Monday, 6 May 2019

Bullying on and offline Part 6 Kathy Sierra hate campaign

There is more of this happening than even I realised. I have been involved in e-learning for a number of years in Australia and have been an active contributor to the forum/community provided by the Australian Flexible Learning Framework.
Recently I found that I discussion I had begun was being hijacked by another member of the community, who posted many derogatory comments about myself and other members of the community. I could not believe what I was reading. As I began the discussion and had never come across this person before, I tried to guide them into an agree to disagree mode, and repeatedly requested that they refrain from insulting others, this was to no avail and in the end I reported the matter and asked that the management team step in. They did and the member was suspended.
Less than 24 hours after that happened I received an email, from a person who claimed they were a Department of Education and Science and Training representative, it came from what first looked like a DEST email and had DEST letter head.
The email advised me that due to ‘my’ inappropriate behaviour, legal action was being taken against me by the plaintiff and I would be served within 24 hours.
Already feeling intimidated by the posts on the forum, I freaked, I could not believe this was happening to me, what had I done, why was DEST involved, my world turned upside down.
I did not sleep, I got another email, telling me I should go on the forum and apologise.
It was the second email that triggered suspicion, spelling errors first and then as the cursor hovered over the email address, a different email address appeared – a sharpmail account.
I googled and what did I find, a site that allows you to register for free and create a fake email address and fake email.
It was bad enough wondering why DEST was going at me, but now it was scary, someone who knew what was happening in the forum, had created a fake identity, sent fake emails in an effort to deliberately put fear into me, to bully me and stalk me.
I guess the best part is that they were pretending to be a representative of the Commonwealth of Australia, thus in reporting it to DEST and sending them the emails, DEST is now investigating in the hope of tracking down exactly who is responsible.
The results of the investigation will be interesting and I hope will be soon.
Now on the forum we have a new member, who refuses to identify themselves and states that they will not in their posts. They use an eye for their icon and their profile reads, Pay Attention, you are playing with fire’, in my mind this is someone who is wishing to continue bullying myself and continuing the fear factor.
Like Kathy, my brain has not stopped, I wonder why I am the target, I wonder what will be next, I wondered if I should continue to post, I wondered what this would do to my professional credibility, so many things running around my head and right now suspicious of every email, every phone call, I have even found it hard to check emails for fear of what may be waiting and answering the phone is a no go zone.
I have decided that I am not going to be bullied, so I am continuing to post and I am also trying to ensure all is known so that others may not suffer the same fate, it is time that these cowardly people, realised, that they will not get away with this, and those of us who are trying to help others with our knowledge and skills as well as learning ourselves from the engagement and sharing in the community, have zero tolerance for bullies and especially those who follow a path that is CRIMINAL.
Am I scared, yep a little as you really do not know what you are dealing with, but I have been bullied before and hidden under my doona for fear of everything around me, impacting on my children, my family, relationships, job everything in my life. I will not let that happen again and if my stance helps just one person it is worth it.
Kathy deserves none of what she has been dealt, no one deserves this. It is criminal behaviour and all need to understand the impact this has on peoples lives. You are never the same, I know that, you lose faith and trust in all.
If my case can help Kathy in anyway, then I am happy for her to contact me, I know all too well how she is suffering and am here for her.
If anyone wants to check this out and find me, go to http://www.flexiblelearning.net.au and go to the community networks, you will find all discussions and can follow, my contact details are there.
It is time we stood up for our colleagues and peers and friends. This can not be allowed to continue, so please all get behind Kathy, I know I am, she has my full support and my thoughts are with her at this time. Being in constant fear can destroy you, we need to make sure that Kathy knows she is not alone, that people care and will be her voice and protectors.

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