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#67283 - 08/11/03 11:27 AM Should I tell him that I know? Please help
Concerned Friend Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/11/03
Posts: 3
I recently found out that a close childhood friend was abused at the age of 12. "Scott" told a mutual friend of ours (while drunk, otherwise I don't think it would've come out), who disclosed this info to me. Scott told this friend that he does not ever want me to find out. We are so close, I think he is afraid I will think differently of him, which is of course not true. I am upset that this mutual friend told me since it was obviously not their place to do so but now the damage is done

I am so torn about what to do. All I want to do is help my friend Scott. If he finds out I know and didn't say anything, I'm afraid he'll be furious. At the same time, if I tell him what I know, I'm afraid he will also be furious and cut me off. What should I do? It would be so helpful if any survivors could provide input - I really want to do the right thing.

If the answer is that I should tell him that I know, how should I do this? Thanks for any advice.


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#67284 - 08/11/03 11:38 AM Re: Should I tell him that I know? Please help
Mike Church Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 01/23/03
Posts: 3439
Loc: Toronto, Canada
That is a really tough question to answer but I will try.

Scott is a really a close childhood friend. Has that friendship grown over the years to the present. If that is the case I would recommend that you just remain close and are there for him.
He feels that he is damaged goods and we survivors all feel that way. If you raise the sexual assault with him it will I think cause huge repercussions both between you and Scott and Scott and the mutual friend.

I really think that you should stay close to Scott if your friendship is deep. He is in a very fragile place. Just be there for him without being stifling or obvious if you know what I mean. If he senses a change it could make him even more fragile. At the same time watch for any deteriorating behaviour that might be harmful to him.

It is terrible to know and be helpless but I know you can do it.

Others who are better qualified may have other suggestions for you.

My thoughts are with you

_________________________
Mikey

IT REALLY IS OK TO STUMBLE. NONE OF US ARE PERFECT.

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#67285 - 08/11/03 11:44 AM Re: Should I tell him that I know? Please help
Concerned Friend Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/11/03
Posts: 3
Mikey thanks so much for your quick reply. Scott and I have known each other since we were little kids, so I was around when the abuse was happening and didn't know.

I definitely want to do what's best for Scott so if that means being there as a friend and not saying anything then that's what I will do. I have one follow up question - if Scott ever chooses to confide in me, I should act like I don't know, right? I would think it would add insult to injury for him to find out that I knew?

Thanks again for your advice and any others who have an opinion....


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#67286 - 08/11/03 12:14 PM Re: Should I tell him that I know? Please help
outis Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/27/03
Posts: 2260
Loc: Maryland USA
Concerned Friend,

Suppose Scott was not abused, but had something else he was embarrased for you to know. Suppose the mutual friend learned about it, learned that Scott didn't want you to know, and then told you anyway.

Now suppose Scott confides in you about it sometime. You pretend that you didn't know, and Scott remarks to the friend that he never should have worried about your reaction, you took it very well. "Of course, 'cause I told her/him when you told me."

Where is Scott at this point?

I won't advise you one way or the other. I'll say that you better feel as good as you can in your heart about the approach which you choose. To me it sounds like your mutual friend wants you to do something "about" Scott, or "for" Scott. Whether Scott is ready for someone to "do something" or not I can't tell. When it comes right down to it, if Scott is ready to face sexual abuse in his past (he did speak to the mutual friend, after all), then Scott himself will have to take a step toward healing.

I'm sorry I can't give you any answers. This stuff is not easy on anyone. Please don't try to be the savior for Scott, though. You can be a concerned friend if he'll let you, but your mutual friend has put you in a tough situation. Remember that the mutual friend broke Scott's confidence, not you.

Joe

_________________________
"Telemachos, your guest is no discredit to you. I wasted no time in stringing the bow, and I did not miss the mark. My strength is yet unbroken…"—The Odyssey, translated by W.H.D. Rouse

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#67287 - 08/11/03 12:25 PM Re: Should I tell him that I know? Please help
LovingPartner Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/08/03
Posts: 26
Concerned Friend-
You are in a very tough spot. I don't know what exactly to tell you, but I will try my best to help. My husband is a survivor, and before we got married he decided to tell me a (very) little about what happened to him. (I guess he was scared I was going to leave.) Well, one of his family members had already pulled me off to the side and told me, so when he mentioned it I was already over the initial shock. I told him I already knew. He wasn't extremely upset, but he wasn't dealing with his abuse back then. (He just pushed it back and tried to ignore it.)
All you can do for now is to be his friend. Be there anytime if he needs you. But keep an eye out for damaging behaviors. If you are good close friends he will probably confide in you when he is ready to take on his demons. Be prepared for it. Every survivor needs someone they can just pour it all out to. Remind him you're there for him whenever he needs you, no matter what it is. Nothing he tells you can make you not be his friend anymore or think badly of him.
We are here, for both of you. If you ever need to rant or ask a question, or anything; you're welcome here. Best of luck to you and "Scott".
Loving Partner


