Saturday, June 28, 2008

Comments --

From Blain,

Okay. That sounds like my basic understanding of your approach is in the right neighborhood of how things are. Cool. I trust your judgment in this. I think your approach here makes sense to me, and encourage you to stick to the course. Beyond that, you're one of the most competent people I've ever met, so even if your approach wasn't making sense to me, I'd attribute that to my lack of understanding more than to any inadequacies of your plan.I'll try to get that podcast up tomorrow.

Elisabeth said: thanks Blain,

Trust goes both ways, and you've always had mine. Is it ok for me to post your podcast site address so readers can view it?


I think this just sounds like someone who's trying to encourage you to drop the subject for what they perceive as your benefit, rather than their own.

It sounds like they think you're not allowing yourself to find peace about this because you're not letting go of the issue.

I don't know that you're obsessed about this in an unhealthy way -- it's possible. My guess is that your primary motivation for this is to do what you can do to stop this man from repeating what he did to you as soon as possible, and that's a healthy motivation.

I suspect there's also a bit of wanting him to pay for what he did, and what you lost, which would be pretty normal, but I think that's secondary. I think that you have some options yet to exhaust and, when you've exhausted them, you'll move on, and that sounds reasonable to me.Not sure that this is helpful, but you did ask what we thought.


Hi Blain,

I have always respected the work that you have done with the victims of violence.

And, you are correct, my primary motivation for posting about this topic is to stop this man from repeating what he did to me.

As for wanting him to pay for what he did - that's a moot point. The events that happened to me took place nine years ago. There is nothing I can do to him to make him "pay" for what he did. What happened - happened. It can't be undone. No one can go back in time and make it better.

The first commenter is assigning a "motivation" for my decision to go public based on an experience that she had with one of her friends.

I'm not that friend. My experience with abuse is very different from her friend's experience, as I pointed out in my response. There are no cookie cutter victims.

I was the victim of workplace violence, not domestic violence. I was assigned to work for this man. We were not involved personally.

If revenge is the motive for me tackling this issue, I would have sued the legislature and the Rep. for his behavior long before the statute of limitations expired.

If my motivation is to harm his chances for re-election, I would have gone public years ago when my story might have actually had an impact on voter's perceptions of his behavior. Believe me, the residents of Clark County are quite familiar with Rep. Dunn's bad behavior. They don't need me to reinforce facts that they already know.

The only thing I cared about in 1999 was escaping the violence and returning to a normal life, free of threats, controlling behavior and the serious adverse health effects that accompany long term exposure to workplace violence.

I'm not responsible for Jim Dunn's behavior. I was not his first victim, nor was I his last. The papers are full of stories about his behavior with other legislative staff over the years.

House leadership asked Dunn to see a psychiatrist back in 1999. He refused. Rep. Debolt and Speaker Chopp told Dunn they would give him back his committees and per Diem in November of 2007, if only he would agree to seek counseling. He refused.

Individuals like Rep. Dunn have a responsibility to help themselves, not blame others for their behavior. In one newspaper article, he claimed that he is the victim of discrimination.(His Constitutional right to free speech is being abridged by House leadership).

I made a choice to move on and pursue a healthy life; Rep. Jim Dunn made a choice to continue practicing inappropriate behavior with other women.

I made peace with "what I lost" many years ago. I worked with a terrific counselor who helped me let go of the anger, bewilderment and grief. He also assisted me in my efforts to develop an in depth understanding of workplace violence.

Forgiveness is a wonderful notion, but I have no intention of falling into the trap of feeling sorry for my abuser. Rep. Dunn is an adult. He has the ability to take control of his behavior and change the way he behaves towards others. His recovery is not my responsibility. Nor am I responsible for the things that he says or does. Not now, not then, not ever.

My Counselor also taught me not be afraid of stalker/abusers. Not to be manipulated or made to feel guilty by their demands for attention or attempts to manipulate me.

I did not go out of my way to "invite" a new death threat - a number of popular journalists across the state have written numerous articles about Jim Dunn during the last seven months. Those articles contained far more information than the short paragraph that I posted on the Wordpress site on June 17th.

