Speak Up About It!

I’ve always wondered why people turn a blind eye to injustice. I’ve rejected the theory that it’s because most people are too self involved to care. I think everyone is capable of empathy and I like to give others the benefit of the doubt. But all too often, as I’ve seen throughout my own life and from the perspective of a bystander, people will witness a cruelty and simply say or do nothing to the perpetrator. This is a problem because it reinforces the bully’s behavior. Are people operating out of fear when they ignore such things? Like, they’re worried they could become the next target if they were to speak up? Or is it the overtly hopeful yet unrealistic “ignore it and it will stop” syndrome?

Sadly, bullying is overlooked from the time kids begin shoving dirt in each other’s face in the sandbox and because of this, it eventually works its way up to boardrooms and corporate settings. And while bullies on the school yard may break hearts, adult bullies can ruin lives, which is why this epidemic must be nipped in the bud ASAP through better discipline of our children and legislation in schools and workplaces.

Workplace bullying, or mobbing, as it is often referred to, can bring emotional and financial ruin on someone. It can cause financial hardship and in extreme cases, bankruptcy, causing a person to lose their home and other valuable assets. Bullying also contributes to severe emotional distress and can leave a lasting impression when someone who has been mobbed out of a former position is looking for new employment, resulting in performance anxiety and PTSD.

The sad thing is, the person who is bullied at work is often fired for speaking up or is forced to resign because management does nothing to stop the bully, when in fact the opposite should take place. Are we really so masochistic of a society that we allow this to continually happen? Are we so desensitized from the onslaught of violent movies and TV programs that we garner some kind of sadistic joy at seeing someone tortured in their place of work where they’re trying to do the best they can and make an honest living?

I say it’s time to start speaking up and documenting instances of workplace bullying, even if we are merely a witness to it. Let’s make it a goal in 2014 to put an end to this unneeded emotional torture and help each other rise to be our best selves.