Fee’s Story: He Was My Best Friend for Years

Fee’s Story: He Was My Best Friend for Years

He was my best friend for years. I trusted him absolutely – I had no reason to doubt him, he had been my number one for years. He had supported me wonderfully when I lost my Gran, and when my housemates were taking the piss with sharing the housework, he would always give me a hand when he popped down to see us. I didn’t recognise at the time that his behaviour indicated he felt more than friendship towards me, as I had a boyfriend – he was good friends with my boyfriend – and I felt for him as I would a brother. I loved him as a brother.

I think it was someone’s birthday, but a large group of us had all met up in our local town for drinks, and he was there as he was part of our group. We were out until late and then my partner and I got a taxi back to our house. Just as we got back, he rang me and asked me if he could come over to talk to me about his girlfriend, he said he needed my help. He asked if my boyfriend would mind giving us some time alone as he wanted to talk just to me. This did not strike me as dangerous as, as I’ve said above, I trusted him absolutely and had known him for years. We would often meet up alone for coffee or to walk the dogs, or even for a beer, just to chat.

I went back in the taxi to pick him up, dropping my boyfriend off at his mums (which was around the corner from ours) on the way back. My boyfriend and I spoke about my friend needing to talk as we were on our way to pick him up, and neither one of us felt it was unusual or that anything untoward may happen. My friend had told us before that he and his girlfriend had been “having problems”, so we presumed things had got worse between them, as they had seemed strained while we were all out together.

My friend and I walked back to my house, and from the moment I locked the front door behind us he changed. I asked him how things were going and he said we didn’t need to talk “about her” and that we could just have some fun instead. I said well “I’m not going to stay awake long, I’m shattered!” and made us both a brew. We chatted away but he kept making strange comments, things like saying I looked really good that night, and commenting on how strong a friendship we had. I felt increasingly uncomfortable, so after only a short time I said “look I’m shattered so I’m going to bed, we’ll talk properly in the morning before [my boyfriend] comes home” and then he said “We should have sex. It would be good for us – it would bring us closer together” and I laughed because I thought he was joking. When he just stood there looking at me, like he was waiting for me to say something, I started to feel really uncomfortable. I brought him a duvet and spare pillows and said he could sleep on the couch, but he said “No – I’ll sleep in your bed with you” I told him he bloody well wouldn’t, to pack it in and get some sleep – I said “We’ve had too much to drink, let’s just sleep it off and we’ll talk in the morning.”. It’s important to note that I wasn’t a big drinker at the time – sometimes just a couple of drinks could give me chronic stomach cramps, so I’d gone pretty much teetotal. I was tipsy on the night in question, but I WAS. NOT. DRUNK.

I decided enough was enough and I started to walk upstairs, saying “see you in the morning” but he followed me up the stairs. I was nervous now, but I thought “don’t be stupid – he’s probably going to the loo” but as I turned to walk into my bedroom he followed me. I put my hand on his chest in the doorway and said “I’m tired and I’m going to bed – you are sleeping in the couch, see you in the morning.” but he just snickered and waited. I went to my bed and he followed me there as well. I asked him to stop it and said that he was making me uncomfortable but he just carried on. I got into bed – fully clothed – and faced away from him, pretending I was going straight to sleep. I felt him climb onto the bed behind me and my stomach dropped. I was scared now, and I had no idea what to do because this was my best friend. He snuggled up behind me and started groping me. I told him to stop it over and over, but he just ignored me and kept saying things like “It will be good for us” and “[my boyfriend] and [his girlfriend] won’t mind” and all sorts of shit. It went on for a while, and then he pulled me onto my back and straddled me. He kept trying to kiss me, and I moved my head away every time and clamped my lips together. He started trying to undress me, and the ONLY thing that saved me was that I was wearing my favourite jeans. The zip had recently broken, and I had used a safety pin to keep the zip up so I could still wear them. He couldn’t get my jeans off because of the tiny safety pin I had used. Eventually, after what seemed like forever, he shifted his weight enough that I was able to move onto my side again, and I wrapped up in the duvet so that he couldn’t get to me again. He lay on his back for a while, not talking anymore, and I pretended to go to sleep. After a while he got up and went downstairs. At some point he left, because I didn’t hear him leave, but when I finally mustered to courage to go downstairs the next morning he was gone and the bedding I’d put on the sofa for him was untouched, where I’d left it.

