To the Perpetrator: Really now?

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.

At one point you were giving me advice on how to interact with a client. You said, “You will feel it.”

I certainly don’t need advice on how to follow my intuition from you, enough said!

Welcome!

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!

Sincerely,

Alise Kobre and Team Members

EndTheSilenceToEndTheViolence@gmail.com

To the Current Manager

This isn’t your fault at all and believe it or not I actually feel badly for you. The unfortunate truth is that most professionals have witnessed work place abuse, frequently gender based, and done nothing about it. You didn’t actually witness it but you clearly had reasonable knowledge. I consider it extremely likely that your attempting to handle this in the ethical and legal fashion would have jeopardized your position at the company. It’s quite common that companies retaliate against the victims of harassment and anyone who aligns themselves with them. Since one of your supervisors had reasonable knowledge I feel confident that the corporate culture includes covering things like this up and turning a blind eye. Who knows, maybe they will prove me wrong. But, this wasn’t your fault, even if you were the one who referenced the perpetrators notes.

Honestly, when someone has to choose between their own job security and taking the ethical course of action most will chose their own job security. That is a complex moral decision, not a simple one. And, I’m not saying that’s what did happen it’s just an educated guess. It’s exactly why most people remain silent and turn a blind eye to this type of thing.  The bottom line is that one of your supervisors had reasonable knowledge and this isn’t your fault, at all.

Simply put, it isn’t ethical to hate someone or try to ruin someone because they did what is considered normal within their own society. However, as long as the silence continues these tragedies will continue. Some are teenage suicides due to bullying, some are sexual assaults that go unpunished by our legal system and even universities and others are cases of workplace abuse so extreme that they are traumatic be they harassment, assault or otherwise. We are also typically silent about domestic abuse and child molestation, both of which are disturbingly common.

In short, we are silent about abuse of women, other minorities and children. This isn’t okay. I have always been quite passionate about women’s equality and I see no distinction between women’s rights and human rights. If I were to remain silent then I would be an incredible hypocrite. Moreover, these are human rights violations and public health issues. Something must be done. And, nothing will be accomplished as long as silence is the norm. The silence can only be broken one voice at a time. And, every single voice actually does matter.

But, I don’t hate you and I hope that you aren’t used as a scrape goat or ostracized. What you did is considered normal by society and it’s what most people in that situation do. It’s the social norm that is evil and wrong, not you or your team members.

Mission statement!

 

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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.”

To my Mentor: I’m sorry, it’s the worst thing that I’ve said to anyone in my life!

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You and I had a mentor-protégée relationship and not a romance. It was a touch confusing from the outside because we had a fair amount of casual sex. From the inside our relationship was extremely simple. We had a mentor-protégée relationship with benefits.

In the summer that we parted company you pointed out that you knew me like the back of your hand and that I knew you like the back of my hand. At that point in time you expressed concern that you were doing something that might have been hurting someone else. Then you said, “You can’t accept this can you?”

I told you that I couldn’t. I’m deeply sorry for that. It’s literally the worst thing that I have done in my life. I thought that I was being a strong person and a wise person. Truthfully, I was being a deeply unappreciative person and a fool.

As you know, a sales manager abused me. In this work I’m referring to him as, “The Perpetrator.” It’s interesting that I can define him as the perpetrator of sexual assault while defining myself as a survivor rather than a victim, isn’t it? But, I digress!

You also know that he was extremely threatened by me professionally and that his first move had been to try to manipulate me out of reinforcing my skill set at management. I’ll address why I didn’t feel it at first later. But, I did feel it enough to take control of the questions at one point. Candidly, immediately prior to that he had said, quite arrogantly, “Will you feel it? You might.”

At any rate, I took control of the questions and he got past me anyway, at least at first.

Honestly, he had to offer me a management position in order to get me to accept a position. On the night that we did the paper work he told me that he would promote me within three weeks. Within seventy-two hours he told me that he wouldn’t put me in a management position at all because he, “wanted” me, “focused on myself.”

When I offered my respectful resignation based on that he became horribly threatening and abusive.

I last saw him in person at his investment property the following summer. He was my client again at that point in time. I had accepted the listings with the specific caveat that we meet in person within seventy-two hours. I was going to end the relationship in that meeting, or attempt to again, and I thought that if I did it in person he might be respectful. I’m aware that my logic was completely irrational but it’s impossible to think clearly when one is suffering from nightmares and flashbacks, like I was at the time. Moreover, denial is quite common in these situations and I was suffering from it. As usual, he broke his word.

I met him by accident at his property. At that point in time I said that I thought that I would have been, “successful” at my position if I had been, “managing.”

He replied, “I agree with you.”

At that point in time he had asked me to go to another company, “do ten transactions and come back.”

I suggested that we end the “relationship respectfully” because we were, “not the right match professionally.”

Instead of acknowledging my statement he changed the topic by saying, “You’re big like me, I’ve seen you do it.”

He was referencing the point at which I took control of the questions.

In the following month he became so violently verbally abusive that three days later I suffered anxiety so severe that I had to call nine-one-one because I thought that I was having a heart attack. When the paramedics picked me up they thought that I had been attacked. When I told a paramedic that I had not he said, “I don’t believe you. But it’s okay, you will tell the doctors the truth.”

I notified him of this and he showed no remorse.

You taught me management. You taught me Drucker, Bennis and Kanter.

You taught me that what big people do is fix their mistakes and apologize.

Thank you for teaching me management!

Edited on December25th, 2010.

Quick note to readers: “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.


To the Perpetrator: If a tree falls in the woods does it make a sound?

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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.

To Legal and PR: I’ll answer this one in advance and up yours!

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One stunt that you would probably like to pull is saying that I clearly don’t understand the seriousness of my allegations because I’m using humor in my blog.

I studied English and not business. This is a work of creative non-fiction.

If it isn’t entertaining then no one will read it.

Also, I’m passionate about my cause and this might be effective marketing. Things that are unique and outlandish often get attention on the net.

And by the way, up yours! Your firm should have simply adhered to law!

To The Perpetrator: Your judgment was inaccurate and your behavior was predatory.

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You informed me repeatedly that I have a, “challenge with setting and respecting boundaries.”

Your observation was inaccurate. I’m neither abusive nor a passive victim.

However, you perceived a weakness. The only person who has literally disrespected every major boundary that I have set with them is you. And, in order to be effective at keeping me in a disrespectful relationship you had to literally cause me a state of duress. This isn’t acceptable professional behavior.

Exploiting a perceived weakness is predatory.

Quick note to readers: “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.