Keeping my chin up?
July 19, 2012 12:08 PM Subscribe
I’m going to be working with the (presumably unaware) friend of someone who sexually assaulted me in the past, and the perpetrator also has personal information on me that I’d rather not be made public. How should I interact with the friend personally and professionally?
posted by anonymous to human relations (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
A few years ago I was sexually assaulted in a date rape fashion by a co-worker (call him B) who no longer works where I work. I did not report this person or tell anyone besides my closest friends as B had left the company and whatever was going on between us ended badly and I just wanted to put it behind me and move on. Unfortunately, what complicates things is that I told B some extremely personal information that could put me at risk personally and professionally if it got out, and as I am not in touch with B at all and do not know what B is capable of, I did not pursue any reports or charges as I do not know what kind of retribution I could face at B’s hands. It has been several years and I assume B does not think on what he did or about me at all, which is more or less ok with me.
However, I work in a small field with a high turnover so it was only a matter of time before I would work with someone acquainted with B. A person that B mentioned as a goodish friend, C, has been hired by my company. I doubt C knows about mine and B’s history but doubtlessly it will come to light that B and I at least knew each other. I have no reason to think C is devious or plans in any way to be an informer, but I can’t help but worry that B’s name is going to come up and I’m going to have to say something about him.
My feeling is that my tone should be indifferent in my responses, not even mentioning that I have any thoughts one way or the other on B, as it’s possible anything I say could get back to B and he still has the leverage of knowing my secret. While I know that the less I say about it the better, a small, vindictive part of me wants to make it clear that I do not think highly of B. I also know that the longer C works with us, the more difficult I will find it to maintain light indifference, even in facial expressions or attitudes, when B comes up as I am already triggered quite often without the help of another person who knows him being around.
C and I will be spending many hours together and it is expected in my line of work that friendships form readily through work. I do not want to avoid socializing with my other co-workers in groups that include C as that would be an awkward change of behavior for me, but I know C will remind me of B on a daily basis. Our HR department is laughable and asking not to work with C is not an option.
I can parse out the excruciating details of this story if needed to get a better understanding if it helps towards a solution. Throwaway email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you in advance for your advice.