If you follow me on twitter (or even if you don’t, but move in similar circles) you probably saw some of the online events of the past weekend and first half of this week. If not, here’s the basic premise:
I saw behavior that I considered to be bullying, manipulative, and dangerous being carried out by someone who is supposed to be an advocate for survivors of domestic violence. I held my peace, kept my mouth shut about it until I saw this happen again. And then yet again.
I went on twitter and disagreed with what she was doing. She denied that she had done anything wrong. I voiced my concerns to her that she was bullying people, and that even if it were not her intention, some of her tweets seemed threatening.
Suddenly, I was somehow the bad guy victimizing her. She accused me of being part of a cyber-conspiracy of bullies. I am not. The people she accuses me of being in collusion with, many of them I didn’t even know of until she turned on me this weekend. Then they came to my defense.
Yes, what a group of horrible, nasty people, to come to the defense of someone they had never even interacted with before.
I had previously submitted stories for her charity book, believing it to be for a good cause. I and the other contributors knew going into it that this was not-for-profit, so any statements or implications that we didn’t know that are lies. (However, I did NOT know, until the book was released, that she was going to list herself as the AUTHOR.)
Due to her behavior I no longer want any affiliation with her or her book, so I requested that my submissions be removed. To my understanding, several other contributors have done the same. I have finally received confimation that my work will be removed from the book.
If you disagree with me and think that I should have left my submissions in, that’s perfectly fine. If you disagree with my account of the events, that’s perfectly fine as well.
If you decide to “report my blog for indecency” just because you disagree with me, guess what? You are bullying me. If you try to get several people to do the same, guess what? You are part of a ring of cyber-bullies. Exactly to whose fife are you marching?
As the title of this post notes, here are a few basic facts. Because
These definitions are all courtesy of The Free Dictionary:
Manipulate: “to influence or manage shrewdly or deviously; to tamper with or falsify for personal gain”
Stonewall: “to engage in delaying tactics; stall; to refuse to answer or cooperate”
Bullying: “to treat in an overbearing or intimidating manner; to force one’s way aggressively or by indimidation”
Fraud: “a deception deliberately practiced in order to secure unfair or unlawful gain; a piece of trickery”
Gaslighting: “A form of psychological abuse in which false information is presented to the victim with the intent of making them doubt their own memory and perception. It may simply be the denial by an abuser that previous abusive incidents ever occurred, or it could be the staging of bizarre events by the abuser with the intention of disorienting the victim.”
Let me linger on gaslighting for just a moment. This is a mental tactic employed by abusers. For example:
Gaslighter (possibly during an arguement): Why are you even still here? It’s not like anyone cares about you.
*some time passes*
Gaslighter: Why haven’t you called me back?
Victim: You said you didn’t care about me.
Gaslighter: No I didn’t, I never said that.
Victim: Yes, you said “it’s not like anyone cares.”
Gaslighter: Don’t be crazy/stupid/silly/put words in my mouth! (Basically, end by using any insult or excuse to discredit the victim and make him/her discredit him/herself.)
A lot of people have trouble understanding this concept, gaslighting, because so much of it happens in the mind, so this morning I came up with a good physical example to help describe it.
A man is carried into the emergency room, bleeding profusely, with part of his arm missing.
Doctor: What seems to be the problem?
Man: A shark bit off part of my arm!
Doctor: Well, let’s see. Your arm was fine last week when you saw your regular doctor for a flu shot.
Man: Doc, a shark bit my arm just now!
Doctor: I’m not sure what that has to do with anything, everything I have here says your arm is fine.
Man: Listen to me, last week doesn’t matter! A shark bit me today!
Doctor: No it didn’t, stop being irrational.
Man: *bleeds to death while arguing with the doctor*
This seems ridiculous, and the doctor would surely face a malpractice suit if it actually happened. The doctor is denying what happened to the man, and is trying to convince the man that he is fine even though he clearly is not. Gaslighting.
All of these behaviors are some of what I saw going on, and then what happened to me after I spoke up about it.
I’m not okay with a person who claims to support survivors and abhor bullies, and then shows herself to be a bully.
This might have be the kindest and most sarcasm-free blog post that I ever have or ever will write. Also the blandest, excepting the shark. So to temper that, let me give you a few links:
This post on Everyday Victim Blaming: #OneVoice & how helping survivors must mean listening.
Portia Smart’s The Wounded Helper
Jenny Trout’s ABB Warning: Eve Thomas and #OneVoice
The 50 Shades is Domestic Abuse Statement regarding Eve Thomas