What To Do When Your Friend Gets Called Out

Sexual consent is a topic which has been increasingly visible in the news headlines and in the social consciousness. It isn’t, needless to say, that sexual assault has suddenly are more of a concern – rather, we have been seeing a growth in victims feeling secure enough to speak out publicly on a scale they do not have before. With an increase of survivors speaking out, we’re seeing an expectation for accountability also emerging… but there’s very little information on how to create that happen.
The truth is, sexual abusers tend to surround themselves with individuals who will apologize for them, who’ll cover for them, who’ll defend them. They might need camouflage by means of a group of individuals who will concur that the abuser is “this type of nice guy.” It’s how they are able to repeatedly escape with violating boundaries and how they are able to escape being outed or banished. It’s how they ensure their victims will not be believed.
You know you do not desire to enable rapists or other abusers, but you are not entirely sure how exactly to react ethically when someone you’re near is accused of the behaviors. If you are confused about next steps – knowing you need to take some but unsure what they must be – stand based on the rest of us! Because the editor of a book called Ask: Building Consent Culture , I learned that I cannot promise a one-size-fits-all solution, however, many tips can be provided by me.
Believe The Victim
Think that harm has been done to the victim. It is not your responsibility to choose if your friend is guilty or not, for starters, and secondly? Statistically, it’s much more likely your friend violated consent than that the victim is creating a false accusation. Believing that the victim has been hurt, and your friend is in charge of that harm, will let you center the victim within the next steps.
Prioritize The Victim
If the victim directly has arrived at you, ask you skill to greatly help them feel safe at this time. You might become asked to participate a mediation process, or even to hold your friend accountable to certain behaviors to avoid that harm being done again. It’s useful to remember that part of being in a community is helping each other, and part of helping each other includes mutual accountability. If the victim asks you not to discuss it with your friend, don’t. Respect their agency.
Watch For Red Flags
If the victim has not come to you directly, keep an eye on your friend for red flag behaviors. When people discuss the accusations with your friend, do they bristle and get defensive, or do they become apologetic and seek to make amends? I’ve found that those who are defensive are the most likely to be repeat offenders… but those who are apologetic are often the “nice feminists” who use their political leanings to sidestep responsibility. Keep an eye on both.
Party Sober
Surveys have indicated that situations that involve men getting drunk or high, then feeling entitled to attention and physical touch, isn’t something they often characterize as sexual assault or rape. There’s alarming links between sexual assault and being under the influence, in art because of this. If this plays a component with your friend, perhaps gently and firmly steer them from drinking or getting saturated in social situations away.
Reconsider Friendships
Think long and hard about whether this person is someone you need to continue to be near. Being in their mind can imply close, for a few, that you condone consent-violating behavior. However, it’s sometimes the friends of an abuser who is able to supply the best tough love in holding their feet to the fire and demanding action be studied, therefore sometimes, that’s worthwhile. Both options have their minuses and pluses.
THINK ABOUT Your Relationship To Consent
The most effective things I’ve seen work in friend groups is people modeling better behavior and setting that being an expectation. When I moved to California first, people used to attempt to hug me without asking, saying “Oh, I’m a hugger”. It took some time of gently and firmly saying “That’s great! I’m not,” and putting out a hand to shake with a smile before my neighborhood started to ask before hugs. By reflecting by myself assumptions and boundaries, I could help others do exactly the same.
Practice EVERYTHING YOU Preach
Linked quite definitely to the above, if you are aware you’ve crossed boundaries, demonstrate exactly the same victim-centering, ownership-taking attitude you’re asking from your own friend. Be gracious, observe that being called out is often a signal of trust that you will concentrate on your behavior, and recognize that false accusations have grown to be, very rare A relationship to consent is a thing that is really a living thing clearly, and we’re always focusing on it – be pensive, not defensive.

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