Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Relational Aggression and the Church

I am finally sitting down to blog again after flying across country last week and getting everything back in order again. While I was away, I managed to pick up the book Escape by Carolyn Jessop. Mrs. Jessop is a former member of the FLDS which is the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints which is a strict belief system. One thing I do not do is try and give others a hard time when it comes to their religion. We all have our beliefs, grew up in different cultures and are entitled to these freedoms in this nation. This book mentioned some disturbing things such as young teen girls marrying older men, men having several wives and children amongst some of them. However, this will not be the focus of the blog entry here. I have to commend this woman for taking her children out of this abusive environment and standing up to the FLDS culture. If this were me in this situation, I would not have lasted a day. There are so many horrific things occurring behind closed doors and it takes guts to speak out against these horrors. A man by the name of Warren Jeffs who was considered the Prophet in the FLDS committed many crimes and abuses which led to several women escaping the cult and sharing their horror stories and Jeffs eventual prison sentence as these things were exposed.

The aspect I wanted to focus upon is the relationship that these several wives have with one another in these homes. A man can be married to several wives at once and they all live under the same roof. As females, when it comes to men, we tend to fight amongst one another if we are after the same man. Yet what happens when you get a group together who are married to the same man for religious purposes? The FLDS considers these cluster of women “sister wives” and they are suppose to respect and get along with one another. Also, they “keep sweet” and make themselves submissive to their husband and Prophet which leads to nothing more than power hunger and ownership of others. One thing that Mrs. Jessop mentioned was these relations she had with her sister wives. The husband, Merrill Jessop, had six wives while she was married to him. The one most favored was the most abusive and the “Queen Bee” of sorts named Barbara. She ruled her sister wives and all children with an iron fist. These women ganged up on each other, gossiped, and clamored their way into the favor of “Queen Wife Barbara” and Mr. Jessop. They fought amongst one another for his attention. Barbara dictated the social order between them. Any discord amongst Barbara and the other wives filtered into the children and these ladies would take a great deal out on them if their mother was out of favor. Standing up to this Barbara was uncalled for and severe punishment ensued if it was done. Folks, this gossip, backstabbing, verbal abuse, punishments….this is relational aggression and as you see it happens amongst women and not just girls. Barbara is favored by her husband and therefore, she was given a great deal of power. Instead of using this power for the greater good of the family, she abused her sister wives with threats, punishments and other behaviors. The others either feared her or worked hard to get into her good graces by selling her sister wives out. From what I read, this was a vicious circle that never stopped but grew worse with time. As this woman was given carte blanche within the home, she used this to her favor. Mrs. Jessop mentioned several incidents where things got out of control because of this woman and her games. The mind games, favoritism and other behaviors made it impossible for anyone to live in harmony or keep sweet within the home.

Folks, I have said it a zillion times. Favoritism breeds all sorts of underlying problems such as jealousy which breeds a lot of resentment amongst people. Plus, with favoritism comes people who are given power which gets out of control. Its like a flesh eating virus or cancer as it multiplies and eventually kills. As you see, in a culture that is geared towards submissiveness, it occurs. A young girl being married to a man 32 years her senior is bad enough but to have to live with the games, gossip and power problems daily can really break a person. No wonder these women were getting on anti-depressants as mentioned in the book. Please, stop giving someone power within your cluster of friends or family. Try and see everyone for who they are and leave them be. None of us are perfect and when you build someone up, favor them and allow them to have any sort of power, you help create a monster. This Queen Wife Barbara lady became a monster as a result of this. She is one of many who have become monsters as a result.
I wish Mrs. Jessop only the best. Eventually, Queen Wife Barbara had to own up to her abuses in a court of law. Merrill Jessop, the one who favored Barbara and his children lives in the USA on one of the FLDS ranches. As for Warren Jeffs, as I previously stated, he is in prison for his own crimes and I hope he is learning to “keep sweet” himself while he pays for his own dirty deeds within the FLDS community.

Resource Cited: Escape by Carolyn Jessop

Elizabeth Bennett is the Author of Peer Abuse Know More! Bullying From a Psychological Perspective and resides in Los Angeles, California. To learn more visit Peer Abuse Know More.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

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Sunday, January 18, 2009

Online Predators vs Bullies

Well, I just finished reading this article and my mouth is still hanging open. Something worse than predators is a greater harm to kids? Well, I should have known. Bullying and Peer Abuse are the root of all evil in my opinion. So, why should this article surprise me? I guess because we are so focused on predators being bad and harmful to our children which they are while we minimalize the problem of peer abuse and bullying. Yeah, maybe that’s it! It sure seems to be the case from where I am standing.

