possible misremembered conversation and what to do about it, if anything(8 Posts)
Something has been niggling me for a few years and I'm not sure what to do about it.
About 15 years when my younger sister and I were in our late teens, she went away to another city for a few weeks on a residential course. I went to visit her while she was there. She was staying in university halls and there were lots of teens around the same age as her and a little older too. She pointed one guy out to me, and later when we were back her room she told me they'd had sex.
I rolled my eyes at her a bit as she had a boyfriend back at home and I disapproved of her cheating. She then said "well, it sort of got to the stage where I didn't have any choice in the matter". At least, a few years later, that is what I think she said. If that is what she said, then, to my eternal shame, I glossed straight over it and made it clear to her I didn't approve of her messing her boyfriend around, and then we moved on.
So I think my then 17 year old sister, who I love dearly, told me she was raped and I essentially closed her down and scolded her. But I'm not totally sure. This memory sort of came back to me a little while after the event and I have never really known what to do about it.
My sister is now over 30, very happily in a secure and loving relationship, and our relationship has always been fine since the event too.
If I could go back in time I would have properly listened to what she was telling me and acted accordingly. But what, if anything, do I do now? Bearing in mind that I'm not 100% sure that that's what she said or meant?
Can I just say to her 15 years after the fact "by the way, did you try to tell me you were raped and I totally ignored you?" How do I bring that up?! And what if (after many years of a very good relationship between us) she says "yes I did and I was devastated you didn't talk about it, and now you've reminded me what a terrible sister you are, I hate you"?
If she was raped and I behaved as I did, I will feel just terrible and will never know how I can make it up to her. I just don't know if I can trust my memory or be brave enough to bring it up with her.
What do you think?
What would you gain by knowing the answer? If I were you I'd leave well alone. It was a long time ago.
I hate thinking that perhaps she was really hurting and upset and needed me, her big sister, to help and protect her and I did nothing. Worse than nothing, I gave her a telling off. So part of me wants to know so I can apologise. Part of me also really doesn't want to know, because (selfishly) I will be quite upset if the above is true. And I have no right at all to be upset, whereas she would.
There is a possibility that she could have meant something completely different, you are only guessing and making conclusions. I think asking her outright if she was raped is a bit too confrontational. Maybe ask her about that time, gauge her reaction and let her know if there's anything she needs to speak about you are there.
She could have meant something like she had no choice in the matter because of how strongly she felt. When you had the conversation the first time you didn't get the sense that she was disclosing a rape, and when you assumed that wasn't what she was saying and responded accordingly she didn't do anything to clarify if she meant different.
Hard one to go back to specifics of many years down the tracks.
Your younger self responded to the actual words she said, her tone of voice, her facial expression and her body language. I find it hard to believe that she was disclosing a rape and you completely misjudged it in those circumstances, or that she wouldn't have gone on to explain or clarify what she meant if that had been the case.
IMO, if she even did use those words, it is likely she meant something else. Maybe that they were both so turned on it was inevitable?
But if it's really going to bother you then I think you should engineer a conversation about it. If you have a good relationship I think it would be possible to engineer a general conversation about past lovers, or about cheating, or about that visit. Or even 'I had a memory resurface the other day and it's been bothering me'. Just clear it up so you can stop worrying about it. Hopefully she will put your fears to rest, but if you are right then you can explain that you didn't realise what she was telling you (although I'm sure she'd already know this) and decide what to do, if anything, together.
If DSis is now happily married, I would leave it in the past. You sound very well intentioned but it could do more damage than good to rake over something that she may have completely forgotten or blanked.
Carry on being the great DSis that you are.
I wouldn't interpret those words like that myself. I'd think she meant she felt so attracted to him she felt she couldn't really stop.
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