Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Do I dare disturb the universe?

Really getting tired of this terminal insomnia. It's been every day this week. I know I've been lying around too much on the weekends; I've also got some muscle aches, which a doctor of mine once told me could be due to decreased circulation from inactivity. I'm going to try to walk a bit today, since I only have one class and then coffee with Claudia, the bipolar/borderline student I met at the panel discussion I organized.

I met with the Executive Director for Diversity, Human Rights and Social Justice at school yesterday. I wanted to tell her about the harassment and biased speech Miss Thing inflicted on me and how the internship department totally botched both that situation, my second-year internship interview, and placing me in a new internship to finish out my first year. Also how Dean Evillene was rude, hostile, dismissive, and a very bad social worker, and how I'm supposedly in hock for 200 fieldwork hours because they wouldn't let me take the internships I was offered.

Dr. ED-DHRSJ was extremely sympathetic and supportive. I fumbled through my statement of outrages, and she listened and completely condemned everything. Including what happened with the internship department. I tried not to cry, but couldn't entirely hold in the tears, especially when talking about how awful Dean Evillene was.

"Did you feel revictimized?" asked Dr. ED-DHRSJ. That's an incredibly leading question. But it hit home. I could feel my face crumple and I started crying harder. Which answered her question.

I've gotten some good validation from other students around my experiences -- they were uniformly shocked at how Dean Evillene treated me, and many of them had outrageous internship experiences of their own, so they could sympathize. Professor Fun has also always supported me, and was happy to hear I was going to see Dr. ED-DHRSJ.

Now it's time to decide what I want this action to accomplish.

1. Some kind of inquiry and formal censure of Miss Thing and the agency she works for. Dr. ED-DHRSJ asked me if the school is going to send that agency any more students, and I said I didn't think so. She thought the internship director might have told the agency they would no longer send students to an agency that allowed a social worker to use anti-Semitic language; if that's the case and the agency didn't censure or even reprimand Miss Thing, the agency should be censured as well.

2. I want the extra 200 hours I'm supposed to work to go away. I love my internship, but I don't want to spend more than a month after graduation not getting paid and not having health insurance -- especially since the internship department let me languish for weeks even though I had two perfectly valid options to finish my first year and could have started the day after I left the DV shelter. I hope the university can throw some weight around to accomplish that.

It's not important to me to get an apology from Dean Evillene -- if I never have to see anyone from the internship department ever again, it will be much too soon. But as a classmate of mine put it, "Ayelet, you should totally call the internship department on what they did, because no other student should have to go through what you did."

She's right. I am not being vindictive. I am standing up for my rights, and letting people know that anti-Semitism and revictimization are not acceptable. Social workers are supposed to be advocates. As Hillel said, "Im ain ani li mi li?" If I do not act for myself, who will act for me?
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"


  1. Hey love - I'm sorry you had to go through that painful recounting. But the question is, what power does ED-DHRSJ wield? Are you certain that none of the individuals about whom you're complaining is in a position to re-revictimize you?

  2. I'm so glad ED-DHRSJ was supportive and you were able to air your frustrations. But keep your eye on the prize. Try and get your outstanding internship commitment reduced if you can, but the important thing is to keep your head down, get done with school and on with your career. Don't waste too much mental energy on Miss Thing etc.

  3. good for you - be your own advocate. hopefully, by your speaking out, some positive change can be made.

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  5. Is that the dean's real name?

    Also, if your case is so iron-clad, then go for it. But I must side with Riva on the general premise - don't let this derail your completion of the program and establishment of a fulfilling and successful career.

  6. Good catch (everyone needs an editor!). I'll re-post:

    ED-DHRSJ has no power. The Vice Provost of the university, on the other hand, has lots of power. And I am inclined to think that a student willing to not kick up too big a fuss about being exposed to harassment/anti-Semitism and then revictimized by university staff would be granted a small concession. That's all I'm after.

    I also don't want other students to experience what I did. Isn't my entire life, or at least my entire blog, based on that premise? I'm not asking for Dean Evillene's head on a platter (I'm sure she's not nearly as pretty as John the Baptist). I just don't want to lose thousands of dollars in lost wages and spending on uninsured medical care because the internship office is incompetent and at times downright abusive.

    I want to go on record as saying that university policy forbids you to treat me this way -- and I will not lie down and let you back the bus over me a few more times.