TW: Talk of Sexual Assault.
Building and maintaining boundaries is a necessary part of any relationship.
What happens, though, when a trusted friend not only breaks those boundaries but then blames you for maintaining them?
That was the issue facing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) ThinAd9201 when he came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for judgment.
“AITA for being ‘homophobic’ towards my best friend?”
OP began with explaining his mindset.
“For those who are saying the answer is very obvious, it really was not to me at the time.”
“He told me that because I was straight I could not have a say in if it was homophobic or not because I was straight which I genuinely believed.”
“I also feel/felt very guilty on how I handled the situation, if I was being too harsh.”
“And I hadn’t got any prior opinion, as I haven’t told anyone else about the situation.”
“(I would really appreciate opinions from the Lgbtq+ community)”
Then he explained the backstory.
“I 21 male have been best friends with whom I’ll call Mike 22 male.”
“Me and Mike have been friends since childhood and we’ve never really had any big fights/problems before so this was very unexpected and I had no idea what to do.”
“For some context Mike is gay and came out to me when he was 18 and I’ve supported him the whole way.”
“From helping him tell his parents and having discussions about his identity and helping him through it.”
“I myself am straight (Mike has been aware of this) but I have nothing against the LGBTQ+ community.”
“Around last week me and Mike were hanging out with our other friend Ava (22 Female).”
“We were drinking, and just ranting about our lives.”
Everything was fine, until…
“Later Ava had to use the restroom and when she left Mike had touched me inappropriately.”
“I’m not going to go into detail, but that’s what happened.”
“I told him to stop and he didn’t.”
“I later left because I was uncomfortable, and I didn’t know how to handle it because something like this has never happened to me before.”
“About two days later I messaged him about it and told him how I was upset and very uncomfortable with him crossing my boundaries, and that I wanted a break from our friendship for a little while.”
“He didn’t take that very well and claimed that I was being ‘homophobic’ and I didn’t want to be his friend anymore just because he was gay, which is the furthest thing from true.”
“I didn’t want to take a break from our friendship because we’ve been close since we were kids but I just could not let what happened slide, in case it would ever happen again.”
OP was left to wonder:
Having explained the situation, OP turned to Reddit for judgment.
Redditors weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors decided: NTA
Many pointed out that boundaries were crossed.
“NTA oh, your body, your rules.”
“You didn’t break the friendship up because he was gay.”
“You broke off the friendship because he pursued unwanted sexual advances after you made it clear you didn’t want it to go there.” ~ Needelz
“He took advantage of you despite knowing you’re straight.”
“He didn’t stop when you said no.”
“He didn’t apologize afterward.”
“He tried to give you a guilt trip and called you homophobic.”
“I hope he comes around but this will be hard to get past if he doesn’t.”
“I’m gay btw, since you said you were looking for judgment explicitly from the community.” ~ Shoontzie
“You weren’t being homophobic.”
“You were setting a reasonable boundary.”
“It’s actually gross that your friend would call you homophobic when the real problem was that he disrespected you and touched you in a sexual manner without your consent.”
“Your friend is an abuser and should be avoided. A real friend doesn’t sexually molest you and try to turn the tables on you when they are so clearly the one in the wrong.” ~ joanclaytonesq
Some even took a moment to be educational.
“Yep, typical sexual assault followed by DARVO. Doesn’t matter that he is gay” ~ Meechgalhuquot
“What’s DARVO” ~ wamimsauthor
“‘Deny, Attack and Reverse Victim and Offender'”.
“It’s in the ‘Narcissist’s Gaslighting Toolbook’ ™️.
“(Not a real book).” ~ joniangel2776
“It is a form of gaslighting.”
“It is where someone may for instance, in retelling an event, accuse you of doing actions that they did like that you humiliated them when they told a lie that paints them in a good light and you in a bad one.”
“Because you dared to correct them to stop them humiliating you and preserve your reputation.”
