Wednesday, July 4, 2012
Let Freedom Ring!
7:46 am edt
".... let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear... is fear
itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance."
I only have my story of abuse--and my willingness to talk about that experience--as
a guide. When I've written about my being a bullied target in the recent past, my writing's been focused specifically
on an abusive principal and my district's tacit support of him.
My experience, however, is so much more than that
now. Now it's an experience of resolve. It's one of fortitude; outrage and sadness. It's me; still me...and it's
now my district's leadership.
It's also still an experience, from time to time, of fear.
still get scared. I still feel that lurch in my stomach as I learn more of others' awful, horrible, not-to-be-believed experiences...and
what happened to them thereafter. "That would have been you, Kim," my mind whispers; "That would have been
It still may be me.
Again--oh again, again, again--I write about the known detrimental physical
effect of emotional abuse and the stress of that abuse. We recognize the ill effects for children who are bullied in schools.
How can it be any different for adults in those same schools being bullied by principals?
I feel sometimes like
the Chinese "Unknown Rebel" standing in front of the line of tanks at Tianamen Square. Right now, in my mind's eye, my
school district's tanks are stopped. The tanks are driven by my district's leaders and attorneys. Right now the tank drivers
are debating what to do next. For you see, I've walked in front of them. I may look calm standing there. I am not. Sometimes
my fear starts to get the best of me. Sometimes my fear of "what they will do to me" almost has me run out of their
way. That fear screams" GET BACK INTO THE CROWD! They will never find you there!"
It's more than my
own voice speaking to me. It's my husband's and my friends' voices warning me of consequences. It's much-smarter-than-me men
and women who tell me to move on and be done with it; that I am safe now.
But I and you are not safe now. Even
in the massive crowds of frightened, downtrodden, and silent others; you and I are not safe.
When I left my former
school, the abusive principal leading that school, and the toxic suspicious environment his leadership created, I took a medical
leave. It was an act of mental and emotional health to leave that known place of abuse.
Domestically abused women
who don't leave abusive husbands are questioned. "How can they stay?" we ask with some exasperation. We understand
that if ever they get up the courage and LEAVE those places of abuse ruled by violent and capricious men, it will be
an act of mental and emotional health. We are beginning to answer the "How can you stay?" question. We understand
the courage it will take to get out.
We also have come to know that those women need all the help they can get.
Why is my getting out not recognized as the same kind of courageous act?
Why am I not getting all the help
I can get?
I am right now defending my having gotten out to an insurance company which has deemed me "an unacceptable
risk." I simply requested to purchase routine supplemental insurance. They've chosen not to honor that routine request.
They state I have a "nervous/mental/emotional psychiatric disorder."
They hold me accountable instead
of the well documented abusive environment into which my school district placed me.
Ah, but I see so, so clearly
that by leaving, I saved myself in so many ways. I saved myself, unlike many other targeted individuals at that school who
simply waited too long. They waited, hoping that their work ethic, their creativity and enthusiasim, their honor would save
them; would "win over" their bullying boss. They waited until he began his attack on them with lies, false
documents and district sanctioned psychological examinations. They then--too late, too late--began to tell their own stories
of abuse. I saved myself before he could use his documentation against me. I saved myself by telling the
truth; to a therapist; to my union; to my region's leadership.
I saved myself by telling the truth about my principal's
bullying and abuse.
But it is not over. The waves of repercussions of my actions --denials of health
insurance yes, but also many of you through A Piece Full World, reading of my experience and learning about
workplace bullying and how that knowledge applies to your own personal hells in your own torturous places of work--
are now coming to shore . I share the shore and the slamming waves with my school district.
I share the
shore with you too.
What was my biggest act of courage? I told the truth.
Let Freedom Ring!
Happy Birthday United States of America!