Read over the responses here on this thread and you will notice certain groupings. I do realize I’m making broad statements, but my focus is on your healing and the ability for you, your GF and possibly your relationship to move forwards. That "move forwards" might be ending it, it might be reconciling. Frankly that’s not my issue. My issue is that you two don’t get stuck in this impasse:
There are those that insist she was a willing participant in whatever took place.
There are those that insist that she was assaulted/raped because she wasn’t capable of giving consent.
Well… I am 100% for accountability, and that’s why I’m suggesting she look at her drinking.
We have this misconception about alcoholism and think it has to imply you can’t stop drinking. As in you start your day with vodka and drink all day. It’s a complex mental and physical disease, and for SOME it simply means you can’t control your drinking when you drink, rather than frequency of drinking or quantity of drinking. I shared the story of my wife’s friend, and how that wasn’t a one-off case, but something the good people at AA seemed to recognize as relatively common.
There are theories about this. My knowledge of addiction is mainly based on questions I had for myself and experience with close family members. I have also volunteered with an organization that helps young recovering addicts in moving forwards.
Your GF might be an alcoholic simply because when she drinks she tends to drink to a stage of blackout. One theory about alcoholics is that their metabolism functions differently so that we "normal" drinkers feel queasy or even pass out, whereas the alcoholic regularly just goes to black-out. So it’s not frequency or even quantity – but rather reaction.
Or she might have a bad drinking pattern… This is what I had. I realized that for a period in my life I was drinking Thursday- Friday and Saturday evenings with my friends. Week after week. I started questioning if I was alcoholic, and self-imposed a 3 month period of sobriety just to better understand myself. Turned into 8 months, simply because once I broke out of that pattern I didn’t really have a need for drink. Now – 25 years later – I have a healthy relationship with alcohol.
Maybe your GF is an alcoholic – maybe she has an unhealthy drinking pattern. Time should tell.
But… I am 100% for accountability and that means I won’t let her completely off for her actions.
Rape? Assault? Well… yes.
But keep in mind there are definitions for both terms. Moral, social and legal. If I was to place my open palm on your chest and forcibly but in a controlled manner push you away that might be seen as assault in your eyes and eyes of beholders but might not meet the standard for a formal legal charge. It’s the same with sexual assault and even rape, and that’s one reason it’s so darned hard to get convictions in court.
Morally – if a man has sexually penetrated a woman who then maybe a minute or two into the act tells him to stop… Anything after that is rape. Legally – no… wouldn’t fly.
Do I agree with these definitions? No. But that’s not the issue. The issue is that LEGALLY – and that’s often how we see the world – there is accountability too.
IF your GF was assaulted and IF she was raped… there is some accountability… but what to do with it is the issue IMHO.
This doesn’t mean I see her as a "willing participant". But a participant. She has some accountability for maintaining a drinking-pattern that repeatedly leads to blackouts. She has no accountability IMHO for being assaulted in that condition.
Well… It would be better if this was more black-and-white. But frankly he sounds like a normal, semi-decent man trying to do the best after definitely wrong actions and behaviors. It would be better for your recovery if he was a bragging SOB or flat-out refused cooperation…
Overall I cut him some slack because if we are going to give your GF slack for being drunk then we can give him some slack for being drunk. It should be ingrained in all men (all people for that matter) to be responsible and to ensure consent when interacting with other, but life isn’t that simple.
His big failures IMHO and the biggest plus-factor for your GF side is his position of power.
I have been in positions of power for decades. As a LEO, as a manager…
When I go out with my subordinates at work I have to keep a different head than when going out with friends as equals. Even though some of my subordinates are my best long-term friends. This is such a basic rule, one taught in business ethics, coaching, heck… all over the place. If your GF has previously made it clear what their relationship should be (as her coach, as her friend) and spurned romantic advances… he is in the wrong unless she initiated and he replied.
But… This one instance probably doesn’t meet standards required to take this matter further.
Now – if this person is coaching a female-team of some sorts… I would put my ear to the grapevine and see if he has a pattern of misusing his position. That would definitely warrant a call to the board or his superiors. Heck… maybe even an informal call to one of his superiors, just in case this is the third call they are getting…
But although morally and socially this is sexual assault and/or harassment… You definitely aren’t meeting the legal requirements.
Regarding her ability to make conscious decisions…
Again – legal and social differences. Being drunk is not really seen as an excuse in court. Nobody has gotten out of a DUI for being… drunk… and therefore not capable of making the rational decision not to drive.
But I have made stupid decisions while drunk…
I just don’t think we can expect logical decisions or a clear-cut memory of what took place. In fact – in this instance I would base the "truth" on what you can verify through other means that what she and he might say. That might lead to you realizing you will never get the "truth" per se and need to base your future steps on that.
The truth? You will hardly find a bigger advocate for the truth than me. But recollections and witnesses tend to be unreliable "truths" and that’s what you are using right now. We base them on what we think and experience, and that can change with time. We might truly believe we watched a rerun of Friends last Friday and that’s the truth for us, but just maybe it was Thursday, or a rerun of How I Met Your Mom. You might have to create your "truth" and I suggest you do that on the physical and circumstantial evidence you might have. Heck… at some point you need to accept there are big gaps and simply move on with what you have.
So… with all that… what to do…
I have two suggestions:
Think long and hard about if YOU can get past this.
Not if you ARE past this, but do you think that this will still be there in a year as a controlling emotion in your relationship?
For some her accountability weighs in heavier than her being a victim. That’s OK – I won’t judge you. This is a very individual, moral-based decision.
If that’s your result: End this relationship. Only do so on the right grounds, not because she did something, but because what she did or experienced is something you can’t deal with. That is perfectly fine – perfectly allowed.
The other suggestion:
Be very frank about your issues on this matter, but be vocal and honest about wanting to move on.
Not past, not rug sweeping… but move on from THIS to some other stage in your relationship.
Agree that ALTHOUGH she put herself in a position where something like this was more likely to happen than had she been "sensibly" drunk then she is a victim of assault. Maybe even unintentional assault (if that even exists…) but still assault.
That you two will work on handling those emotions, but that you both aim on a) making these emotions non-controlling in your relationship and b) prevent situations likely to cause repeats.
Whatever you do… Don’t expect her to accept being a victim or allow her to feel powerless.
Finally – There are great resources available for victims of sexual assault. Even such "indirect" or unclear (or whatever you might want to call it) assault as this might possibly be. That includes support for spouses and victim-families. I encourage you two to look into that.