Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Abuse, Betrayal and Mean Girls at 65

Spinning Your Gold Blog: Words That Open Hearts and  Inspire Actions
  
At 65, I thought I would never have to deal with abuse, betrayal, and mean girls again

Not so.

Abuse lives on to touch you at any age. 
If you allow. 
And I did.
Others can collude in a "verbal cancer" that spreads as predominate as breast cancer. 

Rewind to last Sunday night.

Imagine reading this in your newsfeed on your college's group page. (FYI: The blue screen in the text shows up as it's an exact copy of the original post which has been deleted from the group page.)

The exact post from an alumna who doesn't use her real name:

“I too have great Sistahs, many wonderful memories & enjoy supporting other alum. But does anyone else wonder why Lore Raymond feels it's okay to use JUDSON'S special pages to consistently promote her business interests??

I enjoy seeing what ALL other alum are doing & not having this closed group monopolized, at times, by her self-serving promotional materials.

Finally, have some of you who "liked" her posts actually looked at her website? I've never met her & she's welcome to pay to promote her divergent ideas elsewhere. But honestly, some of her website gave me the creeps.


My Reply
Lore Raymond I make no money from the book I shared the link to. It's a story that celebrates *. This post does the same. I wish you well.

Really?


My Original Post
The post above was in response to my post on Saturday, September 15, that was from my PERSONAL Facebook page with a lovely meme:

“We often speak of sisters here on this group page. I know that one of the greatest gifts ever unconditionally given to me was my experience with my college sisters, 1971-74.
Who could have ever thought that a "Damn Yankee"--a Freshman from MD and one of only two Roman Catholics in the college--could find lasting friendships in a Southern Baptist college?


I did.
And I write about this journey in my story, "Carbonated Holiness" in the anthology Gratitude and Grace. (amazon.com/author/loreraymond)
My precious friendships continue growing, expanding, and changing to this day, 44 years and counting.
I am grateful, I am.
Just sayin'.
ROLL CALL! Who are the * Sisters that are you grateful for?”


I shared both posts with my alma mater and the alumnae president.
The college's email response was...

“Lore,
Thank you for bringing this to my attention. Unfortunately, sometimes Facebook posts can get a little out of hand. 
(A little?! Name calling, shaming? A disrespectful, emboldened call to the group to agree with her opinion and contribute more mean, degrading statements?)

Hopefully soon our Facebook page will have guidelines that all members must adhere to. Those guidelines will address issues such as this.  However, it will also address posts that promote other websites, works, etc.  More to come on this later.

With that said, I feel it best to delete the whole post, not just her comment on your post. I hope you understand.”

No closing. 
No name. 
No expression of empathy or sympathy.



Hell, no! I don’t understand!

You "feel it best"? 
Best?!
I'm to be silenced with my original post deleted?
(The posts you read above were deleted this morning despite my request that my post remain.)

Where is the compassion from my alma mater? 
Public apology? 

I am raging that this mean-spirited post showed up on the alumnae group page-- along with name calling and an invitation for other alumnae to join her in judgment that my posts are “self-promoting” and even more harming is that my website is “divergent” and “creepy.”

The college "sistah" using a Facebook pseudonym admits she doesn't know me yet confidently attacks my character, intention, and brand. That's a true tragedy--a woman attacking another woman.


What's most hurtful now is how the college is not responding--the evidence of the abuse and the abuser is--in a click-- 
now gone with the wind! 
(Forgive me, Margaret Mitchell.)


My dear college roomie, the current alumnae president, replied on Tuesday to my calls. While she offered some comforting words, she also suggested that I be understanding why the college staff was not responsive.

"I am so sorry..."

"We talked. She's going to call you, and the woman who posted about you. "

"Why hasn't she called?"

She's busy getting ready for the Trustees' meeting..."

Unreal, surreal nonsense.
I've been attacked. Let me put you on hold. Get back to you later. Sometime...

In this morning's conversation with the college rep, she stated: "I stand by my decision to delete the controversial post."

