Ask Amy: Facebook algorithm connects victim to assault
Dear Amy: About 20 years ago, I was raped by my close friend’s longtime boyfriend. Basically, after drinking at a bar, I was so messed up, they took me to the place where they were staying. Looking back, I think I may have been drugged, because I basically could not move. (I’ve never been a heavy drinker.)
When I woke up, he was on top of me. It changed my life forever!
Lately, I see his comments on Facebook — on mutual friends’ pages. It is really frustrating.
In the past, I just didn’t use Facebook much, but during the pandemic, I’ve frequented FB more often, because I am trying to keep up with distant friends.
I’m not sure how to resolve this. I’ve debated sending these mutual friends a private message saying that I may drop them as friends because of him — and tell them why.
Sometimes I want to call him out on others’ pages when I see his friendly or happy-go-lucky posts.
I never pressed charges when this happened because I guess I was embarrassed and vulnerable.
Now as an older person, I wish I had pressed charges to resolve some of my anger. I wish he had been punished for taking so much trust away from me.
Should I just quit Facebook? If I do, I feel that he wins. — Hanging On
Dear Hanging On: I have a number of recommendations. None of them involve you calling out this man to mutual friends. Please understand that even if you send a private message, the recipient could take a screen shot of that message and distribute it publicly. This could backfire badly.
First, you should communicate with a counselor at RAINN.org. You can speak with someone by phone, or use their very helpful “chat” function to basically text back and forth. You need to talk about what happened to you. It is never too late to benefit from supportive counseling.
States have varying rules regarding reporting a rape, and RAINN.org has state-by-state guidelines posted on their site.
If legally allowable in your state, you should consider reporting this to the police. It is widely understood that victims of sexual assault sometimes don’t report until many years later. You might be told that they can’t help you, but you might feel more empowered if you tried.
If you want to confront this person about the assault, then you should communicate with him — not through mutual friends. Discuss this prospect with a counselor.
Because you are triggered by seeing comments this man makes on friends’ FB pages, you should use the “block” function to block him. You will then be virtually “invisible” to each other.
Dear Amy: Wedding help please! We have three daughters and one son.
Our oldest daughter got married at 26. We paid $25,000 toward her wedding, following the age-old tradition that the bride’s family picks up the bulk of the wedding costs.
Our only son is recently engaged and will be 33 when he gets married.
He owns his own home, enjoys a comfortable lifestyle, and recently inherited $25,000 from his grandmother. (His future in-laws appear to be very well off.) Our son has recently asked us how much we can put into their wedding kitty.
Does the age-old tradition we applied to the first daughter also apply to the son, in that the bride’s family picks up the bulk of the wedding costs?
And perhaps the bigger question, at what point in life do you stop expecting your parents to pay for your wedding? — Wedding Stressed
Dear Stressed: At no point in life should anyone expect their parents to pay for their wedding.
Couples should be responsible for financing their own weddings — using their own savings, and gifts from their parents (if possible).
Ideally, you should arrive at an amount you are willing and able to give to each child (daughters and sons) on the occasion of their (first) wedding. They can put the money toward a celebration, the down payment on a home, a trip, or plow it into their retirement account.
You need to talk with your son and his fiancee to see what their plans are and what they are hoping to receive from you.
Dear Amy: Responding to the question from “Lady in Waiting,” who was contemplating marriage to a guy who was basically siphoning off her money — the guy is a deadbeat. I’m glad you tried to warn her off. — Know the Type
Dear Know: I wonder if she’ll listen.