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One of my sort of close friends has been raped, several times, before and after I met her. When she told me about the third time this happened, in early December, I wanted to cry and knew that for me it was the normal thing to do, but the look on her face made me feel that it was wrong. Her face gave me the feeling that the whole thing was normal. So, I went sort of crazy for a week but did nothing. Now, she tells me that one of the guys who raped her a while back is now stalking her and has for two days. I don't know how to ask how I can help, or how to ask what happened and what is being done. I read "Who's Afraid of the Dark" by Cynthia Carosela, and took all the advice given, but I don't feel I'm getting anywhere. What would your advice be on helping her?

Thanks for being such a great friend. Unfortunately, what might seem like a natural response to you and me, obviously isn't for your friend. Without knowing her and more about her life I can't really conclude this, but based on other examples and experiences--there is a cycle of abuse, which she may be caught up in. It's a sick thought, but it almost does seem natural, when your whole life is full of examples of people undermining and abusing you. This could be physical, sexual or verbal abuse. To learn more about the cycle of abuse--you should read Judith Herman's book--Trauma and Recovery and also Sandy Bloom's book Creating Sanctuary. What both of this books--and many others--show is how you need to acknowledge this cycle before you can break out of it. Unfortunately, this acknowledgement takes belief in yourself and confidence that you aren't crazy--the system is. You can help your friend, by helping her to realize that not everyone lives with that abuse.

About stalking there is a great book by Gavin Debeker The Gift of Fear. He goes over all the steps and signs--and mostly what it can lead to. Your friend should know about all of that.

I hope this helps


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