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Beverly Peterson: A filmmaker on a mission

For all intent and purposes Workplace bullying seems to be on the rise. As a young nurse back in the day, I experienced my share of intimidation, although then everyone just chalked it up to how we as outcasts were considered not part of the 'clique'. One nurse supervisor in particular would often assign me the sickest patient, schedule me to take last lunch and on one ocassion called me into her office & during my performance evaluation told me straight up that 'I don't like you'. Appearing as bold as I could I replied that I didn't like her either and could she please give me my evaluation. Times have changed in the workplace as bullying have taken on a whole new status. Beverly Peterson is a filmmaker from New York whose films explores areas most folks are fearful of tackling. I had an opportunity of speaking with Beverly about her latest film, There Oughta Be A Law:  

Cwe. Welcome Beverly, can you tell our readers a bit about you/film.

Bp. I actually have a pretty crazy backgroundI used to own several seafood restaurants on the upper east side of Manhattan. We had fishing boats & traveled extensively. In the early 90s I gave all of that up and started making documentaries. Financially the decision was a nosedive but, artistically it's been amazing. It's not unusual for my films to come out of my personal experiences and what it is to be living at a certain moment in history.

Cwe. What motivated you to do There Oughta Be A Law?

Bp. I knew about the torment of dealing with an abusive boss first hand.It happens with amazing speed. I went down for the count in less than 6 months. suddenly your life is turned upside down financially & emotionally, your health is in jeopardy and you are filled with incredible shame. I started having severe chest pain. Went for a checkup and the EKG tech was concerned because the reading was adnormal. My doctor thought the machine was broken & hooked me up to another one. I failed a resting stress test, so they scheduled the one on the treadmill. needless to say I flunked that one too. The outcome? Stress!

My doctor sat me down and said: "You were fine before you started working for this woman. You need to find another job. " She was right. I quit my job and my health is fine again. The great thing about having the power to make a film is that it gives you a megaphone to shout aloud the dirty little secrets that those abusing power don't want told. That's why I decided to use the internet to launch this video project. The internet is the place where the private becomes public. I want my website to become a safe place for victims to come out of the shadows and talk as openly as they can about the devastating impact of psychological harassment in the workplace.

Cwe. What can we do to bring about awareness to this type of mistreatment by employers in the workplace?

Bp. I think the most important is exactly what you are doing, writing articles to get the word out. Your readers can easily email your article to everyone they know & those people in turn can do the same. I f someone has a story to share, they can get in touch with me. My overly ambitious goal is to raise enough funding to gather stories in every state. On May 28th Illinois passed a bill to study hostile work environments that just needs the Governor's signature. You can make sure they move on that study so it doesn't languish and disappear.

Cwe. Beverly Peterson has more information to share on workplace bullying iincluding stories of a young wife & mother who after being harassed by her employer eventually hung herself. To view portions of this film, visit http://nojobIsWorthThis.com.

 More of Beverly Peterson's interview can be viewed at http://clara54.wordpress.com 

Comments

  • Michelle Smith 5 years ago

    This article shows that you have NOT done your research on the subject of workplace bullying very well at all! Go to illinoishwb dot org, go to workplacebullying dot org, go to bullyfreeworkplace dot org, go to newworkplace dot wordpress dot com to find out who the actual author of the Healthy Workplace Bill is, who has spent the last 12 years pioneering, researching, and surveying the conditions of workplace bullying, who walks the halls of the Illinois Capitol, and who spends endless hours responding to website emails to people who have become targets of workplace bullying and seek to move out of the insanity and isolation of this phenomenon.
    For being a journalist, you have certainly not researched your sources very well at all. Beverly is new to this work. Plagiarism is all too common when it comes to trying to take credit for other people’s work. You need to do your homework on this one and try again!

  • Chicagowomen'sexaminer.com 5 years ago

    Michelle,
    Thanks for you comments and apparently misplaced anger:( If you'd understood my interview piece, you'd know that it's a single interview of one filmmakers' work, inclusive of workplace bullying... Thank goodness there are such dedicated folks as yourself out here working for an equally great cause. I wasn't researching who started what...merely speaking with & getting the views of my profile subject, Beverly Peterson. My article is in no way an attempt to take away any credit from you or any organization, it's simply an interview of a person whose subject matter captured my attention. If you'd tell me that I made up the interview subject, or, stole the interview from someone like yourself, then you'd certainly have just cause for your anger... If you'd like to speak more on the subject, feel free to email me.

    Thank you.

