We’ve all had that classic uh-oh moment: Someone’s been accused of rape and you’re friends with both the rapist and his victim! What a disaster! You may be feeling cursed and alone, wondering, “How can I possibly support both of them?” It’s only natural to feel this way. Luckily, there’s no need for you to complicate your life just because one of your friends has destroyed the life of another friend. Here’s how to be a caring and attentive ally to both a rapist and his victim.
Tell them you don’t want to take sides.
You honestly believe them both, and it’s wrong of them to try to force your hand by making you choose between them, even though one is the victim and the other is an aggressor, no matter how much you want to believe he isn’t. Assert your boundaries by telling them you love them both equally and unconditionally, and you don’t want to pick sides in this debate. Show your support to both by throwing a “like” to both of their social media posts about the allegations, and in doing so send a clear message to the world that says, “I am on both sides.”
Be a bridge-builder by letting her know that he’s been super bummed since the whole thing went down.
You completely understand her not wanting to recant her story, but she should at least know that he has been majorly down in the dumps ever since she accused him of rape. Encourage them both to move on, if only for the sake of the group. Say things like “This isn’t helping” and “I mean, it’s been a year!” It’s okay to miss the way things were, and you can’t help but feel that they’re both being a tiny bit selfish for not letting it go.
Make them matching friendship bracelets.
Sometimes, all people want (besides getting justice for sexual assault and/or wriggling out of culpability for committing sexual assault) is to know that you care. Making a friendship bracelet for each of them will show that you’re not going to let something like rape ruin your friendship with either of them or make you confront any hard truths. They can’t push you away!
If they don’t move past it, be mad at both of them.
At a certain point, this whole thing is both of their faults. If they are BOTH so stubborn that they still can’t get over it, it may be time to consider forgetting them both. It takes both to tango! Both both both. It’s a toxic environment they’ve put you in, and at this point, you must think of yourself first. You tried your best and that’s all anyone can ask you to do.
So, there you have it! Never let anyone tell you that you can’t be a supportive and equal ally to both a rapist and his victim. It won’t be easy, sure, but hang in there! With a little time, effort, and careful scheduling, anyone can remain a true friend to both parties, rape allegations be damned. After all, if we had to lose friends every time someone we know is raped, we would have no friends at all!