I can't even begin to express my annoyance and upset adequately, all due to the petty mindedness of a certain individual. My partner is being manipulated by his ex, threatened with the loss of his daughters if he doesn't stop seeing me.
It has not been made clear why I am a problem, I can only speculate. Could it be because I am an atheist, after all, atheists are known to be the fount of all evil (/sarcasm)? Perhaps because I am a skeptic or a scientist or a kinkster or because I have hazel eyes and long hair? Perhaps because I am open about my bisexuality and all of the above? Maybe it is because I have done some funny, kinky, educational videos? Perhaps it is because I do not want children of my own. Whatever the reason, none of them say anything about how I interact with people or the direction of my moral compass. Neither are any of them legal grounds to dictate whether I am a risk or not.
I rather think that the real reason has nothing to do with all/any of the above, even if any of them are cited as the reason. I suspect it has more to do with the fact that he is happy and no longer under her control. The children are the final thing she can use to hurt him.
I can't speak about what went on in their relationship, I was not there and all stories are by nature one-sided. I also do not know the individual personally, having only met her once, briefly. I know from my own experience that abusive relationships often have a strong emotionally manipulative component to them. My Ex used it quite successfully to turn several of my family members away from me when I finally came to my senses and told him I wanted a divorce. He resorted to some nasty tactics and still does to some extent. I am very thankful that we did not have children as I am sure he would have used them against me. I am not sure wounds from that relationship will ever heal completely. They are extremely sensitive and break open again with the slightest of prodding. For example, I find myself getting anxious when I cut my hair or do anything to change my appearance, because that was not permitted with my ex and would always result in heavy criticism. I was made to feel that I was always in the wrong, no matter what.
But bullies are not in the right. And while they can hurt us briefly, we, the victims, get stronger each time we can move past it. We learn from the experience. We get to know what our rights are. I don't know what is going to happen in our current situation but I do know one thing. I will not lie down and be walked over by a bully again. I will not be manipulated into thinking there is something wrong with me because another person dictates that it is so, because my views differ from theirs. I am not ashamed of who I am or what I stand for and I will never be ashamed of myself because of a bully again.
The article on skepchicks and the further links in the comments section (including a link to the bill itself) reveal that new anti bullying bill voted for by the senate (but not approved by the house as yet) contains a get-out clause that would not prohibit
"a statement of a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction of a school employee, school volunteer, pupil, or a pupil’s parent or guardian"
I think, in the end, it comes down to what you class as bullying. There no reason why people should not be able to express their opinions and beliefs, no matter what I personally think the validity of their stance is, but there is a problem when those opinions and beliefs are used to attack and hurt someone else. The interesting wording indicates that physical bullying will likely be prohibited, but verbal expressions based on moral and religious grounds are permitted.
So, do words do harm? "sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never harm me" is the phrase I remember from school. Words can't hurt or do harm?
Emoitional abuse can do lasting harm to individuals trapped in an environment where they cannot escape such abuse, such as relationships or work/school etc. Isolated and single verbally abusive incidents obviously do not do as much harm as a physically abusive incident. However, the problem is not single incidents, it is a progressive situation where the abuse takes place over a long period of time.
Statements of "sincerely held beliefs" in a directed manner over a prolonged period of time can take their tole, especially if the person also has similar religious beliefs. In my experience it is the manner in which those statements are used that can be the problem. Intention to do harm and the actions resulting from that can make simple words cut very deeply. It is more of an issue when people are vulnerable or sel-conscious in some way and have areas which the bullies can manipulate.
In this case they have probably done their best to avoid the religious only exemption that appears all to often for my liking by including "moral conviction", which would not exclude atheists etc. But it does effectively mean that verbal abuse and bullying of almost everyone is justifiable. It seems a shame that what could have had some effect is diluted down with such a statement. But in tody's world, could they really have done any better?
Skeptical kinkster musing on whatever takes my fancy!