Cultural divide a potential problem
DEAR ELLIE: My girlfriend of three years and I are in our 30s.
She has a disorder, which is treated via medication.
I’ve realized that there could be a cultural divide (different backgrounds) in our future and also that her disorder could someday be an issue in our relationship.
However, it’s been great. She takes part in my cultural activities, and I do the same for hers. We also get along really well with each other’s families.
Last month, she and her mom went out with her mom’s friend and a male visitor who said he wanted to witness the city’s ightlife.
The older two were too tired to go out, so my girlfriend was sent to the night club to meet with this guy, having been assured that he’d send her home in a cab at night.
They were in the club, drank a lot, and then went to his hotel.
My girlfriend woke up at 4 a.m., took a cab home, and puked the rest of the day.
Her mom took her to the hospital to get a rape-kit test performed. Police were contacted and came to the hospital.
My girlfriend said she blacked out and didn’t remember dancing at the club, or the sex. The police report includes that she was hallucinating during sex, believing she was being gang-raped. They stated there wasn’t enough evidence to charge the guy.
She, with her mom and I, reviewed the police video evidence.
When they entered his hotel, she was stumbling, clearly inebriated (he had to hold her up).
I believe that she didn’t want to sleep with him and wouldn’t have claimed sexual assault if it didn’t happen.
My issue is that she didn’t call or text me throughout that night.
It’s difficult to comprehend why she’d go out with a guy she just met, without me.
It’s hard to question her due to the posttraumatic stress that later occurred (I know it’s real).
I love her, but find her not contacting me weird, and wrong. I don’t trust her going out with anyone I don’t know any more.
The scenario plays in my mind daily. Why didn’t she invite me out, why didn’t she call? I was planning to propose.
Can you shed some light? — Not So Sure Anymore
ANSWER: Facts: You rightly believe that she was sexually assaulted while inebriated, and you love her.
She was suddenly encouraged to go out with this guy, sanctioned by her mother.
Maybe she thought you’d disapprove but felt she couldn’t cancel. Alcohol clouded her judgment (and medication can decrease alcohol tolerance) when it came to contacting you.
You’re naturally rocked by the ugly incident. She suffered a violent attack, and your love for her makes it painful to accept.
Rape hurts more than its direct victim but she, most of all, needs trust and support now. You feel insult to your own pride, and believe that you could’ve prevented this if only she’d contacted you.
But she didn’t/couldn’t reach out, for reasons consistent with her being too drunk to know what was really happening.
She’ll need counselling. You’d also benefit from talking to a therapist (not just friends or family) to better understand your own reaction.
Give time for both of you to heal — her from physical/emotional abuse trauma, you from shock.
Then put faith in the love you have for each other and get couples’ counselling to move forward again.
TIP OF THE DAY Don’t rush to judgment or questioning trust for a traumatized victim of sexual assault.
Ellie Tesher is a nationally syndicated advice columnist based in Toronto.