Monica Walker has heard the stories: Employees isolated, taunted, sabotaged and humiliated by their bosses and co-workers. She can sympathize because Walker, 65, has experienced it herself.
That's why the Mazomanie woman volunteered to be the state coordinator for the Healthy Workplace Bill making its way through the state Legislature. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Kelda Roys, D-Madison, would require employers to create and enforce rules against repeated abusive behavior directed at workers — or face possible lawsuits.
Walker, now happily employed as an administrative assistant at New Heights Lutheran Church in Black Earth, told her story along with other "targets" of bullying at a Capitol hearing recently.
What motivates you to fight bullying?
My mom had a disability, so I recognized what she went through. She walked with somewhat of a limp. My mom taught me, my six sisters and one brother not to discriminate. Bullies can strip you of your identity — make you believe you're someone you're not.
What happened when you were bullied?
My whole life fell apart. I still suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. I have sleepless nights, weight gain and health problems.
How have you coped?
Everybody chooses their own way to self heal. My way was to continue to address the problem. ... People who have come forward and testified who are still going through the trauma humble me.
What have you learned?
Why do bullies bully? Because they can. There's nothing to stop them.
— Interview by Dee J. Hall