“They have in this situation, created their own humiliation with their bad actions they shouldn’t have done in the first place, but foisted responsibility onto you unfairly.”
“Or they play victim in a situation where they are the offender like if you accuse them of cheating, they start crying and saying ‘how could you think so little of me??? You must really hate me…'”
“Or they go on the attack like ‘You’re the one CHEATING on ME! I saw you doing [innocent thing that everyone knows is innocent] with X!'”
“Note: this accusation can be ridiculous because the point isn’t to believe it, but to make you defensive and feel like you have to prove yourself where you don’t.”
“Ultimately, this always leaves you feeling guilty and like the bad guy and often apologising and asking for forgiveness… from someone that has wronged you.”
“Because they have turned it around on you and convinced you that you are the offender and they are the victim.”
“Victims of abuse can actually be convinced that THEY are the abuser in their relationship because of this.” ~ EnergyThat1518
Commenters pointed out that this was assault.
“Certified gay man here.”
“You’re certainly NTA, that’s sexual assault my dude.”
“Not cool that he did it, and extremely sh*tty that he’s deflecting it back on you.” ~ Danic89
“If OP were a woman and Mike was straight would it have been ok for him to inappropriately touch OP?”
“I don’t think so, the same rules apply here and he needs to get his thinking right, he was wrong, acted inappropriately and needs to apologize.”
“I would definitely go LC with him” ~ mortgage_gurl
“Bisexual woman here, I agree.”
“OPs mate sexually assaulted him, OP has every right to take a break from their friendship.”
“What his mate did and how he has responded to OP is inexcusable.”
“NTA OP, I hope you are ok and please speak to someone who is supportive and who you trust about this.” ~ Jigglypuff-n-stuff
“I’m pansexual and a trans man and the fact that he tired to pull the homophobia card here is absolutely despicable and disgusting.”
“Not only that, but his excuse makes no sense when you think about it.”
“I’d use the analogy ‘If I’m right handed but I punch you with my left hand, did I still punch you?’ But somehow the analogy for his excuse is ‘If you’re right handed but I punched you with my left hand, did I still punch you?'”
“It does not matter if you or him are gay, straight, or something else entirely. Sexual assault is sexual assault.” ~ deaddlikelatin
“I am a cis White female.”
“If a male friend of mine touched me in a way I did not like and I asked to stop but he didn’t, and I then take a break from my friendship with him, would that be wrong? No.”
“If that male friend happened to be a different race, would my rejecting his unwanted touch make me racist? No.”
“If that friend was a female friend, would that make me homophobic? No…”
“We teach children that ‘No means no, and it’s okay to say no.’ We also teach them that ‘People who don’t respect your no are not safe people and it’s okay to walk away.’ There’s no difference here.”
“It’s called body autonomy. I have it, you have it, everyone has it. Not wanting to be touched by someone in an overly familiar manner is just that.”
“Taking a step back when someone doesn’t accept your no is perfectly reasonable. Anyone who says otherwise is trying to gaslight you.” ~ MelodyRaine
There was even a point to be made about who gets to decide if something is hurtful.
“As I said in another post, the person who is the victim decides if it’s okay, not the perpetrator.”
“If someone punches you and you’re in an agreed upon martial arts match it’s okay. If someone randomly walks up to you and slugs you in the street, not okay.”
“If someone slaps you in a kinky consensual”
“Same thing applies to sexual touching. Unless there’s an active ‘yes I’m okay with this’ the answer is no.”
“Consent is what matters. Here, and in most things.”
“Sincerely, a member of the LBGTQ+ community”
“PS air hugs and theoretical cookies for you.”
“I’m sorry that was done to you.”
“Lmk if you want to vent or just have a virtual movie night.”
“Or to send dog photos- seeing dog photos always cheers me up some and I have… Probably a crazy dog lady number of photos of my dogs lol.” ~ ProfessionalAd1933
Boundaries are a necessary part of every relationship and maintaining them can be just as vital.