Stand by...what?
My post wasn't controversial. It was loving.
The abuser's comments were controversial and unacceptable.
So your leadership decision is to delete all of the post? You missed an opportunity to take a stand against bullying and inappropriate behavior.


 I rarely use this word but now I am shouting it out...
"A little out of hand." 
Shame on you. 
Shame, shame on all of you!
Shame on anyone who harms another by being silent.


You disagree with me? Good for you! 
You have a voice.
I applaud you.
There's a way to disagree: consider a one-to-one "sistah" conversation and not with veiled verbal attacks with a name and face that I can't connect with.

I am no saint.

I was silent when someone I loved "took" my virginity at 19--now the word would be rape.

I was silent for decades about the congressional administrative aide who sexually harassed me every day--an intern--with his unwelcomed touches, nuzzles, and comments during the summer of Watergate. (Anita Hill's hearings brought these memories to the surface.)

I was silent as a first-year teacher about colleagues abusing elementary kids who used leather belts and whipped them for infringements.


I will not stay silent this time.


Verbal assault is different from physical assault.
Of course.
There is still pain and healing to move through any assault on one's tender body, mind, and soul. 



Let's agree to no more silence about any abuse.
Verbal, physical, emotional, or spiritual.

I will publicly tell my story.
You tell your story.
We all need to tell our stories.

I will hold you and me--and everyone who knows and didn't speak up--accountable.

Silence stops.

Let's also agree on this, dear sistahs:



P.S. I love this book's title, RAGE BECOMES HER. Going now to buy it!
Thanks, Carrassa Sands, for the suggestion.


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32 comments:

  1. We as women have to work so hard to over turn much of what life has shown us... it's extremely important and difficult work!
    This so called spirit of competition that women are brought up in pitting us against each other is a male system that is failing more and more often as women across the world unite and refuse to participate any further in the insanity.
    It is happening.
    I'm so sorry that you have experienced this contract in this way... we dont always enjoy the contracts we have but they fulfill a mighty purpose!
    Look at the awareness you are bringing to this most serious of topics, because you can!! You have the words and the passion of soul and purpose to break the cycle, to point out the issues and here's the best part... to help bring awareness to other women about this destructive behavior!
    I thank you for speaking up! For your willingness to take on such an immense and important contract!!
    We all need to step out, speak our truth, and above all LOVE one another!!
    So many women are still entrenched in this horrible belief system and until we speak up, United against such attacks we will never be free of this diseased, male dominated society and all it entails!
    Please PM me the information on the university that has allowed this and I will be most happy to email my support of your posts and your right to be free of such nasty attacks on a public forum!... or post it to your article! Let us all have the chance to express our feelings on such an important subject.
    Thank you again for your strength of soul to take on such an important contract!
    You help to heal the world and your works, all our works are of the utmost importance in the movement to the next stage of enlightenment.
    Let's not dispare the fact that we are here to heal! Let's rejoice in the chaos of our time and the great strides forward we are making in this experience!!!
    Let's throw a party for the dark before the dawn!
    We are a mighty force of change! and sisters it is coming!! We are here on such an important point in history because we are exactly what is needed in this time! Brave, confident, loving women whom will not be part of their system silently allowing the atrocities to continue unchecked!
    No we are mighty pillars of love and light and we shall come together and share our love, our light, and our truth for the healing of our universe!
    Hugs my friend, be not saddened by this opportunity to shine your light into the darkest of times!! REJOICE, DANCE,CELEBRATE and most importantly COME TOGETHER to END IT!!! Share the love, Share the light and share your truth!!!
    We stand with you until none are silenced and all are awakened!!!

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    1. Appreciating and seeing this in my mind's eye,"...No we are mighty pillars of love and light and we shall come together and share our love, our light, and our truth for the healing of our universe!"
      Hugs of gratitude to you, J. xo

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  2. Lore
    The Alum who attacked you really exhibited her own character, and it is obvious she is a mean girl from way back. Her accusation of your website being "divergent" is stating evidence of her own closed mind.
    This is so painful, I know, including your former roommate's casual handling of the issue. I am so sorry you had to endure this. It is not fair, and it is not right.

