Saturday, June 28, 2008

Effects of Workplace Stalking and Violence

Studies have demonstrated that workplace violence, stalking, bullying and harassment can have serious impacts on the health, safety and welfare of workers.

All four behaviors can cause both physical and psychological injury and illness. Employees respond differently to violence, stalking, bullying and harassment, both in terms of the emotions they experience and the time it takes to recover from an incident.

Threats of violence can trigger anxiety attacks that can be life threatening. Seek medical help for a co-worker, if an incident triggers a severe anxiety attack.

Employees do not have the right to retaliate physically or verbally. But they do have the right to remove themselves from a potentially violent situation.

Rehabilitation can be very expensive - but it is often a necessary part of recovery. Counselors can help employees manage the impact of crisis situations and develop skills for handling violent incidents in the future.

Long term exposure to violence in the workplace can lead to post traumatic stress disorder. PTSD is an anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to one or more terrifying events in which harm occurred, including psychological and emotional trauma, apart from any physical harm. Reoccurring PTSD episodes can paralyze an employee, making the simplest tasks very difficult to perform.

New threats, (including threats received after the employee has left the workplace), can trigger new PTSD episodes and other serious health issues. If you are re-exposed, seek professional assistance to deal with the flashbacks and stress.

Common symptoms include increased anxiety, stress, fatigue, chronic sleep disorders and irritability.

It is important to report incidents to employers and police as soon as the incident takes place. "Victims" or "Targets" must take steps to protect themselves from future threats. If the employer refuses assistance, go directly to law enforcement.

For more information:


In the 2007 Bellingham Election the Builders reportedly hired a photographer to stalk females on the McShane campaign.This freak parked outside women's homes in the dark at 6am in the morning to take pictures.All was done in apparent support of the Pike campaign. Some of the women volunteers were in tears from stress of some creepy pervert following them. Interestingly, the Pike campaign has never complained about this tactic.


Elisabeth Said...

I've read about this person in the Cascadia Weekly and I have spoken with individuals who had encounters with this man. I'll be watching the Weekly for further developments.

If the events are true, then the community needs to demand that the behavior ends. Women in politics need to unite, regardless of party affiliation, and send a strong, public message that we will not tolerate thugs in local politics.


From a second Commenter:

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.

Elisabeth said...

Dear Commenter:You raise some important issues and I do appreciate your thoughtful observations about 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 is she/he 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 that 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 frighten or cause other people to be frightened or uncomfortable.
If my posts about workplace violence makes 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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