My friend was recently a victim of rape by deception. The perpetrator is a mutual colleague. He (the perpetrator) and she (my friend) are in a different city from me. He is going overseas next month for a new job.
The story: He kissed my friend at a work retreat, and she was happy and excited. Then she started hearing rumours saying that he was a serial manipulator who hit on all his female colleagues, and wrote to me to ask me what to do. I said that she shouldn't feel guilty about already having kissed him, because kissing is inherently pleasant, but that she probably should exercise skepticism about anything he told her, and not take things further sexually until she had enough information to judge whether the rumours were true. She talked to him explicitly about how she wasn't against casual sex, but needed him to be honest with her. He said he wasn't interested in a serious relationship, and also told her that the person she'd heard the rumour from (another colleague he'd had a relationship with) was just angry because he'd broken up with the ex sooner than she wanted.
I came to visit for a weekend, and went out to karaoke with her, him, and a bunch of other friends. Pretty early in the night, I felt tired and went home. Several hours after I left, everybody was very drunk. The guy told my friend that he was interested in a serious relationship after all, and could he go home with her? Everybody else pushed her to say yes. (I am really angry about that part.) So they went to her house and had sex. She told me that a few hours before the sex, she threw up, that he was attentive and thoughtful, and that it hurt. I have trouble reconciling those last two claims, and told her so. I also told her that she has the right to stop her partner if the sex hurts.
The next day, shortly before I had to leave to catch my flight home, he told her that he wasn't really interested in a serious relationship and they should start seeing other people. She felt violated, and has been depressed ever since. She told several of her colleagues in her city, and they acknowledged that she was in pain, but none of them were willing to treat the guy like he'd done anything wrong. This made her feel like the people she thought were her friends, weren't really. I asked her if it would help for me write the guy an email telling him that I thought what he had done was wrong, and that because of it, I wasn't going to socialise with him. She said that she appreciated my willingness to stand up for her, but that I should not start a conversation with him because she was afraid he wouldn't leave me alone if I did. So I have not written to him.
This is my plan at the moment: I am not going to seek him out, but if I ever end up in a position where I am expected to socialise with him beyond a bare professional level, I will excuse myself. If possible, I will draw him aside to explain why I am excusing myself: he lied to my friend, that was a predatory and exploitative way to act, and because of that unacceptable behaviour, I cannot be friends with him. I will continue to listen to my friend and ask her what she needs from me.
I want a bunch of things, and I am not sure that I can have them all. Most importantly, I want to help my friend get through this, and show her that I believe her and care about her. I also want to prevent this guy from hurting other people. I'm not sure I can do that, because he's going to completely different city, and nobody there will know him, or me. I also want this guy to know that what he has done is wrong. I also want to change myself and my group of friends so that we are better able to ward off predators in the future. If somebody had been there to say "don't go home with him; you're drunk and this is way too hasty", we could have saved my one friend a huge amount of pain. I also want to stay safe, professionally and personally. I love my job and want the people I work with not to be angry at me. To some degree, I probably need to compromise this: if standing up for somebody vulnerable means I'll be unpopular, I'd damn well better be unpopular and learn to accept it.
I'd welcome any stories or advice anyone's got.