This is where I believe we find ourselves now. We have become a “grassroots movement” that picks and chooses among “newcomers” to determine who will be allowed into an elite group. To me a movement is the inclusion of many groups and individuals that represent different voices, points of view, and issues working together toward a common goal. Historically rights groups have always embraced the broadest base possible. The battle against Sexual Harassment required the help of male politicians, husbands, fathers, and brothers who offered their support.
Who is the best person to determine how we move forward? I would argue that no one person, group, or organization should be in a position to determine the agenda and who gets to speak. Instead, we need to draw on what each of us has to offer at any given time over the course of this struggle. Even acknowledging the hard work of those who began this effort, how long someone has been involved in this movement is less important to me than the vital skills that any of us brings. That’s the way movements grow.
I am a survivor of bullying and, like many of us, I am able to quickly relate to other targets’ stories. But, none of us has the same exact experience or severity of impact and those who assume that experience alone entitles anyone to a deeper knowledge of this issue disparage the concern of many possible supporters with the empathy to understand human pain. And most importantly, each of us should feel free to critique and support a variety of approaches to legislation, preventative options, and our future battles without it being held against us.
My own experience within (or I should say outside) the movement has deeply saddened me. Despite being a trained journalist with an MA and a distinguished resume, I feel my skills, which should be serving our movement and helping to reach and protect victims of abusive bosses, have been purposely marginalized. It has always been my goal to bring into the public dialogue the stories of victims that are not part of the mainstream coverage; the unheard voices not the experts and talking heads. That is the core of my body of work and why grassroots groups and Universities have used my films for nearly two decades to educate and affect change.
That was why I created my web-documentary as a resource and video portal and it’s also why I became a co-founder of the fledgling cyber-group called the International Educational Coalition on Workplace Bullying. I’m excited that the Coalition allows me to join so many others in freely promoting critical discussion, context and analysis of all the research taking place and how it impacts the overall understanding and prevention of hostile work environments. Everyone visiting our Facebook Page or Website is encouraged to add their own opinion and approach. Do I personally agree with everyone who posts on the site? No, and I’m proud to say that even the three of us who originally founded the IECWB don’t agree on all aspects of the issue and encourage everyone visiting the site to have that same healthy discourse. Our International focus has allowed different perspectives, coupled with personal experiences, to come together on one page. It’s been eye opening to see how even countries with Workplace Bullying legislation in place are still struggling to define the best resolutions.
The IECWB marks the first time I’ve truly been able to collaborate with others who are also struggling to bring public awareness to this topic. We bring together psychologists, lawyers, researchers, business & Human Resource representatives, advocates and victims to create a forum for all our voices. And, there are so many things to discuss, below is just a sampling:
Support of strong Workplace Violence legislation that includes Workplace Bullying (Type 3 Workplace Violence) and making the link to Type 4 which includes Domestic Violence in the workplace as well as specific issue Workplace Bullying bills
Strengthening OSHA health harming protections
Strengthening Workers Compensation and how it can help targets currently suffering
Exploring Arbitration, ADR & Mediation as a way for targets to find relief
Putting aside the demonization of HR and Business owners and creating a true dialogue with those that want to support us
Discussing the types of policies and approaches that are actually effective and encourage a healthy workplace that discourages bullying behavior.
Staying current with evolving research in PTSD, Stress, Anxiety Disorders
Please take a moment to visit the IECWB site to find information, share information, and join the global discussion. – Bev