Question: A friend is getting married. We have been friends since we were children, but we are not as close now.
We went to different colleges, but one year went on vacation together. She invited some college friends. One night, one friend sexually assaulted me after everyone had gone to sleep. I, too, was asleep at first, but when I woke up I pushed him away and went to a different room. I should have reported it, but I was very young, had been drinking underage, and was scared my boyfriend would find out.
The morning after, however, I did tell my friend. She didn't believe me and brushed it off. She said we had been drinking so it must have been a dream, that he would never do such a thing. I didn't say another word to her about it, not then or since. I was upset she wouldn't believe me.
It has been nearly a decade and we remained friends, but not as close. Despite the fact that I have been to many events with her, her wedding brings up every memory I have of that night and her betrayal. Do I want to travel and give a gift to this girl who brushed me off when I asked for help?
I think ignoring her wedding would be a friendship-ending move. Should I be supportive and just go?
Answer: It will feel odd to bring it up, but consider freeing yourself of this. "Remember when your friend sexually assaulted me on that vacation back in college? I came to you for help?
"You brushed me off, said he couldn't have done it, and I still feel betrayed by that. I guess I'd like to know if 10 years have changed your response."
Maybe you're not ready either to finish off or revive the old friendship; it's OK to postpone the conversation until you are. In that case, go to the wedding if you're leaning toward friendship, skip it if you're leaning away.
E-mail Carolyn at firstname.lastname@example.org.