Please see the pages above or the section below marked bullying intervention.
Quick preface: “Workplace Issues” is a work of creative nonfiction based on my true story of being bullied. It’s told in a series of open letters.
On the night that you let me go you accused me of having, “bad hygiene.”
I was breaking into cold sweats because I was having a traumatic stress breakdown caused by you.
It is so disturbing that this could happen at a company founded by a woman and with a team that is predominantly female.
Welcome to this site! Guest posts are extremely welcome. If it’s coherent and legal we will post it. Anyone who would like to volunteer is welcome. Please let us know what you would like to contribute. Feedback about anything at all is welcome! These are complex social issues and ideas are extremely welcome as well! Thanks for stopping by and we hope that this is informative and helpful!
Alise Kobre and Team Members
With sexual harassment, sexual assault and bullying in schools and workplaces silence is the norm. With gender based and sexual orientation based hate crimes silence is the norm. Silence cannot create social change, ever. The norm is completely unacceptable.
As Warren Bennis, one of the world’s authorities on leadership, observes in his work “Transparency” it is nearly impossible to suppress information now. These usually are not actually instances of he said and she said, he said and he said or she said she said but instances of all of the parties who do have reasonable knowledge being complicit and unwilling to speak.
Unfortunately our social norm is to turn a blind eye and consider the abuse to simply not be our problem. This happens with bullying in schools, on college campuses and at workplaces. It happens with violence against women be it harassment, assault or domestic violence. It happens when individuals are targeted based on race religion and sexual orientation also. As long as it is socially acceptable and considered normal behavior to observe abuse complicity and par-take in victim blaming tragedies such as the recent series of suicides* will be common place.
There have been more suicides that we don’t know about than we do.
Included in this site is a model that most victims of severe harassment or bullying could duplicate effectively. It holds the perpetrator accountable for their behavior. It holds the institution responsible for neglect. It’s effective at correcting unjust damage to a victim’s reputation by exposing the truth and putting a stop to victim blaming.
This is a real situation and I personally was assaulted. The company acted with gross neglect and flagrant disregard for law. Unfortunately, this is still common with gender based hate crimes and bullying. It happens in work places and universities. Companies, intuitions and perpetrators count on the victim’s silence. Let’s speak!
Until very recently most people were unaware of the high coloration between bullying and suicide. This doesn’t just happen in schools and on campuses. It also happens in work places. We know that there are adult suicides for the same reason. Work place abuse can cause post traumatic stress disorder and suicidal urges are a common symptom of PTSD. Unhealthy and unsafe places of education and work are unacceptable.
Unfortunately, it isn’t possible to end all abuse. It’s absolutely possible to have a zero tolerance policy toward abusive behavior of any nature in any one environment. We know this because it’s been done successfully by many companies and universities.
Moreover, these are public health risks that many people are unaware of. Confident and assertive individuals are at a higher risk for work place abuse than others. Frequently, bullies and predatory individuals are motivated by jealousy. One of my goals is to prevent this from happening to others. Please take a moment to review the section categorized, “Early Warning Signs” and forward it to your friends and family.
In preventing hate crimes, violence against women and suicides due to bullying every voice matters, including yours! One person cannot break this silence or create change but as a team we can. Please take twenty minutes to join our team.
We don’t need your money or your time, we need your voice!
I had an interesting conversation with one of my childhood best friends yesterday. I told her that the perpetrators notes from our interview process read; “Attractive, Charming, Witty, Funny, Intelligent, Confident, Ambitious…possibly insane.”
She fell silent for a second and then began laughing. The punch line is that it’s a fairly accurate description. Frequently in a situation like this a woman is instructed to seem conservative, docile and non confrontational. Now, unless she happens to actually meet that description then it may well be a strategic mistake. Basically, working within traditional confines the cards are stacked against a woman.
I’m applying a management concept here. Within traditional confines it’s nearly impossible for me to pursue justice and have a voice. The PR and legal team involved is experienced at playing this game and they will probably win the traditional game. However, what I’m doing is changing the game. Candidly, it will confuse the living hell out of them and quite likely frighten them. Their normal protocol won’t work! 😉
So, while it’s entirely true that I’m possibly insane a great deal of what I’m doing here is strategic. Also, I studied English not business and I’m having fun!
This is one ethical, legal and effective solution for holding perpetrators of workplace abuse and / or sexual harassment and / or sexual assault accountable for their behavior. Social media offers several options here. Abusive individuals count on their victim’s silence. So do many companies and some places of education. The goal here is to break the silence, create accountability for the perpetrator, and hold the company responsible for neglect. This is what is effective in my situation and something similar to it would be effective in many situations. It’s a model that can be duplicated. However, sometimes creating accountability is as simple as a face book post. Usually, it’s more complex than that but I’ve seen it work in at least one case. Again, the goals here breaking the silence and creating accountability!
