My friend Alice is going out with Bob. Myself and others have seen Bob acting inappropriately with other women (getting very close and caressing) multiple times and we suspect he has slept with other people.

Recently, Bob was acting inappropriately with another women at a bar when Alice was in another room. I confronted Bob who got very defensive and reacted violently, just as Alice entered.

Later that night another friend (Christine) told me in confidence that Bob raped another friend (Daniella) last year. Daniella does not want to press charges against Bob and doesn’t know that Christine told me about the assault.

Alice continues to be with Bob despite me telling her about Bob's multiple "normal" infidelities. I want to protect Alice by telling her about Bob’s assault. But I can’t tell Alice without breaking Christine’s trust and Daniella’s privacy.

(Names have been changed).

  • 3
    If you don't want to break C's trust and D's privacy this is a non-issue. What's wrong with just using your words and telling A what C has said about D?
    – sphennings
    Mar 6, 2018 at 15:44
  • @sphennings If I tell A then more people know about the assault increasing the risk that it becomes public knowledge against D's wish.
    – F. Smith
    Mar 6, 2018 at 15:56
  • What do you call "acting inappropriately" ?
    – Meow
    Mar 7, 2018 at 10:59
  • 8
    Have you talked again to Christine about this ? She put you in this dilemna (probably by breaking Daniella's trust btw). Either she told you the truth and selfishly asked you to live with it and do nothing, or she lied (or disseminated false information she believes to be true) and if you chose to white-knight, well... it can backfire pretty badly. Anyway, I think she must be involved in your situation.
    – Berthim
    Mar 7, 2018 at 11:21

5 Answers 5


IMHO, No, you should not tell her about the rape allegations.

Yes, that's exactly what they are. Allegations.

You can neither confirm nor deny that this really happened, and accusing someone falsely can ruin that person. And even if it is true, it would be very inappropriate for you to break Christine's trust and disrespect Daniela's decision not to go to the police.

It is simply not your responsibility to protect Alice.

The only thing you can do is to talk to Daniele in person so that she might tell Alice about it. But even that, breaks Christine's trust.

  • 10
    Might I add : Focus on his behavior. The whole rape allegation is going to make matters worse for everyone, true or not.
    – Sidar
    Mar 7, 2018 at 10:41

Christine and Alice need to talk. Other answers already outlined quite clearly that no matter what you do in this matter, it is wrong.

You can facilitiate this meeting only in one way: Convince Christine to talk to Alice. Thank her for her trust and tell her that in your mind, Alice needs to know this, but as you promised her confidence, you cannot tell Alice, so you are asking her to talk to Alice. Offer her to come along and support her allegations with the behaviour in Bob that you have observed, but do not repeat or claim anything that you don't know first-hand.

If Christine does not want to talk to Alice for any reason, assure her that you will keep the secret as promised, but that it is a heavy burden for you to carry. Inform her that you are worried about Bob for other reasons and that her story has strengthened your resolve to talk about these issues with Alice. Then go and do exactly that.


There are 2 very good answers here that approach this from opposite perspectives.

First of all, you want to protect your friend. However, allegations of rape can destroy a person's reputation - even if they aren't true and can be proven so. If you are friends with Bob, repeating allegations that you have only heard secondhand will forever destroy your friendship. You absolutely cannot un-ring that bell.

However, if they are true, you put Alice at risk. And friends don't do that, either. With respect to Daniella, that's information that you heard about her from another person and don't know all the details. Was it remorse afterward? Did she change her mind mid-act? Were they dating and broke up and she's now angry and wants to ruin his reputation? Did he forcibly engage in sex with her? What is Christine's relationship with either party? You just don't know the details here and really could stir up a hornet's nest for everyone involved.

Your best option here consists of two parts:

First of all, you should only repeat things that you know to be a FACT. You saw him behaving inappropriately. That's something you can repeat, and Alice may benefit from knowing that.

With respect to these allegations: I'd suggest advising her to talk to Daniella. Let her find out what Daniella is willing to share. Alice may have questions that only Daniella is able to answer. Or Alice may (sadly) not be interested in these allegations at all.


Perhaps you shouldn't tell Alice about Bob's sexual assault. Because your getting into a friend told a friend territory which is just not good. It is very weak evidence and often subject to being wrong.

This however is not to say Alice should not know about this if it is true, and it is not to say you should not act to let her know. After all it seems she is with a creep, and the consequences of this are going to at least be a very broken heart in the future to severe personal risk on the part of Alice.

Here is what I suggest, you engage Christine and Daniella to bring this message to Alice. It has all the benefit of what you want to achieve, letting Alice know what she is involved with, and not betraying Christine's trust. The message will be stronger, without any of the ambiguity of it just being a rumor. This will go a long way to help validate any suspicion Alice may or may not have about Bob and help her possibly get out of harms way, then simply hearing what may be a rumor from you.

Both Daniella and Christine have some interest in helping you. Daniella while she does not want to press charges, still has some interest in seeing that Bob is stopped from doing this to other's, and is not totally afraid of Bob, else she would of kept her secret totally to herself. Christine cared enough to tell you about what she heard about Bob, she is concerned and wants to help. These friends are your allies here, bring them together to give this to Alice.

  • OP does not indicate Alice has any fears about Bob. She is in a willing relationship with him.
    – TylerH
    Mar 8, 2018 at 21:57
  • "This will go a long way to help validate Alice's fears about Bob and help her get out of harms way, then [sic] simply hearing what may be a rumor from you." If your recommendations revolve around something that isn't true then your whole answer is compromised.
    – TylerH
    Mar 9, 2018 at 3:22

Rape is a very strong word. If it is actually true, then Danielle is doing other women a disservice by leaving the guy unpunished to do it again. You or Christine might be the next victim. The only proven solution to a rapist is jail.

This could also be a case of a jerk insulting a girl after a hot session (he sounds like the sort who makes all sorts of promises before... and afterward tosses her off like a dirty diaper), and hurt feelings being expressed in a rather dramatic manner.

I am not trying to make excuses for a bonafide rapist, just pointing out that you really don't know one way or another. Rape is a serious crime with serious jail time, and a seriously wrecked life after one gets out of jail... convicted felons don't have much of a career path, and sex offenders are registered as such for life. Be very careful repeating accusations of a felony crime, in the absence of any proof. You'll be opening a can of worms you really don't want to be near. Might even get an expensive libel lawsuit slapped on you.

If it's true, Danielle should take action to save other women. If it's not true, then Danielle should learn to spot jerks before she gets involved with them.

The only thing you know as fact is that this guy acts in a manner that is disrespectful to Alice, and will probably continue to do so. I've been in situations like this before - seeing this sort of thing going on. Seen men acting this way towards women, and women acting this way towards men.

The best course of action I've found is to be quietly supportive of my friend (I don't count anyone who acts in a cavalier manner towards their significant other as a friend) but not mention the activity directly. Eventually, they will figure it out. If you directly intervene in someone else's romantic situation, both of them may turn on you, regardless of how good your intentions may have been.

I had a friend's wife hit on me, in a not too subtle manner. I politely declined, saying I was very flattered, and that I was going to forget she made the suggestion. And made sure I wasn't alone with her again. I did not want to get in the middle of someone else's personal problems, what with high emotions flying everywhere. Eventually, she got caught cheating on him, several people (myself included) endorsed his idea of divorcing her, and they split for good.

Later on, he did ask me if she ever came on to me, and I said - yeah, sort of, but I didn't know what to do... very awkward situation. He said I probably did the right thing in declining and saying nothing, ruefully admitting that some lessons you just have to learn for yourself.

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