Throwaway account for obvious reasons.
I don’t want to get into too many details. Several years ago I was raped by a close friend of mine. We had both bonded over being queer Jews and we went to the same progressive shul together. My former friend raped me, and then we didn’t see each other again. I kept going to the same shul, they never showed their face there again. They hadn’t been kicked out or anything, they just stopped showing up. I never told anyone at the shul what happened because I didn’t feel right getting someone kicked out of a place of worship, especially since there’s not a lot of other places near me where queer Jews can even go. But even so, my former friend / rapist never showed up again.
I stopped going to my shul for about a year because I was completely destitute, nearly homeless. I’m doing better now and wanted to start going back to my shul. And it turns out that in the intervening time, my rapist decided to go back to this shul, and we ran into each other. We spoke briefly and apparently they’ve been an active member of the community for several months.
I ran out and I haven’t been able to go back since. I even missed the entire High Holy Days. I tried to stream the services but I couldn’t, I kept scanning the crowd in paranoia.
I want to go back to my shul. It’s a really special place that means a lot to me. The community there is amazing, and frankly, there’s no other shul in my area I could go to even if I wanted to. This is the only shul in my area that’s queer-friendly, plus I’m patrilineal and wouldn’t even count as Jewish somewhere like a Chabad house. But I can’t go back if my rapist is there, and I don’t know what to do. It feels wrong to tell the Rabbi and get someone kicked out of a place of worship, especially since my rapist, like me, wouldn’t have any other shul to go to if they did get kicked out. But the fact is that the two of us simply can’t be in the same congregation at the same time. It’s not safe for me.
I just need advice on what to do and I’m not sure where to turn.