  • Jack 5 years ago

    I am on Facebook and got introduced to Beverly Peterson's work there. It is very moving. I am glad to see her work getting attention, because this problem is huge. For a long time I have been involved in the environmental movement and people who work for the federal gov't are some of the most abused people I have met. One of Ms. Peterson's videos covers a story I am familiar with from other circles, but it does so in a way that captures the terrible nature of bullying more than any other media I have seen on this case.

  • Chicago Womens Examiner 5 years ago

    Jack,
    There are countless folks out here working for the good of humanity...yet, how will we know about them unless we advertise our efforts? I thinks that is part of my job as a writer...to inform, educate, entertain & promote commentary/debate. which in turn spurs one to act...

    Thank you.

  • Tracey Gotham 5 years ago

    Clara...thanks for clarifying Beverly's intentions. It is obvious she is passionate about letting people who have been targeted in the workplace have their voices heard. Having lived that hell myself, part of being targeted is the absolute isolation, the mobbing, the lies, etc. It is a GOOD thing for us to have a voice to be heard, a forum that will listen, and a place where others can share their stories as well. In unity we can make a difference and make changes.

  • Chicago Women's Examiner.Com 5 years ago

    Tracey, it is what we do as writers in a sense, isn't it? Try to get the word out. Beverly is a great example of our doing just that. Since the interview with Ms. Peterson posted, I have spoken to Carrie Clark, Illinois state coordinator for the Workplace Bullying Institute's legislative campaign who have opened the doors to a wealth of citizen information as well... I appreciate there are people taking a stance against all injustice in every capacity and I will continue to inform/encourage,through my work as a writer.

    Thank you.

  • Joie Bostwick 5 years ago

    I have met Beverly Peterson, am familiar with her documentaries, and am grateful for the awareness her films will achieve in our movement. Her cause is just and her dedication is above reproach. I speak as someone, whose heart has been broken. My beloved niece is dead. Psychological harassment in the workplace drove her to such a dark place, she could not find her way back. She succumbed to suicide. Believe me, when I say, No Job is Worth This! I am more grateful than words can express, to all of you, across this nation, who are working so hard to bring this despicable behavior to the forefront of public awareness. Only by doing so, will our politicians realize the importance of the legislation we are impatiently awaiting passage. I commend all of you, the known and the unknown, for the hours of dedication devoted to striking down this mean spirited behavior so prevalent in the labor force. On behalf of my family, I thank all of you who have reached out to us in our grief.

  • Joie Bostwick 5 years ago

    6/23/09 - A RESPONSE TO COMMENTS ON: Beverly Peterson: A filmmaker on a mission
    Clara Freeman Chicago Women's Examiner

    By
    Joie Bostwick

    I have met Beverly Peterson, am familiar with her documentaries, and am grateful for the awareness her films will achieve in our movement. Her cause is just and her dedication is above reproach.

    I speak as someone, whose heart has been broken. My beloved niece is dead. Psychological harassment in the workplace drove her to such a dark place, she could not find her way back. She succumbed to suicide. Believe me, when I say, No Job is Worth This!

    I am more grateful than words can express, to all of you, across this nation, who are working so hard to bring this despicable behavior to the forefront of public awareness. Only by doing so, will our politicians realize the importance of the legislation we are impatiently awaiting passage.

    I commend all of you, the known and the unknown, for the hours of dedication devoted to striking down

  • Chicago Women's Examiner.Com 5 years ago

    Joie, thanks so much for your heartfelt letter. So sorry to hear about the loss of your neice. Beverly has a purpose & a mission with her documentaries and I as a writer will continue to help bring awareness. I have spoken to another behind the scenes advocate against workplace bullying in the State of Illinois, Carrie Clark, State coorindinator for the Workplace Bullying Institute's legislative campaign She is working tirelessly along with the of WBI chair person here to get legislation passed in Illinois. There are sooo many folks working for justice for people bulled by their employers and I'm confident there will be a law passed against these abusers.

    Thank You.

  • Beverly Peterson 5 years ago

    Thanks for your support and responses!I gladly recognize those who came before me, not the least of which is John Grierson who coined the phrase documentary and whose tradition I am helping push forward into the cyber world.And, of course my personal mentors Lora Hays and George Stoney who are legend in my field and who opened my eyes early on to the power video plays as an educational tool in the struggle against unfair labor practices. There have been many scholarly texts, articles and films that detail the commitment of these powerful pioneers thus freeing me to present new ideas. The joy of being part of a movement is that each new voice brings a new perspective and ‘piece of the puzzle.’ There are already numerous texts,articles and blogs that document the historic work of pioneers like the Namies who first brought the European struggle against workplace bullying to the US. I am excited that I can now add my own unique voice to this tapestry of ideas as we push toward legislation

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