It took me two weeks to tell my boyfriend was had happened. I didn’t report it because I didn’t think enough had happened to report, and there was no evidence. He had held me down in my own bed, but I hadn’t really bruised, and anyway – I’d let him into my house. He was my best friend. I thought people would think I was making it up. I would go stiff when my boyfriend hugged me, and I could no longer get changed in front of him for fear of something starting. I felt ashamed and dirty and guilty, and also ridiculous, because although he had tried to, he hadn’t actually raped me. After I told my partner, I told my female best friend, and then we confronted him. He denied everything, said I was making it up and then right at the end of the conversation he said “It’s my fault. I went so far over the line, I needed to catch a bus back to it!” and I sat there thinking what the actual f*ck is going on – you deny it point blank, call me a slag and a slut and all sorts of other names, and then you say you went too far and that it’s your fault?!

After talking to a few other people, I learned that he had done this to several other girls, so I decided I would not stay silent about it any longer. When friends asked why I wasn’t with my “friend” as much these days, I told them exactly why and held my head high, although inside I was still ashamed. A lot of friends felt they had to “choose a side”, and during this time I really found out who my true friends were. Rumours were spread around like wildfire – while I was in work I heard one of his friends tell another that he’d told her I was pregnant and didn’t know if I was going to keep it or not, and that I wasn’t sure who the father was! I wanted to scream!

He would come into the supermarket I worked nights in and just stand at the end of the aisle I was on, just watching me. Or he would try to chat with me like nothing had happened. He would deliberately do something wrong at the checkouts so that I would have to go over and sort it. He spent almost a year doing this, and I almost lost myself to depression and anxiety. He didn’t win, but it was f*cking hard, and at times I felt so weak from the constant fight to find the strength to stand up and face him, to look him straight in the eye and challenge him right back, that I would faint when he left. Eventually I spoke to my boss, and we developed a system – when he came into the store the security guard would radio my boss, who would suddenly need my help in the office or the warehouse, and someone else would have to cover the checkouts until he left the store.

I lost all confidence in myself. I felt that my ability to judge other’s characters must be skewed, as I had trusted him and look what had happened. I had nightmares; I blamed myself; I played it over and over in my head. It took me months to be comfortable around my boyfriend again, and even then there were times when I just couldn’t do it. There was a process of grieving almost – like a part of me was gone forever and I was mourning that loss. I would second guess every decision I made; I was too scared to be around lads I’d known for years because suddenly I doubted everyone. It was awful. I only snapped out of the downward spiral when one of our mutual friends – who had been his best male friend for even longer – came to me and told me that he believed me 100%, and would back me up to anyone who said otherwise. He told me he knew I had no reason to make it up and that he was there for me. I realised I had friends who would stand by me and I started to regain control.

A year later, he tried to rape my female best friend, and that was when other people started to believe me. A year after he did it to me, people started apologising and telling me they should have been there for me. It was too late – I had cut those people out of my life the moment they told me I was lying, and after some time the hurt had healed and I’d realised I didn’t need these “friends” – people who chose to believe him over me – in my life at all. But I was relieved that I could finally have closure to a certain extent. Finally I wasn’t being doubted.

This all happened 8/9 years ago. I have managed to forget the exact date when it happened as I don’t want to think “it was X years ago today that he tried to rape me” on the ‘anniversary’. I don’t want to give him that power. But even now it all comes surging back from time to time. Recently he came into my work again and called me by the nicknames my friends use, and tried to chat with me. I was caught off guard and just stayed silent. The hardest part is that I still see him from time to time. We still have a couple of mutual friends. He still tries to move in the same circles. I wish he would just stay away.

Tonight has been a hard night. Lots of memories of that night kept surging up and I needed to get them out. Silly really, but I think it’s a combination of seeing him more recently and watching a TV program featuring a girl who was raped that has brought it all to the surface. Sometimes nothing in particular brings it back. Years later I broke up with my boyfriend from back then – nothing to do with my attempted rapist. Being in a new relationship brought some of the uncertainty back. Some of the trust and confidence issues arose again. Not long after I started seeing my now fiancé, I found out by chance that he knew my attempted rapist. I told him what he had done to me, and he severed all ties with him. We moved on from it together and he is a fantastic support.

You have to fight to find yourself again, or you get pulled under by the grief, the fear, the guilt and all the rest of it. You have to find some kind of silver lining, however small, and pull yourself back up. As long as you pick yourself back up each time it overwhelms you, you are winning. It’s ok to be overwhelmed sometimes, to need help; just keep getting back up!

Author

WYR

WYR

When You're Ready.org is a community for survivors of sexual violence to share their stories.

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