I plan to execute on this around the Holiday Season, wish me luck! 😀
Also, I’d love to hear about other instances of breaking the silence and creating accountability. There are several effective solutions and I’d *love* to hear about as many as possible. Guest posts on this topic are *extremely* welcome!
FYI: These are excerpts. The full project is below in the other section titled “Breaking the Silence and Creating Accountability.”
Dedicated To: Hendric, Morgan and Ashleig
Hey peeps, this is a letter of apology. You were owed a world in which you all can live your lives safely and in peace. Less than fifty percent of you will inherit that. The horrifying truth for those of you who are female is that one in five of you will experience sexual assault or attempted sexual assault in college. You will find a legal system that will not provide you with justice. You are likely to find that your university is more concerned about protecting its reputation than your human rights. They might even try to silence you about the tragedy. Almost all of you will be the target of gender based disrespect or love someone who is. I am extremely sorry that we let you down.
This sounds like a digression but it isn’t. I was in high school during the nineties. Before the nineties gay and lesbian rights were virtually unheard of. Open disrespect of gays and lesbians was completely socially acceptable. Prior to the nineties it was dangerous for people to be openly gay because they might become the target of violent hate crimes and they had little to no legal recourse. They lived in fear. I know that it’s hard to imagine now, but it’s true.
There was a lot of activism for gay and lesbian rights during the nineties. Probably the most important part of that was the One in Ten Movement. I was a part of that one. There were three things that I loved about it. A friend of mine is a lesbian so I was helping someone who I love. Also, I was creating important social change. This is the mind blowing one. What you had to do to be a part of the One in Ten Movement was *almost nothing!*
So, I’m creating a model that doesn’t cut into your time for enjoying life because we want to keep our priorities straight! All that you had to do to be a part of that movement was learn to recognize homophobia and correct it when you saw it. And, back then it was so common and intrinsic to the culture that our gay and lesbian friends had to coach us on it and explain it to us. However, it’s now 2010 so I’m just including video clips. When we heard homophobic comments we had to say something like, “I have a lesbian friend and I really don’t appreciate that.” Obviously, around ten percent of you will need to be a little more motivated than that. But, I want to make this as simple and easy for most of you as it was for me.
Thoreau writes that, “Wisdom is not gained but lost with age.” It’s similar to Jay-Z’s, “Forever Young.” Warren Bennis, the world’s authority on leadership, observes that leaders see what, “could be” rather than what is. There is another group who is capable, willing to, and excited about seeing what could be. It’s you! It’s one of the wisdoms that Thoreau refers to. I hope that you all will keep it for the rest of your lives. And I hope that you will use that wisdom today. Obviously, some of you will need to do a little extra work, but for about ninety percent of you creating real social change is as simple as watching a few short video clips and making a few simple decisions.
A world in which one is physically safe and treated with respect is a birthright.
Go claim your birthright!
You isolated my three biggest strengths as creative problem solving skills, communication skills and consultation skills. You were praising my creative problem skills. Systematically giving approval for creative problem solving won’t strengthen those skills at all. The only way to teach creative problem solving is by setting an example of seeing problems as opportunities. Anything else is ineffective.
You represented a reputable firm when I met you. That firm is a nationwide name in real estate. Business consultants were attempting to teach agents to apply a certain innovation. Indecently, the fact that pricing appropriately and doing the basics of marketing and consultation well is considered an innovation is bizarre, but I digress. Anyway, you had no confidence in your ability to apply that material and you did have confidence in my ability to apply it. Obviously, you had absolutely no business trying to teach me anything about communication or consultation. You should have been asking me questions!
Here is an underlying problem with all of your selections. None of these are specific skills. They are all skill sets. You build the skill sets one skill at a time. You are doing a process that most people can’t feel in a way that is completely ineffective.
If a tree falls in the woods does it make a sound?
By the way, the answer is no.
Yea, neither do I. But, as long as sexual assault, sexual harassment and domestic violence are shrouded in silence they will continue to be common place. We have to talk about them in order to make them stop! The exact same principle applies for bullying in schools, on college campuses and workplaces!
Besides, we are doing it in such a way that we are demanding social change.
That aspect of it can be a lot of fun!
Of course! I make jokes about sex also! Check out my posts tagged comedy. There are plenty of references to sex, I promise. This isn’t about never referencing sex in a workplace or eliminating female sexuality, *at all*, quite the opposite, actually.
It’s about respect of boundaries and eliminating gender based disrespect. Don’t worry, we will keep the humor and eliminate the hate! 😀