The Consultant's Desk

The Consultant's Desk
Poring over the details on your behalf

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

What October 1 Means

An email from one of the officers of the Los Angeles chapter of California Staffing Professionals reached me today. The subject line read "What does October 1 mean to you?" I had an immediate visceral reaction to the heading. I began reading it; my next reaction was not as acute but still strong. The message related to the deadlines approaching on October 1 in which employers need to provide various notifications to their employees.

In case you aren't aware, my first path was law. After being in support positions for many years, I was able to appreciate that work and realize I needed more challenge and more knowledge. Those introductory years were useful for making the decision to sit for the LSAT and apply to law schools. After more than a year and a half of attending law school, disruptions happened that caused me to have to leave. The evaluation period before making the applications was useful for focusing on a specialty and why. But there were detours that needed to happen in order to enrich the future and make a more insightful practitioner and counselor.

Law is like breathing for me; it gives me life. It propels me where little else (except music) does. Law loves me and seduces me to return to it. Where I initially planned to be a either a transactional law or tax lawyer and engage in public interest law as a social mandate in my private life, it appears the reverse is actually my path. If only I could slice through the jungle of barriers that would make re-entry possible.

But back to October 1 and what it means to me.

What October 1 means to me is the beginning of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. No matter where we are, we're in a workplace where the need to be aware and sensitive to the issues of violence and safety are paramount. No matter where we are, we're in a workplace where bullying and harassment can become issues. And when it comes to background checks and something bizarre comes up in our reports, be mindful of the fact that some survivors do not feel compelled to reveal that they have that status. What's paramount to them is that they need to get a job in order to pay bills and rent and buy food in order to continue to survive.

There are at least five types of abuse. It's critical to be aware of the dynamics of each of them. Psychological abuse is aimed at shattering a person's self confidence. It leaves no physical scars nor visible maiming but it nevertheless leaves a profound impact on the survivor that makes them question their validity at nearly every turn. Isolation can come from exacting defamatory impressions about the target that discourage others from associating with them. The defamation will lead to failed attempts at gaining meaningful employment as well as social relationships.

Economic and financial abuse will leave the target's financial history tarnished at best. They will find their credit records in shambles. They will be accused of stealing or other financially objectionable behavior. Their assets - and everything they have slaved to earn and amass for their own future - are now in then hands of their abuser. And the abuser (who has access to all of the target's personal identifying information) has managed to take possession of the target's property of every type.

Fear is another tool used by the abuser. They use it with such expert precision. It's useful for trying to avoid more painful situations or just plain pain. Fear of loss of valued things or associations can be a source of instilling a need to avoid pain and suffering.

Pain and suffering goes along with physical abuse. We've all seen images of the black, puffy eyes or the crumpled and twisted nose. We've heard about the objects shoved into human flesh. Some of us have even heard the thumps and bumps on walls and heard the arguments accompanied by screams of pain.

But what about the temporary restraining orders that were quashed by the non-comprehending judge pro tem? That act then left the survivor exposed to any type of harm the abuser decided to exact upon their target. The well-meaning soul who wanted to reconnect the two individuals because the abuser talked about how they regret their past acts. Little do these well-meaning samaritans realize the grief and regret expressed by the abuser is feigned in order to induce betrayal of their target's whereabouts. Therefore, the harm will resume.

Domestic Violence Awareness Month is very important. I wish more people would take it more seriously and not make condescendingly sympathetic sounds that are meaningless. It would be good if people were truly able to relate to how important it is to all of the workers in the work environment, whatever it is.

Sponsored Link:

Reflections of a Domestic Violence Prosecutor: Suggestions for Reform

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