There’s Nothing and Everything Domestic at Work: 3-part series
I woke with a sudden jolt! My eyes flashed to the clock: 6:48 am. Late! Late! I flew out of bed running around the room trying to find direction from the chaos of last night. We had made it through that night! It was now Monday, and I was late for the routine, school, and work!
The checklist began to pour out of my head, and verbally out of my mouth to help me organize my thoughts. 12 minutes to put the kids in the car, get ready for work, and drive. This was not going to happen! But I had to be at work! I couldn’t lose my job. I couldn’t let go of the only stability in my life--especially following last night!
I threw on my sweater and jumped into my pants, pulled on my left shoe, as soon as I place my foot in the right shoe I was frozen into place. The Spirit was very direct, No work today.
Monday, November 27th was not going to be a workday. All I could think of was my classroom, the students, and my job? Firmly the Spirit repeated, no work today. I picked up my phone and sent a text to my boss, and my paraprofessional that I was not coming in, but that I would be back tomorrow.
My hands were shaking as I texted this. I subconsciously rubbed my neck where his hands and his blade lay last night to calm my hand.
Sending that text was a frightening thing for me to do. I felt more fear with doing that than from what I experienced the night before. How could that be? I knew that it was irrational to think that if I missed one day of work, then I would be fired, but this was more than missing one day of work.
My work was my escape from my living Hell. Work was my anchor that provided a sense of normal for me. Normal was a place where people worked, laughed, created, and cared for others.
My Work provided my food, my shelter, my now my ability to divorce and live independently. My work, provided for my children, gave me friendships, and a way to live independently of my abusive marriage. Ultimately it would give me my freedom.
I was absolutely tight-lipped about my personal life and tried to carry a false front that I was fine and I poured all my energy into the classroom. I deep down knew that it affected my teaching, my ability to keep calm in my classroom of 18 children with 17 with autism.
If my former spouse was verbal, mental, sexual, or violent with me the night before, I learned how to check those feelings at the door of the school. I lied to my spouse where the children went to school and where I worked for fear that he might show up there and hurt someone else. I could not take that chance. I did my best to ignore the texts and the threats that would happen throughout the day and just focus in on my students.
I’ve learned over the years of working with victims that they share the same terrifying and out of control feelings while they are at work. We all need our jobs to provide for our families and to GET OUT of the abuse. However, the statistics are very clear home life impacts your ability to do good work. Which affect the business/employer and their “bottom line.”
The statistics from the CDC are clear:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates $5.8 billion each year for direct medical and mental health care services and lost productivity from paid work and household chores due to intimate partner rape, physical assault, and stalking. The total productivity losses account more than $8.3 billion annually.
Check out this statistic, the CDC estimates the annual cost of lost productivity due to domestic violence is $727.8 million! That means more than 7.9 million paid workdays which is the equivalent of more than 32,000 full-time jobs. That is what is lost each year.
About 130,000 victims of stalking reported that they were fired or asked to leave their job because of the stalking (over a 12 month period). The reasons?
They feared for their safety and needed to miss work to obtain a restraining order. They missed on average 3.5 workdays.
They were placing other employees at a safety risk and therefore based on the safe place workspace policies were let go.
A 2005 study of female employees in Maine who experienced domestic violence found that:
98% had difficulty concentrating on work tasks;
96% reported that domestic abuse affected their ability to perform their job duties;
87% received harassing phone calls at work;
78% reported being late to work because of abuse; and
60% lost their jobs due to domestic abuse.
In a 2005 telephone survey from the Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence,
64% said their ability to work was affected by the violence.
57% said they were distracted,
45 % feared getting discovered, and
35% were afraid of their intimate partner's unexpected visit either by phone or in-person would happen while they were at work.
Now that you have the facts, you have to ask, “those stats are terrifying, so what can I do about it?” Stay turn for Part 2 of "There’s Nothing and Everything Domestic at Work."
******Please Email April at firstname.lastname@example.org so I can help you today.