September 06, 2008

I have a dream...

Every day I wonder what would happen were all the targets of mobbing and/or bullying 'within an inch of their sanity' to find a safe way to 'come out' and speak the truth to power. Silence serves only to empower bullies, as the quotes above remind us.

Why then are we silent? What do we fear? Among other things, public shame, disgrace, and humiliation; the loss of careers, livelihoods, reputations, and family homes; the hypocrisy, indifference, and finger-pointing ignorance of colleagues; the devastating impact of media publicity on our spouses, children, relatives, and friends.

I had a dream last night: a reality television programme featuring targets on this site and their individual stories, especially those involving elimination rituals, with television cameras recording each day leading up to the event.

Or perhaps a series of BBC special reports on mobbing in UK universities--the recent TUC results would seem reason enough to launch a full-scale UK investigation. The series could be called 'Halls of Shame'. Each episode would feature a different target in a different university. Where necessary or requested, individuals could be anonymised (but with facts of the matter scrupulously and confidentially verified to the BBC).

Think of the outrage and scandal that would ensue from the exposure of evidence that the UK's greatest universities are frittering away public money to cover up private scandals.

True, I talk of dreams . . . and perhaps of nothing as well. Academics, after all, are private creatures, hardly prone to the egotism of public displays, particularly when their self-esteem resides in the gutter in the aftermath of mobbing. All we really want is for the insanity to stop and return to our former lives of quiet contemplation, teaching, and research on the subjects of our passions and expertise.

There must, though, be some way--a powerful way--to train a media spotlight on the problem and thereby illuminate one of the darkest secrets in the hallowed groves of UK academe.

Rosa Luxembourg


Anonymous said...

Let's keep dreaming - we will get there in the end... and our dreams will become reality.

There are many people in the world who suffer... we are not alone.

In solidarity

Aphra Behn

Anonymous said...

I'm sure you're right--would that we could draw more of them to this website to recount their experiences. I personally know of no fewer than four individuals in my own institution who have been mobbed/bullied out of their jobs in the past few years, and I doubt they are lurking on this website. Most people who have lived this nightmare and escaped with their lives and reputations intact just want to forget and move on. Who can blame them? In three of the four cases I mention, there was no compromise agreement signed--just abrupt resignations for jobs at safer places (two of them very, very far away)--so they are not even bound by silence. How to lure them here to support us is the question.