Dear Annie: This past year, an old high school friend looked me up after nearly 30 years. She was in town to visit her dying father.
Our youthful parting had been quite unpleasant. She called to apologize for anything she had done to offend me in the past, which is commendable, especially because she has little memory of those years. She was an abused child.
I didn’t tell her that one of her brothers raped me when we were teens. I figured she’d had enough trauma in her life, plus she was dealing with her dad dying. At one point, I came face to face with my rapist and realized I was no longer afraid of him, and that the past had no power over me. I felt I had no need to confront him or tell his sister. Instead, I reached out and shook his hand. Watching him squirm was enough for me.
However, in hindsight, I wonder whether I did the right thing by keeping this a secret from my friend. When she called, she seemed to be fishing for information, but I decided that this particular piece would be too much for her to handle. Should I have told her? – Silent Friend
Dear Friend: We are impressed with how well you’ve gotten over a horrific, traumatizing event. If you believe the brother is capable of harming another person, we hope you will report him, not only to your friend, but to the authorities, even at this late date. Your friend’s fishing expedition may have been for other reasons, but if she was an abused child, it’s quite possible the brother also attacked her and she was searching for corroborating evidence from you. There is no “right” or “wrong” in terms of telling her. Do what gives you peace of mind.