What do I tell my son?

My poor son. He’s only 20 and lost his Dad this year. Now he’s learned that his girlfriend, who goes to University in a different city has been drugged and raped. She’s a sweet young 19 year-old who attended a party on Friday.

She sounded funny on the phone, so my son hopped a bus and went to see her in person. It took time but she finally told him what was wrong. He just phoned me from the police station - he convinced her to go and file a complaint. Apparently it’s (probably) too late for a rape kit (more than 48 hours have passed).

He wants to do all the right things to help her - he’s found a rape crisis centre in that city and will take her there. What worries me is his need to make the rapist suffer. He agrees that providing the police charge the guy - he will let the legal justice system take care of him. BUT if the police don’t charge him - my son wants to make the guy suffer.

My son is an athlete who is into anaerobic training. He’s done mixed martial arts and won a couple of fights. He is strong, fast and, I think, dangerous. I truly understand how this event has violated his belief in himself too - in that he wasn’t there for her - to protect her.

I also understand his need to get even with the guy - as rape is a violation of his “man code”. I’ve asked him to not do anything rashly - wait a few days and see whether the guy gets charged. I’ve cautioned him that in his anger he could severely injure someone and that would ruin his future for sure. He’s almost finished his studies and has very bright future.

What can I tell him that will help him right now? I’ve suggested he get the girlfriend home to her parents (presumably her Dad will be at least as angry as my son), but so far she’s resisting telling them.

Any suggestions on how I can help my son manage his anger and how can I help his girlfriend?

I don’t know that there’s anything you can tell him that will dissuade him from his course of action. He’s going to do what he’s going to do.

You might want to point out how devastating it would be for his girlfriend if he did something rash and ruined his future. Not only would she have to deal with the rape, but she would probably have to deal with feelings of guilt over that (though they would be, of course, unmerited). It would be incredibly selfish of him to put her in that position to indulge his own desire for revenge.

If you can get him to think about what’s in his girlfriend’s best interests rather than his own, you might be able to persuade him to let punishment be doled out by the legal system.

Thank you, kathmandu, I hadn’t thought of that angle - and that would probably work - I really appreciate your answer.

Tell him how much it would hurt both you and him if he ruins his life by doing something crazy and illegal. Tell him that his girlfriend will be fine and he needs to concentrate on being the better man.

Tell him he needs to focus on what will make his girlfriend feel better, not on what will make HIM feel better. Does she really want him to get into a fight like that?

This. If he really wants to be a true friend and a good boyfriend, he needs to support her in every way, not go behind her back. She’s likely feeling a lot of rage, too, and having the same fantasies (or will at some point). If he needs to channel his anger, tell him to support anti-rape programs at his university, to volunteer for WalkSafe programs, to have the guts to speak up when people joke about rape or greet any mention of it with the claim that ‘girls lie about it all the time.’

And if he witnesses any guys drugging girls’ drinks, okay, fine, he can punch them in the nuts.

He’s not going to be much help to her if he beats someone up and ends up in jail himself.

Seems to me his reaction is 100% normal. He should realize that he also has been violated and get some professional help. I don’t know if rape crisis centers offer guidance to significant others–but perhaps they do.

He needs to take care of her and focus all his energy on taking care of her. Stop focusing on the other guy and put his attention on her. In time, hopefully his strong emotions will even out and he will have time to come to grips with this and realize what a mess he would make of the whole thing if he did something rash.

Time doesn’t heal all wounds, but it sometimes makes them hurt a little less.

Ah, but he’ll ba an athletic 20-year-old in prison. Then he’ll soon be able to discuss being a rape victim with her on a peer-to-peer basis. Is that what he wants?

You may want to check with the rape crisis center for programs to help the SOs of rape vics in dealing with the situation. If available, it would be a much better option than risking jail / prison for attempting to avenge the rape himself.

missred (who has a family member serving time for manslaughter after attempting to avenge his wife’s assault)

On the other hand…I kind of understand the desire to beat up the rapist.A friend of mine was stranger-raped in a dentist’s chair and one of her relatives beat him up severely. THAT is one insistance where I think villigante justice was served.
I think that ANYONE who rapes someone needs to be SEVERELY punished.
Not just a few years in the clink. I think anyone who rapes someone needs to be placed in a mental insistution for the criminally insane for LIFE.
One thing that your could do for the girlfriend is reccomend that she enroll in intensive counseling. Many girls think that if they have sex with anything that has a penis after being raped it’ll allow them to “heal” (my friend did this)
Also, keep telling her it was about violence and control. It wasn’t about sex. The rapist simply used his genitials to attack.

I gotta say – I don’t think he SHOULD do anything – but I think it’s cool that he wants to. :slight_smile:

A related thread going on now about date rape drugs.

Just to play Devil’s Advocate, here are a few thoughts you may want to incorporate into your talk:

[ul]
[li]Just because your son is an athletic guy doesn’t necessarily mean he can kick this dude’s ass.[/li]
[li]Based on discussions in the other thread, it seems that actual number of cases of getting roofied seem to be exagerated compared to the amount of material about roofie drugs out there.[/li]
[li]Are you 100% sure this “nice sweet girl” didn’t just get shitfaced at a party and hook up with some dude and regret it the next day? That happens. (Note that I am not joking about this).[/li]
[li]Related to the above, that is why we have a legal system and don’t rely on angry mob justice.[/li]
[li]It’s normal to want revenge. It is not normal to actually drive hours to go kick some dude’s ass. That’s psycho shit.[/li]
[li]Does he want to help his girlfriend or his own ego?[/li]
[li]Violent people aren’t always limited to righteous violence. It’s not out of the realm of posibility that a guy who would travel some distance to beat his girlfriend’s rapist might also be a control freak who would beat his girlfriend.[/li][/ul]

I’m like wait, who’s msmith? Why do I have him on ignore? Thanks for reminding me.

The rape crisis center his gf is going to probably is the best bet for help for your son as well.

I don’t think that’s entirely fair. Some of the points raised are valid ones, if uncomfortable for the OP to ponder.

<mod>

MODERATOR WARNING

Lissener, you know better about revealing who is your ignore list. Per the Rules:

Pit the guy if you must, but keep the ignore list out of it.

</mod>

And you know this how? It may have been, but then isn’t there an ongoing thread about this right now?

Lissener - I’m going to second FoisGras’ comment here. What exactly was wrong with the comments - they were all fair and rational questions.

Part of the problem surrounding rape is the hysterical emotional response that says we are not allowed to question in any way the story as told be the victim. This does a disservice to both the victim, and perpetrates all sorts of injustice onto the accused rapist.

Because you can’t handle my wisdom?

What exactly are you so upset about? That I didn’t jump on the “he shouldn’t kick his ass but BOOYA for wanting to” bandwagon? That I raised some uncomfortible, but valid points that the OP might want to consider about the situation? I don’t know about you. but I don’t come here to ignore every opinion I disagree with. I thought this was a place where people thought things through from a variety of perspectives, not just responded with a typical knee-jerk reaction.

Does anyone remember this case from a few years back? Remember the public outrage until it was revealed that most of it was bullshit?

What I am telling the OP (and feel free to argue any point with me if you can take your hand off the “ignore” button long enough) is that he needs to tell his son to grow the hell up. He WILL seriously fuck up his life for good if he goes off half cocked trying to get revenge for a situation that, for all we know, may or may not have gone down as stated.