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#67288 - 08/11/03 12:43 PM Re: Should I tell him that I know? Please help
Mike Church Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 01/23/03
Posts: 3439
Loc: Toronto, Canada
Quote:
if Scott ever chooses to confide in me, I should act like I don't know, right? I would think it would add insult to injury for him to find out that I knew?
The mutual friend has put you in an awkward place but I think what you say above is the correct course.

_________________________
Mikey

IT REALLY IS OK TO STUMBLE. NONE OF US ARE PERFECT.

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#67289 - 08/15/03 02:00 AM Re: Should I tell him that I know? Please help
Marcs friend Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/15/03
Posts: 16
Loc: Maine
Concerned Friend,
You care about Scott and will be there for him. Maybe he told his friend about what happened to him with the hope that the friend would tell you, since he was fearful of telling you himself. I would let him know that you know about what happened, you've known for a while, and your caring for him is unconditional. It wasn't his fault. I think a survivor needs to know he is not alone, that he is able to be loved, that there are people he can talk with who will just be there for him and not pass judgment on him. You don't have to talk about it a lot; knowing that you know and still care for him might take some of the burden of silence off him. I wish you luck. It's not easy to know what to do or what to say - we friends can only do our best to help them when they need us. We have to be unafraid. Please stay in touch.


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#67290 - 08/15/03 08:48 PM Re: Should I tell him that I know? Please help
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
'Friend
That's a 'rock and a hard place' question if ever there was one.

Just be there for Scott, let him know that he can trust you with anything ( unlike your other mutual friend )
Although how you deal with 'having the knowledge' already if he does disclose to you is someting you'll probably have to make up as you go along.

Dave

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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#67291 - 08/15/03 10:59 PM Re: Should I tell him that I know? Please help
TheTraveler Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/24/03
Posts: 10
Loc: Richardson, TX
Concerned Friend,

You are in a great spot as fas as being a close friend to Scott; however, the mutual friend did put another burden on you. My initial response would be to continue to be a close friend to Scott and maybe take your friendship closer with other things to mutually share about. It is just great to have a close friend as a survivor without feeling the need to 'dump' stuff on everyone. This may free Scott up to start sharing more of other things which may (or may not)lead to his sharing about his abuse with you. My big concern would be that when he shares it with you, you must think of your response. For me, it would be tough but I would tell him that I had heard from the mutual friend, but since he also stated that he did not want you to know, you patiently waited for him to come to you. Let him know that it was painful to know and not approach him for you did not want to bring his fears to the surface before he wanted to tell you personally. And if it is true that you are sad that he feared telling you about this, let him know that fact and that he is still the great friend that you have always known and you hope to continue to be friends.

This would get you clear, for as it was stated in another reply, the mutual friend could tell Scott he had told you and then that could cause Scott to doubt things and undo some of your closeness. Hopefully he would see that since you have known about his abuse, and you were still a good friend to him, then you are and can remain true friends. Be truthful even though it may hurt. Also, tell Scott that it hurt to not speak with him on the subject. We as survivors need honesty and no deception. Don't deny your knowledge for then you have put the power of the lie into the hands of the mutual friend. Let the mutual friend and Scott deal with his telling of his abuse.

Best of luck, and thanks for being Scott's friend.

(In my humble opinion.)

_________________________
The greatest thing a man can do for his Heavenly Father is to be kind to some of His other children - Drummond.

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#67292 - 08/22/03 01:46 PM Re: Should I tell him that I know? Please help
Concerned Friend Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/11/03
Posts: 3
I just wanted to say thanks to everyone for all the thoughtful replies.

I've decided to just be there for Scott and let him chose to disclose when he's ready (if ever). At that point, I will probably let him know that I knew and and after much concern and debate, I painfully chose NOT to tell him based on what I thought he wanted. (just like the approach you described traveler). I know there is no perfect solution to this dilemma so I'm just doing what I think is best for Scott.

Thanks again to all for your kind replies.


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#67293 - 08/22/03 08:06 PM Re: Should I tell him that I know? Please help
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
' Friend
I have a feeling that when that day comes, you are going to be a tower of strength for him.

Thanks for your concern, we survivors appreciate it.

Dave

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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