According to this article, The Internet Safety Technical Task Force issued a report that stated with online bullying, all kids are not at risk equally as they are with predators. The bullying will generally start offline and filter its way onto the internet. Also, children who are cyber bullied know who their abuser is offline. The social sites are a hotbed for peer abuse as kids can add friends and send messages through bulletins, private message boxes, friend feeds and chat. Also, can set up groups and use other functions to slander each other. Predators exist and are also on these sites. However, as far as meeting one or searching for any material such as porn, this generally will not happen except in the case of teen males and many predators can be found on those sites. Predators do approach children on social sites, however, a predator does not have a relationship with a child offline and has no history of the child unlike the cyber bully. Unless the child tells a predator his offline address and phone number, they are not likely to have this material at hand. The cyber bully generally knows where his target lives and can gain access to any phone numbers and email addresses without any problems. The task force also suggested that there is not any one way to stop this problem unless adults get involved and take this seriously. Using software helps but parents need to filter and monitor where the child goes online. A history function is usually helpful in this case. Its about education and being aware not only of the predator problem but the cyber bullying as well.

I see children on MySpace and You Tube more often than facebook and others. Even though social sites are a great way to network, do business, reconnect with old friends and stay in touch all at once with everyone, they have a dark side to them. One thing that concerns me is the fact that when children turn 13, they are allowed to have an account on these sites. Why are we even giving teenagers an option to be on a site where adults are? I do not agree with this at all. Children, even by the age of 13, have nothing in common with adults so why give them the option to interact with them? If children are online and wish to have a place to interact, they need to be doing so on a site that is not designed for adults. In my opinion, this adds to the predator problem, not help it. A great site is the Safe Wave site that is designed for children and is set up for children to interact without predator and peer abuse problems and keeps children safe. The most important thing is keeping children safe when using the internet. This site comes recommended and after all, our children are the future so lets do what we can to keep them safe!

Resource Cited: http://www.darkreading.com/security/privacy/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=212900579
Posted at 01:19 PM in Web/Tech Comments (0) TrackBack (0)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

You Go American Girl Dolls!

I just stumbled upon this information and wow! A doll that is actually doing some good out there. I am so use to these Bratz Dolls and others where being “Miss Thang” is the message sent.

These American Girl dolls have become popular within the last few years. They have books and even movies based upon them and this generation of girls are growing up with them. Many are collectors items and doll collectors are cashing in as well. Now, they have a new 2009 doll called Chrissa Maxwell who is ten years old. Chrissa is special because not only does she have a movie made about her on HBO and DVD entitled An American Girl: Chrissa Stands Strong she also is named Girl of the Year by American Girl. Chrissas story begins where she is a new girl in her class and the other girls begin to tease her which eventually leads to full on bullying and peer abuse. This protagonist learns to stand up to these bullies not only for herself but for others. The message is a positive one where the viewer can learn healthy ways in dealing with relational aggression and peer abuse in their own lives. The story is written by award-winning Mary Casanova and American Girl has teamed up with The Ophelia Project in this endeavor. Also, a national campaign is being organized by these groups entitled Stop the Bullying! Pass It On! along with a poster contest which runs through February 28.

I applaud American Girl and The Ophelia Project for creating this story and doll. Young girls today are dealing with this constantly in their lives. They live it at school, in their neighborhoods and communities. If that is not enough, they see it on television and read it in books. They do not know where to turn or what to do when faced with this. As American Girl is popular today, having a positive role model such as Chrissa will help these girls tremendously in how to deal with this in their own lives. Also, they will learn the seriousness of this problem and how it affects everyone around them. Thank you American Girl and Ophelia Project for trying to make this world a better place.

Resource Cited:

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Ladies, Stop the Peer Abuse!

I recently read an article in the New York Times about women in the workplace. It was a great article and the source, Peggy Klaus, knows what she is talking about. She was dead on in her assessment of women and how they treat one another. We would like to think that when we get a group of ladies together, the relational aggression leaves the building and sisterhood and maturity take priority. This is so far from the truth.

