tell me she is "too busy" having just returned from overseas. At the same time, I am speaking with my other friends and I know that she is not "too busy" to party and go out with them, and it hurts me that she hasn't sent me any other e-mails or messages.

Because I am out-of-state staying with my parents, I feel out of the loop as it is. I want very much to reconnect with my friend, but I don't know what to say to her. She is a sensitive girl, and I don't know if she is intentionally avoiding me or if she really is "too busy." How should I approach her without accidentally accusing her of being a bad friend, which is what I think will happen if I tell her how hurt I feel.

At a Loss

Dear Loss,

I would have been willing to give her a pass if she didn't have anything to say after the assault because she didn't know what to say, but to actually grill you on the details of your boozing heads way into crappy friend territory to me. So if she does feel that you're calling her a bad friend without saying it, then I have little sympathy for her.

I can't tell whether or not your friend is growing in a different direction than you or if she is the kind of person who blames the victim, but something has definitely changed in her. Since you're out of state for a while, your only chance to talk to her before school starts again is probably going to be on the phone or through an e-mail.

I'd approach it like this: tell her that you've noticed your relationship with each other has changed a lot since you revealed that you had been sexually assaulted. Ask her why. If she stonewalls, ask her point blank whether or not she is still your friend. The result may end in a little screaming from her side, but these are things she should have communicated to you months ago.

I realize your apartment together will make this conversation difficult, but regardless of what happens, you should reconsider living together. Sure, she communicates about basic apartment needs, but she is like a clam about everything else. I doubt that is a good living situation.

Aunt Amy

1 comment:

Michelle said...

I would say be aware that there may be some unresolved issues in your roommates past that make this touchy and hard to react to. Take this into consideration when approaching her there may be a sore spot. Even those we think we know may have some skeletons in the closet.