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Do I Tell My Friend Her Teen Had Risky Sex?

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Randi from Baltimore writes:

couple kissing at a party

My friendship problem impacts two generations: me and my friend Wendy and our two daughters, Jenna and Lauren.

Jenna and Lauren are both 16 and facing some teen challenges, i.e., drinking and sex. Sally and I both have what we think are open dialogue with our daughters about what is going on with their friends and we think we have a clue what our daughters are doing. I believe we both believe we are teaching our daughters to act responsibly. Recently, my Jenna came to me and said, "I have to talk to you mom but you have to swear not to tell anyone." Sensing my daughter's concern, I agreed. What she told me was that Lauren got very drunk at a party and had unprotected sex with an older boy and when she sobered up, she freaked out and told Jenna. Jenna was seeking my advice on what to do. If I talk to Wendy, I may break up two friendships: Lauren and Jenna's because I will have divulged that Jenna broke a confidence and mine and Wendy's. What if Lauren denies it and Wendy feels the need to believe her? What if it is too hard to believe Lauren would have unprotected sex at 16 and Wendy attacks Jenna? I am stumped. How do we get out of this with the two friendships intact?

Leslie Adler: Randi:

Lauren's "freaking out" indicates to me that she knows she did not "act responsibly" and she is afraid. Jenna coming to you and breaking a confidence is a cry for help. Jenna is saying this is too much for her to handle and that she thinks someone needs to intervene to talk to Lauren. You can act in ways that will be safe in both friendships.

You can speak to Lauren in a safe and comfortable setting. You can tell her Jenna came to you because she loves her and is concerned for her and you are speaking to her for the same reasons. Ask if she wants to talk to you about what happened. Explain to Lauren that you think she should seek medical attention and that you believe Wendy needs to know about this. Offer to be there when she tells her or offer to tell her for Lauren so you can encourage Wendy to react constructively. If Lauren is resistant, be firm that you wanted to give her the opportunity to speak to Wendy on your own but you feel compelled to let her know that you have concerns about her daughter's behavior. If you avoid gossip and a holier than though attitude ... and approach talking to both Lauren and Wendy with love, both friendships will get stronger.

next: Natasha Richardson's Lesson Saved Girl's Life
12 comments so far | Post a comment now
Brie March 27, 2009, 8:33 AM

Uh, hello? If a girl is completely drunk and a boy has sex with her, that is considered rape. This isn’t a case of acting irresponsibly. It’s a case of an older boy taking advantage of a drunk teenager. You should talk to your daughter, let her know this is very serious. If this is happening in high school, what’s going to happen when they get to college? We all know that drinking is the norm in most college towns. What if Lauren thinks it was her fault! Ahhhh. Contact for more information.

Kirstie March 27, 2009, 9:20 AM

It’s a case of being taken advantage of AND of acting irresponsibly. She did not under ANY circumstances deserve to be taken advantage of - but she still acted irresponsibly by drinking until she got completely wasted.

I think the advice columnist’s course of action is the best one - but do it QUICKLY. Has it been 72 hours yet? Plan B is vital in this situation!!

Anonymous March 27, 2009, 10:08 AM

Excuse me, but drunk sex does not equal date rape. The women did not say whether the girl felt violated or not, or how much older the boy was. We also don’t know what state she’s in, but in most states, a 16 y.o can consent to having sex with a partner under 18. I work for an RCC, and Brie, people like you make it so difficult for girls who are truly raped (statutary, date, or forcible pen) to come and talk to us. So please, you don’t know all the facts.

I will say, however, that if at any point Lauren does come out and say that she said no, was not able to consent, or that the sex was not even slightly consensual, I do encourage her to come talk to an RCC counselor to decide what to do next.

Uly March 27, 2009, 11:45 AM

Anonymous, if you’re drunk enough that you can’t knowingly consent to sex, then yes, it *is* rape - no matter what the ages of the people involved are.

Amber March 27, 2009, 12:47 PM

This is all second hand hearsay. The girl may have been trying to ease some of her friends responsibility in the situation by saying she was to drunk to consent. We really don’t know. It is up to the girl herself to say rape. Until then it is just secondhand story telling and subject to suspicion.

Bill March 27, 2009, 3:22 PM

yes, it is always the man’s fault. she could have said that she wanted to do it and the guy could have been just as drunk. no opinions until you know all the facts. how about…the girl should go to jail for underage drinking. if she had not been drinking illegally, we would not be having this discussion…

Marge March 27, 2009, 3:56 PM

I think you are all missing the point. The girl did not “cry rape.” It sounds like she knew what she did and was freaking out because the sex was unprotected. I think Leslie gave good advice.

Lori March 27, 2009, 4:00 PM

I think the point is trying to take care of Lauren’s well being and protect the friendships. Regarding rape and drunkeness hopefully the dialogue the advice columnist is giving will lead the parties to have those discussions.

Cheryl March 27, 2009, 4:06 PM

Randi has to tell Wendy no matter what Lauren says. Sounds like this kid needs to straighten up and her mother needs to know.

Carrie March 28, 2009, 12:52 AM

One rule we go by, no matter how difficult the situation, is by asking ourselves one question - If it were my child would I want someone to tell me? Obviously the answer is yes in this situation. End of story.

Annoyed Anon March 28, 2009, 1:30 PM

No rape was mentioned in the article. And frankly, I’ve started skimming over every third opinion on this site because of all the panic mongering. From now on, can we all just read the story first before attempting to turn it into a call to arms for every social issue in the universe? Thank you.

Fiwdqfov June 22, 2009, 2:58 PM

Qrnais comment2 ,

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