I Was Raped By My Moms Best Friend
‘My Best Friend Was Raped – And I Couldn’t Help’
Lily, 32, was with her friend when she was raped three years ago. As part of our #BREAKFREE from Shame campaign, she tells Marie Claire how it affected her, too.
‘I can remember Esther telling me she’d been raped. That seems silly to say – of course I remember my best friend telling me she’d been raped – but the clarity of the memory is such, that I feel like it needs to be noted. Every time I think of it, I feel like I’m there again. I can remember the clothes she was wearing (black jeans, oversized black jumper). I can remember the clothes I was wearing (black leggings, cropped black top). I can remember the way she seemed to spit the words out (‘I’ve been raped’). The way she seemed to be angry and broken and sick at the same time.
Mostly I just remember feeling guilty and powerless. Like all of my arms and legs had been cut off – and it was all my fault. I’d been in our flat the evening before, but I hadn’t checked she’d come home. I hadn’t called, or checked she was alright. That night I stayed in her room and lay next to her in bed. Her eyes were closed, but I know she didn’t sleep. My eyes were open – I didn’t bother pretending I could drift off. Plus, I wanted her to know I was there. I think, in some way, I thought it could make up for the fact that I hadn’t been the night before.
I hadn’t been there for her when she’d needed me.
I feel like this is the kind of thing where I should say ‘the next few days passed in a blur’. But the next few days seemed endless, and every moment is etched (carved? burned?) onto my memory too. I remember secretly calling my mum in tears. (‘Mum, something bad happened. I don’t know what to do.’) I cried in front of Esther too. One night the lump in my throat exploded, and all of my emotions fell out, in a chaos of tears and snot.
I didn’t trust myself after that. I didn’t want Esther to feel ashamed, or guilty. I wanted her to know she hadn’t done anything wrong. But I didn’t have the words. So I went with the next best thing: Making her happy again. A week after she told me, I decided we were Moving On. I busied Esther with days out and nights in. I played music in the background of our conversations, lest there be a lull that forced her to think. I sat at the other end of the sofa, so we didn’t accidentally touch; as if to distance us both from the thing that now bound us. There was an elephant in the room, and we were balanced on his back. I felt like one false move would topple us off.
Video: I was raped by my best friend 😰😢
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