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    1. Thanks for your kind words. And it is hurftul on so many levels. I pray that I am never one who inflicts this kind of abuse

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  3. Lore dear, I so feel your pain. Like someone who has been shamed before I know what it means when people urge you to behave as if nothing happened and just move on. Congratulations on not letting them silence you anymore.
    It's a shame a fellow woman will do such especially when groups are meant to be support systems.
    I pray you get passed it and this as an eye opener to us all.
    Godspeed

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    1. Thank you for our empathetic words, Leila. Yes, you got..."bheaving as nothing happened" deepens the wound. Your pryaers also appreciated.

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  4. Lore, I'm so sorry you had to become yet another victim of an older version of "Mean Girls"! I guess she didn't mature very well and/or didn't become more refined with age! We, as women, should all work together to promote one another because we can relate so much to being passed over, disregarded, abused physically and mentally, etc. I learned this at an early age with having three (3) sisters who were also my best friends. We could say what we thought to each other but if anyone else called us out, the anger became "x's 4)! They always had my back and that's what we as women need more of and should expect from each other. If we don't fight for each other, who will? Don't worry … I got your back, Sista!!

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    1. Thanks for having my back. But I don't know who you are.

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  5. I'm so sorry you were verbally attacked. I have been through that many times over the years and it never gets any easier. Bullying and verbal attacks are becoming the norm in today's society beginning with leadership deciding it's okay.

    I personally have decided to counter today's abusive society with random acts of kindness for one simple reason. Being kind to others makes me feel better and in the end, I can only control my own actions.

    What is very sad is that as women we should be celebrating each other's accomplishments, not tearing them down. Best of luck in being a voice of change.

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  6. I am so sorry this happened to you Lore. I had someone attack me personally in a technical group back in LinkedIn a few years ago. I didn't know the person and the reason for the attack was this person had tons of qualifications and could not get a job and as a millennial, thought I had to accept his invitation to connect - which I hadn't . Long story short, I contacted the Group Manager and the guy was banned from the group. A few people did write to me privately and say how sorry they were about what had happened and how they supported me. The question in my mind was why didn't anyone stand up for me in a public forum? It isn't worth the effort mulling over mean people, Lore. They have their own issues and need a supposed soft target. The PS to my experience? The chap apologized privately but enough people had seen the post and he had a hard time getting a job interview. :) The last I saw on Google was his litany of complaints against a professional body that has barred his membership. Chin up, Lore, you've got better people in your life whose opinion matters.

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  7. Man, that was rough and nasty, Lore. What should have been a teaching moment for the school became another uncomfortable incident ignored. Smoothing things over seems to be valued over fixing sh**. Would it have so hard to apologize for allowing her to post this, warn her privately with a follow of of deleting her from the group if she persists, adding written standards of sharing and enforcing them going forward? Thanks for being upset and persisting.

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  8. Having attended another all-women's college, my heart goes out to you that you were bullied by another alum. It's such a betrayal to the sisterhood and loyalty you feel. Her comments about your website show her closemindedness. I am so sorry this happened to you, and I am glad you took "to the pen" (or in this case, the keyboard) to vent and express your frustration. It's a reminder to all of us - fellow sisters - to love more and judge less. Sending you a virtual hug.

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  9. Gee, if you can't share your joys and achievements with your college sisters, who can you share it with? Clearly, the college is more worried about the alumni money they may lose which probably prompted their deletion of the entire post. Having said that, this is about the shallow, needy character of your attacker. Just remember that they deleted her words, too. I sometimes think that Facebook as a whole has simply gotten out of hand.

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  10. I'm sorry this happened to you. I'm in the process of sorting out a recent "mean girl" experience, too. I chose to cut ties and move on with people who believe in lifting and supporting others. No time for bullshit or snark. Good luck with your sorting.

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    1. Thank you, Andrea. Sorry to hear that you, too, have known this betrayal. If there's anything I can do to help, please let me know. Hugs attached.