Lets face it. Women are covert in their abuse and the workplace is of no exception. Its done in underhanded, backstabbing ways. Instead of talking things out in a rational manner we tend to go to anyone but the source of our problems. If we show emotion, we are considered bitchy which some take as compliments. Someone will correct our errors or criticize and we tend to take it personally. Or, we withhold information from others to benefit our own agendas. Some will take their maternal instincts into work and try and boss others around. Others may hold grudges for some reason and allow this to filter into the office. Or, comments get made which could be considered left handed compliments. In the grand scheme of things, all this does is lower productivity, increase illness and the company looses instead of gains money. Who can work effectively under these circumstances?

This is not meant to slam my own gender here. Men are just as capable of climbing into the sandbox as we are. This is to raise awareness of my gender and how our behavior affects each other and the organization as a whole. Some things I know would help would be some communication training. We are not taught to verbally express ourselves in honest and tactful ways. Therefore, we resort to this petty behavior which at the end of the day leaves everyone an emotional mess. Ladies, stop the clique building and office politics. Please let go of the grudges and lack of trust for one another. Your purpose in being there in the first place is to do a job. Not get gossip and building notebooks full of mistakes on behalf of others. Stay focused on the job at hand. Also, focus on your own job and let your superior worry about what everyone else is doing. If a colleague screws up, let the appropriate people handle it. If there is conflict, sit down with a third mutual party and talk things out. Listen and I mean really listen to what the other party is saying. That is the biggest problem right there; the lack of listening skills and the need to place blame on others without looking at our own behavior and how it is affecting the company. Nobody is perfect but as adults, we can try to at least get along for the sake of the organization.
I have been in this position a couple of times myself. Its not worth the time or energy. Please, put a stop to it if you see it going on. Allow someone who knows about peer abuse at work to come in and speak to you. Keep an open mind and most importantly, do your own job and stop sweating the nonsense!


Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Gossip Girl and Mean Girls

It is uncommon for me to blog twice in one day. However, I felt this time it was justifiable. As you know by now, I watch these Gossip Girl episodes and cringe. Yet, they give me something to blog about and are a great way for me to educate people on this serious problem of bullying and peer abuse that this show seems to enjoy poking fun at. In other words, they do not see the seriousness of this issue.

Tonight’s episode was one humdinger! We have the 15 year old Jenny coming back to the private school which she dropped out of towards the beginning of the season for her career in fashion design. Even though she was persistent in getting her career off the ground at such a young age, the basis of her leaving school had to do with the mean girls at school who declared her a “victim“. Now, we see a strong and confident Jenny, who got a grand taste of reality, come back and ready to battle these girls. She comes back to school and instantly sees a girl who “serves” this mean crowd who is named Nelly. Jenny witnesses a couple of situations where the girls treat Nelly terribly. They have her do such degrading things like wipe their feet and the way they talk to her is horrific. Instead of buckling under, Jenny and her friend Eric take Nelly in hand and stand up to this vicious beehive. They take the table where the mean girls sit daily and decide to sit there instead. When the girls try and bully them out of the seats, they refuse to move. This prompts the leader of this beehive to call her father to tell him to call the headmistress of the school and let her know that she was being bullied by Jenny and the others. Give me a break! This is classic bullying behavior! They abuse their peers all they want but when someone stands up to them, they play the “you are bullying and hurting me card.” The Fab Five in Texas did it and Megan Hauserman has pressed charges against Sharon Osbourne for attacking her. Never mind their behavior that prompted all of this in the first place! As the episode continued, we see Jenny leaving the headmistresses office letting Eric and Nelly know that she was called in there for her “so called bullying behavior.” Nelly lets a secret slip about this Queen and Jenny decides to use it to her advantage. Towards the end of the episode, we see the beehive, Jenny, Eric and Nelly standing outside a club. Jenny confronts these girls about their dirty secrets that she knew about and if they continued their behavior or tried to sabotage anyone, she was sending the information to the popular blog Gossip Girl. The girls thought she wanted to be “Queen” and Nelly thought maybe they could start a new regime. Jenny scoffed at the idea and Eric let them know that was the last thing on Jenny’s mind.

I was proud of Jenny tonight. She did the right thing and could have cared less about any of the abusive beehive stuff. She stood up for Nelly and also, stood up to the beehive that she feared earlier in the season. Also, she refused to even participate in the ugliness that this problem brings. This is just a kid who did the right thing and only wants to go to school. I appreciate kids like this and I appreciate this character for her stand in all of this. I am still appalled that the Queen called her father because she was being bullied yet was the bully herself. As I say, these bullies twist situations to their advantage and abuse any power they may have. Folks, do not let anyone twist any situation you may be in to their advantage like that. It is done intentionally and many are so charismatic that others will buy into this behavior. Be a “Jenny” and do the right thing.

