« Last post by sunnygirl on Today at 08:17:03 PM »
Okay, my first thread after posting on everyone else's threads for so long.
I have been a member of a local group since last year, and I am friends but not super close friends with most members who participate. Last week a mass email was sent breaking the news that a certain member of the group, Bob, had pled guilty to possessing child p*rnography (CP). Until that point no one had any idea of any of this - the arrest and investigation or anything. I have never met this man, but he has been a beloved member for 20 years+ and was a key board member until he retired from active participation two years ago. Following this he was asked to leave Group "to avoid negative PR."
On Friday we had a session to prepare for Group's big annual event, which I am participating in. An announcement was made that as Bob isn't allowed to attend annual event, he has been given permission to watch the trial run, so he won't miss out on seeing it. All the conversations I overheard that day ran along the lines of, "He's been our close friend for 20 years, his private life is none of our business, it's disgusting how he's being treated."
Due to my own childhood experiences (and volunteer work I've done as an adult), anything to do CP is something I take very, very seriously and something that utterly sickens me. I also googled Bob's case and the details online are absolutely horrifying, as bad as you could imagine - I mean, this is not a case of someone taking pics of their infant grandkids in the bath, or accidentally clicking the wrong thing online or something. However, I believe the other members don't know any of the details and perhaps do think it's a grandkids-in-the-bath situation.
I am unsure how to handle things. On Friday I just walked away and busied myself elsewhere anytime I heard anyone talking about it, but I didn't know the details then. I can't object to him watching the trial run because it's a free country, but I am very uncomfortable with it, and I absolutely do not want to speak to this man or have him anywhere near me. But I also don't want to cause any drama or hurt my friends, plus being part of Group could help my career and I don't want to burn bridges. I'm also worried that I might have a panic attack as it can be a PTSD trigger for me.
Can you advise me on coping strategies and how to best handle things without compromising my own feelings, or being rude? For example, if this man approaches me, if my friends try to introduce us, or if I do feel ill? And can you recommend any phrases in case any of my friends notice and ask why I'm avoiding Bob? Or if someone says something that shows they're misinformed or making wrong assumptions about the nature of the charges? Some of you may have noticed I tend to get a bit... vociferous about certain trigger subjects, usually I'm happy to lecture about the CP industry but in this case I want to avoid that.