The death threat that I received a few days ago was sent by someone who wants to frighten me into remaining silent. Think about that for a minute - and this is not the first time someone has threatened to have me drowned. Dunn threatened me in person nine years ago. Now, put yourself in my shoes...

Nothing that I can say or do at this particular juncture will "harm" Rep. Dunn. He has ruined his own career by refusing to stop practicing abusive behavior.

Nothing that I could possibly say or do will have any effect on the outcome of his re-election.

If remaining silent means never being free of death threats, I will sing about what happened to me from the mountain tops.

I will be free from this. Call it my own personal "Declaration of Independence."

Finally, I can't believe that this behavior was "covered up" for ten years by the legislature. I want that practice to stop. Every employee, even exempt legislative employees, have a right to a safe workplace that is free from violence. No one should be forced to leave their job to protect themselves.

And, you're right - the moment I've exhausted all options to putting an end to this, I'll move on.Life is much to short to waste another minute on Jim Dunn.

I honestly thought this chapter of my life was over years ago.

Apparently, I was wrong.

Thanks again.



You know your response doesn't address what needs to be confronted.

You are strong - you will deal with this, and you will transcend. Please think it through. It's not about any one's 'discomfort' but your own.

You certainly don't need to post this response... actually, please don't. Don't respond. Think it through. Don't post this. When you reach the inevitable conclusion, the inevitable will happen. And only you will know.

Elisabeth said:

Who appointed you "arm chair" psychiatrist?

Healthy individuals do not randomly assign motivations, feelings, guilt or blame to circumstances or people that they have no knowledge of or do not know.

Nor do they try to control other people's behavior or thoughts.

The commenter is referring to comments he/she posted below.

A victim mentality is one where you blame everyone else for what happens in your world. (Another definition not as commonly used is one that says a person thinks the future only holds bad things for them.) If you do not get the promotion it is because Mr. Johnson (...or Mr. Pike, or Mr. Bonner, or...) was out to get you. Not because he found you playing on the Internet every day. Your best friend called and said she could not have dinner with you. She is always doing that to you; not showing. You'll show her. You won't invite her when you go out again! Instead of remembering she has just started school and you did call her at the last minute.

Victim mentality. Recently I spoke with someone who no longer lives with a victim mentality. She has gone on with her life and is free from some of the extra baggage that come with being a victim. We discussed forgiving our abusers and how in that process you also need to forgive yourself. With that came loosing the victim mentality.When she was living under the victim mentality she found herself angrier. She found herself swirling in a sea of resentment towards her abuser.

She stayed locked in that cycle and never seemed to move forward. If she got sick, she became angry at him. If the kids messed up, she became angry at him. He was no longer in the picture, but it was all his fault. It was not hers; he made things this way... Life is easier when you can play the blame game. The blame game makes it easy for your life not to move forward or for you to grow.The day came when she tired of the mentality. She wasn't a victim anymore and the time had come for her to move beyond the victim mentality.

I asked her how she stopped the self destructive cycle. The first thing she did is something many abuse victims may have a hard time doing. She forgave her abuser. She did not say that she forgave him for breaking her ribs, she acknowledged that he had a problem and that he needed to get help. Wishing him ill will kept him in her mind more then he should have been. By acknowledging that he had hurt her, that he did have a problem, she was able to feel some relief. There was more though. As important as forgiving him was, she needed to forgive herself too. She needed to forgive herself for exposing the kids to the abuse. She needed to forgive herself for not reporting him to the police all the times he had hurt her. She needed to forgive herself for being afraid. She needed to forgive herself for not having walked away all the times she could have. She needed to forgive herself..She did all those things so she could mentally move forward. Forgiving herself allowed her to get past some of the more intense things she had experienced.

The physical bruises had all gone away. The emotional had stayed. It had clung to her and kept the victim mentality alive.Just something for you and your readers to ponder. Not judging your difficult past, just observing how you're dealing with it. Your father IS proud of his "little girl" just the way she is. But there comes a time when she needs to take that next step toward growing up.Anonymous

Elisabeth said...