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  11. Lore, you have been affected and attacked by the face of evil. I will be writing more about this as time goes on. We have to fix/heal/repair this society. Until then we must do our best. I promise you the angels are trying to sort some things out. I want to share one thing that happened to me. When I started writing about spirituality I wrote something from my heart, not even that it was that spiritual but I received a comment that felt like an attack. Not just on my, but everyone that thought like me. I wasn't sure what to do. My immediate response was to respond, I guess to defend myself, to defend all of us, but Archangel Michael came to me and told me basically to let it go. He told me to just delete it. So I did. He honestly felt that was the best way to approach it. I chose not to let my mind react in the way it used to in the past. It used to eat me up inside. It wasn't healthy in any way shape or form.

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    1. Appreciating your thoughts--And I am choosing to be a warrior and not go silently.

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  12. Unfair Lore. Sometimes life is. I would be pissed off too and I feel your pain. Are there any "gifts" from this betrayal? You have attracted some wonderful support, and as "they" say, "Well behaved women rarely make history." Or should we say "Herstory?" Go Girl.

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    1. I am grateful for friends. And thanks for the reminder with the quote, "Well bhaved women rarely make history." And I wish I knew who posted this.

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    2. Faerie Elaine. I read it all. And when the time is right, maybe you can re-post the original, loving offerings. I applaud you.

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  13. Bullying and shaming is unacceptable in any forum, especially online where Sistahs aren't really "sistahs" but "trolls". This goes on far too much, it's at least the fifth incident of a friend being attacked by another or others (mob mentality) they are not personally acquainted with in the last couple of months. One of my other friends was barred from a group, and all evidence removed, when she was the victim! Talk about invisibility! A "sistah" like this is not worth your time, Lore. By the same token she must be stopped or she will go on to find another target as bullies are known to do. Your dignity both personally and professionally, and that of the other loving and genuine alumnae, is worth the fight. Your college group should be a safe space for all alumnae. Luke warm excuses for bad behavior are what every bully hopes for! No silence!

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  14. I am sorry her measly actions have hurt you like this, Lore. This kind of behavior usually comes from envy and self-doubt. I understand what you feel and I don't really know what to say to bring back what she took from you even so briefly. I think it's brave you challenged her, but I pity the response of the college. I feel they took more from you than "sistah." She's a nobody. A muddy puddle in your path - the kind you want to avoid. This is putting it mildly, because I had a different metaphor in mind, a tad smellier...

    What kind of message does your former college send with this? That it's OK to abuse each other instead of supporting each other? That bullying is OK? That they cannot stand by someone who was wronged? And it's somehow Facebook's fault because they do not have "guidelines" in place? What a load of BS! Shame on the person who sent you that response. Sorry, I had to say this!

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    1. Thank you, Mihaela, for your kind words. I aagree with you 101%. The college missed an opportunity to demonstrate courageous leadership and to take stand against verbal abuse and bullying. xo

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  15. Lore,
    I am so sorry that this has happened. I think that sometimes we have to remember that Judson is still a small, Southern Baptist School, and still holds to those values,while not being - shall we say - progressive . That being said, they have always hired,and embraced those with the same values. Hence,it was easier to take down the post rather than defend it. Well meaning as they are, they have not moved forward too much from where they were 44 years ago. I am not saying that is a bad thing, just not very progressive. I have found that in very small, cloistered towns and communities in the deep south, things are slow to change.
    Judson is what it is, a small, Baptist Women's College, in a very small deep south town,educating young women, mostly from the deep south, in the bible belt, and they will not change. And do we really want its core values to change? We have to love her for what she is,for what she stands for, and for what she gave us in those formative years of our lives.
    Hopefully, the lady that made those derogatory statements will grow from this, and become a better "sistah" to all of us.
    You have made the class of '74 so proud. Thank you for all you have accomplished and stood for over the past 40+ years. We love you and are proud to call you ours.

    Love you Sister,
    Mary Gayle

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    1. Mary Gayle, I am so touched by your kind words and reflections. You are appreciated friend. xo

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