Brighter Days Ahead

It’s been rough week and a half in the Madhouse. I’ll be honest with you it’s been me, not the kids. The kids have actually been doing pretty well, aside from an incident while decorating the Christmas tree, which will be tomorrow’s blog, both Rian and Alexi have been doing better.

I, on the other hand, have been a bit of a wreck. Not only did I have that issue with my friend, I was also dealing with a very disturbing emotional crisis. I volunteer with a non-profit organization that helps families throughout the province of Ontario whose children have mental health issues. The weekend before last was the Leaders’ Retreat and I was invited to attend.

What I witnessed on the Friday evening of the retreat was nothing short of harassment and assault by the Executive Director on her only co-worker. I was disgusted by this abuse and am even more disgusted with how the Board of Directors has handled the situation. The victim was suspended for a week with pay while the Board “worked” with the ED, aka “the perpetrator” on how to minimize the damage. Their solution was to advise the victim and witnesses to “keep it behind the curtain”.

The President of the Board has resigned and I say “Kudos to him”. However, I am left in an ethical conundrum. I cannot, in good conscience, continue to represent the organization as long as the current ED is involved because I do not believe she is practicing the values of the organization – to create communities of acceptance, tolerance, compassion and an intolerance to bullying. The website says “Breaking down barriers and building futures” not “Break down your co-workers to build yourself up”. I am unable to support a Board of Directors who punish the victim and exonerate an abuser simply because it’s the easiest solution. On the flip side, I have a desire to be actively involved in the children’s mental health movement and wish to continue to support the victim of this assault.

I get dizzy just thinking about it, but maybe that’s the problem. Maybe I’m over thinking it. I do that on occasion, over think things. I know, it’s hard to believe, but it’s true. All kidding aside, I think I’m going to have to go with my gut on this one and walk away. Maybe, sometime in the future, I’ll be able to work with this organization again, but not under this Executive Director.


About Holly

I hope you're able to glean something from this blog, a nugget of wisdom, a new perspective, a smile or even a laugh. I enjoy getting feedback so please comment, share your story with me too. After all, we're here to help each other.
This entry was posted in ADHD, anger management, bullying, children's mental health, parenting. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Brighter Days Ahead

  1. It's the Butterfly Effect Inc. says:

    It’s really too bad Holly. I certainly understand why you’d feel dizzy and wonder if you’re over thinking this but in truth, if you don’t and had you not blogged your thoughts people will continue to turn a blind eye to situations like this. “Keeping it behind the curtain” is why too many of our children (and adults) choose suicide to end the pain bullying causes. People either choose not to speak up or don’t know how to.

    All dictators, at one time, were great leaders until their power became ‘absolute’. Absolute power corrupts.

    Our society tends to believe “bullying” only happens between children. As you’ve stated, bullying comes in all forms and crosses many boundries. Bullying is defined in many ways but two major factors must exist to meet the real definition of bullying; “on going” and “preceive or real power”.

    In 2009 the Legislative Assembly of Ontario passed Bill 168 to amend the Occupational Health and Safety Amendment Act (Violence and Harassment in the Workplace) which clearly discribes bullying, recognizes it’s negative effects (including mental health) and the consequences that are to be implemented against the aggressors. Any employer who does not take reports of bullying seriously or who witnesses bullying and does nothing can be considered as guilty as the aggressor.

    The sad reality, especially in the workplace – the victim is held hostage. Often the bully is or is deemed to be in a position of authority (the ED) over the victim (the co-worker) who then becomes at risk of losing their job if they exercise their rights and speak up so they feel they must endure this abuse. If no one else speaks up the co-workers feeling to remain silent is affirmed. The action this organzation took, is ‘old school’, criminal and intolerable; especially if they are suppose to be ‘helping families with children with mental health issues’. What was it you said was the bases of their values….”Breaking down barriers and building futures”. It would appear the ED and board of directors of this organization do not have the courage to stand behind this value but rather when tested would prefer the ‘easy road’ – build barries and break down futures.

    Hearing this situation makes me wonder how committed this organization is to truly helping families vs helping their own egos. If a family and/or its children were being bullied by the system would this organization help the family or choose to keep in behind the curtain to avoid accountability?

    Too often people forget bullying behaviours are also the same as an assault, harassment and abuse; each of which are punishable under the Canadian Criminal Code.

    The board of directors has a legal obligation to familiarize them self with Bill 168 and ensure they are following legislation. Failing to do so, implies the board of directors supports the ED’s behaviours of bullying against the co-worker. Just a fyi: by standers (witness) can also report what they’ve seen. If this is a provincial organization they will be connected to other organization who can look into this situation more effectively.

    Suggesting to this unprofessional behaviour be kept in behind the curtian is wrong. Could you imagine if that’s what we did with Mental Health?! ….oh wait – we did; 100 years ago. Perhaps this organization is not familiar with the history of mental illness? As a people we have come a long way from that sort of ignorance. It would be a shame if a leader (turn dictator) and an organization who supported that personality, was able to continue to victimize their people assests and by default…the families it claims to help.

    Holly don’t ever doubt your decision to stand up against a bully especially when the victim is unable to stand up for them self.

    • Holly says:

      Thank you so much for your support! I will look into where I should report as a witness as I was not aware of that. You’ve made my day supplying me with that information.
      I hope you have a fabulous New Year!!

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