Dear Commenter:
You raise some important issues and I do appreciate your thoughtful observations regarding healing from domestic violence incidents. Unfortunately, part of the strength of your message is "lost"due to the patronizing tone in which you delivered it.

Abuse, regardless of its source, is the hidden ugly truth that few speak of and in their silence help proliferate a cycle of violence extending from one generation to the next.

A survivor, someone who has moved beyond "victim" status, is a person who is not afraid to speak out about violence or the affect it has on people's lives. Nor are survivors caught up in a vicious cycle of anger. From your posting, it's obvious that you have never met me.Otherwise, you would know that I do not waste energy harboring anger or blaming others for life's little disappointments.

Your friend was involved in an intimate relationship with her abuser. From what you have told us, she exposed her children to multiple incidents of violence and did not report the events for years, probably out of fear.I'm glad to hear that she is on the road to recovery.

In my case, the violence, stalking and harassment took place in the offices and halls of the Washington State Legislature. I did not have a personal relationship with my employer - we were not dating or intimate in any way. In fact, we were both married to other people. My children were not exposed to the violence. (They did not accompany me to the workplace). This was a professional working relationship.

I reported each incident promptly as required by the House of Representatives Employee Manual and sought help as needed.

Consequently, I have no guilt to deal with or a burning need to "forgive" myself. I followed the policies of the House of Representatives to the letter.

I'm writing about these events, not because I want or need your sympathy (I don't). Or because I'm consumed with anger. (I haven't thought about my former employer more than two or three times in 7 years).

I'm writing about these events, because I want the legislature's "cover up" of this kind of behavior to stop. Legislative employees have a right to a safe, secure working environment.

I have always enjoyed a strong support network of family and friends. My husband, a former G.P. supervisor, stood by me and provided critical emotional support to help me recover from the events that took place in Olympia. We sought professional help during my recovery. There are no victims in our family, only very strong survivors.

The attached paper on stalking discusses how stalkers can move in and out of a target's life for years. "Forgiveness", is certainly a noble goal - and critical if we are going to have healthy personal relationships with others.

But it is not applicable in a former employment situation where threats of violence are still occurring. Only a fool let's his/her guard down and ignores death threats.

My goal, by going public, is to not be a "victim." My goal is to be a "survivor". A woman who can go for a walk by herself, go to the store by herself; a woman who can laugh, love, live and attend social and professional events without fear.

I intend to send a very strong message to the author of the death threat. I want him/her to understand that his/her behavior is not welcome nor will it be tolerated. Not by me, not by my partner, not by my children, not by my father or any of our friends.

I want this person to know that I report all credible threats of violence to the police, the FBI and to my former employers. There are no cowards in our household. We work through issues. We don't skirt around them, or try to sweep them under the rug.

That's what professionals who work with targets and victims of violence urge their clients to do. Take control of the situation. Work through it. Report credible threats - then take precautions to ensure your personal safety.

Yes, my father is very proud of his daughter, not because she is his "little girl." My father's daughter is a fully grown woman, a woman who is not afraid to raise or discuss uncomfortable public policy issues in a public forum, even if the discussion causes some discomfort for others.

I'm willing to take on the entire Washington State Legislature, if that's what it takes to put an end to the secrecy, violence, and inappropriate behavior in Olympia.

I think that's how a number of people define a "grown up" - some one who responds to threats and challenges with maturity and confidence -- without fear, anger or rancor - some one who is not afraid to tackle issues that cause other people to feel frightened or uncomfortable.

If my posts about workplace violence make you uncomfortable, you can always take a vacation from my blogs.

Millions of women and men are victims of domestic violence, workplace violence and stalker violence each year. Many of these victims are in the midst of violent incidents while I'm keyboarding this response. Women and men want and need encouragement to report incidents to the proper authorities.

What they don't need is a lecture. They need support and compassion from members of the community.

Perhaps you can tone it down for the next woman you come in contact with.

She may not be as resilient as I am.

Thanks again for your comments.

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