National Bullying Prevention Month
By Molly Moser
She pulls a blue envelope from her pocket. It is postmarked and addressed to her office, but the return address has been left blank. The envelope arrived carrying a white sheet of computer paper, folded into a chunky square.
“I opened it up and I read it. It said that everybody is talking about me, and it was making fun of my body,” said a Guttenberg woman, recounting this painful experience. The anonymous letter targeted her weight, clothing, and hair, and repeatedly hinted that she was the topic of negative conversations among her adult peers.
An adult target is not the first thing that comes to mind when one hears the word ‘bullying’; however, the scenario is not uncommon. The workplace, with its power struggles and conflicts between coworkers, is all too often the backdrop for adult bullying. According to the Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI), workplace bullying is “repeated, health-harming mistreatment of one or more persons (the targets) by one or more perpetrators that takes one or more of the following forms: verbal abuse; offensive conduct/behaviors (including nonverbal) which are threatening, humiliating, or intimidating; and work interference (sabotage) which prevents work from getting done.”