I know many will again try and remind me that this is just a satire on the rich and famous and is not to be taken seriously. If that is the case, why are we not making satires of rape and child abuse victims? This is not something to be taken lightly but very seriously. For once, I commend Gossip Girl for doing what is right instead of feeding into the problem. Maybe now we can see them take this a lot more seriously. I. for one, hope that this is the case.

Resource Cited: http://www.cwtv.com/shows/gossip-girl

Monday, January 05, 2009

Sharon vs Megan: Part Deux

As the holidays are finally over, I am finally able to start getting back into the swing of things after two weeks of being away from blogging and all things Peer Abuse. Now, I am finally able to catch up and boy and figured a continuation of the Rock of Love Charm School scandal involving Sharon Osborne and Megan Hauserman was in order.

I was able to watch this Rock of Love Charm School Reunion last night on Vh1. The show itself was a good one where we were updated on the various happenings of the contestants and what they were able to learn and accomplish from the school and how some are applying these lessons in their daily lives. It was good to see these ladies use their social graces and many appreciated Sharon and what she had done for them.

Towards the middle of the reunion, Megan was brought to the stage. She was intoxicated; it was obvious. Osbourne was sober and very much a lady. Another contestant by the name of Cindy “Rodeo” Steedle was brought to the stage when Megan was. When Rodeo was talking with Sharon, Megan kept interrupting and putting Rodeo down. Rodeo was calm and composed despite Megan’s insults. At one point, Megan insulted Rodeos son which prompted Rodeo to get annoyed. At some point of the conversation, Osbourne made an honest comment that Megan should not be allowed to procreate. It was not said in a vicious manner and I think this is something anyone with half a brain would understand. This prompted Megan to spew a line of insults about Ozzy Osborne and the children. Much of what Megan said was “bleeped” out but by the reaction of the audience, it was really bad. Sharon stood up, excused herself in a calm manner, picked up a glass full of red liquid and threw it on Megan. The next thing shown was a huddle of security gathered around the two ladies and Megan being pulled off of the stage. What was not shown was Sharon Osbourne hitting Megan in any form. I did not see her fist touch Megan’s nor was Osbourne’s hair a mess. If she had been in any physical altercation, I would think Osbourne would have had scratches on her and hair completely in disarray. Now, Vh1 could have had her go backstage and pull herself together and edited around this but from what I could see, Osbourne did not appear to be damaged. You could see Megan’s hair was a mess but with all of those people that went to the stage, anyone could have pulled at Megan. The bottom line was that Osbourne threw liquid on Megan but that was the extent of what was shown. I really do not think Sharon hit Megan at all.

Hauserman crossed a line twice on that show. First, she said something degrading to Rodeo about her son. Osbourne agreed with Rodeo that she crossed a line. Then Hauserman proceeded to insult Sharon’s husband and children. Folks, when someone is not well as is the case of Ozzy Osbourne, they are deserving of compassion, not insults. Whatever Rodeos financial status or what is occurring with her son, neither did not deserve to be bashed by Megan. From what I could tell of the situation, Megan was trying hard to push the buttons of both ladies. Intoxicated or not, she said what she did. Besides, when one is intoxicated, they tend to be honest and more so than if they were sober. I believe Megan was aware of what she was doing despite that. She knew both ladies would get upset by those comments. She heard Sharon say something about her comment about Rodeos son was crossing a line. She’s not stupid; she’s very smart and shrewd if anything.

Some may disagree with me and consider this a cat fight. That’s fine, we are all entitled to our opinions. Some may think that because Megan was intoxicated, she was not aware of what she was saying. Megan is insulting and cruel with words whether sober or drunk. All I saw Sharon do was throw liquid on her and I think she did so not only because of what was said about her family but what she said to Rodeo and basically because of Megan’s behavior itself. People start to get irritated by bullying behavior and many times, they bite their tongues until they have had enough. I think last night was the straw that broke the camels back and Sharon had enough. So she reacted but did not see her hit Megan. This is the case in many school shootings; the bullied kid has enough so he snaps. Sharon snapped by throwing the drink on Megan. So again, I wonder who the real bully was in all of this?