I’ve always considered myself a woman’s woman, but after the horrible cruelty I experienced at the hands of women in the rescue world—lashing out through their keyboards because they’re too cowardly to say it to my face—I really had to pull back and rethink.
I’m still rethinking, as a matter of fact.
And what I think is that I’d never again get involved in active rescue (beyond my annual foster pledge). Which one could argue is a shame, but I like to believe that I did my time—I spent 13 years on the front lines and taking abuse from all sides—and now we have new blood to take center stage.
During those difficult years, I all-too-often believed my abusers; believed it was me. There must be something wrong about me, off about me, too abrasive about me, too ‘radical’ about me, and maybe they were right—maybe I was just a horrible person.
Yet now I see the same thing happening to two other lovely ladies who are standing tall and making change for the animals, and quite frankly, it’s making my blood boil, and I’m compelled to speak out on their behalves. (Although they both did a fine job standing up for themselves.)
When it’s not me in the hot seat, when I can see the machinations behind the bullying more clearly, I can see exactly what it is:
Jealousy. Pure and simple.
When it’s happening to you, you don’t have the freedom to say people are jealous of you, even if you have the clarity of mind to figure it out. It just makes you look narcissistic, which will already be one of their accusations against you and only further fuels the rage they spew.
But now that I’m not on the chopping block, I can and will call out jealousy when I see it.
And I’m seeing it now.
Two women who I am friendly with and hold respect for in the rescue movement put out posts in the last two days talking about the abuse and vitriol that is currently being heaped upon their heads.
Why? Because they’ve stood up and taken action. And people are jealous of that. Let’s call it what it is, folks.
Jealousy, pure and simple.
One, Denise Bitz, is the founder and President of Brother Wolf Animal Rescue in Asheville, North Carolina. She used to be a rep in that area fighting for the chained dogs when I was with Dogs Deserve Better, so I got to know her through that work, finding her to be strong and ethical.
She’s done fabulous things since starting Brother Wolf, and the organization now, in addition to rescuing dogs and cats, has embraced veganism and right to life for ALL animals, proudly standing by that vision.
For this stance, she has been personally attacked, and even shamed for the way her body looks, for the fact that she’s not model-thin.
Last I checked, being a model was not a prerequisite for making a difference for the animals. Or most of us would not be here, now would we?
When I was being relentlessly attacked on social media, I was told over and over again to just ‘take the high ground. Continue on about my work. They would get bored and go somewhere else.’ But that’s not really true. There are some really sick human beings who become obsessed with destroying their targets, and these SOB’s continue despite you ignoring them.
If one has the money or the energy to take these sorts of people to court for defamation, you might spend many thousands of dollars and come away with little in the form of satisfaction or peace of mind.
How ugly your situation gets depends on the personality disorder of the person you’re dealing with. For those sidekick bullies, the ones just following the BIG BULLY, a strongly-worded letter from an attorney is usually enough to scare them off. But for the hard-core folks with major personality disorders—the leaders of the anti-YOU movement—not much scares them off once they sink their teeth into you.
Take the below, for example: this is from an expert analysis of a woman, a doctor, who harassed one of our reps (who also happened to be her patient) during my years with DDB. This doctor simply switched over to me (having never met me in person) once she was court-ordered to leave our rep alone. I’m sure she is still out there targeting someone today, because her analysis all but guarantees that fact:
When you’re dealing with a psychosis of this magnitude, above, nothing short of a miracle and another poor SOB pissing them off more will sway them from targeting you.
Denise stood up to her abusers with grace and dignity, even showing compassion for them and not anger. I applaud and commend her, and hope that others will rally around her and her group in the face of others’ cruelty.
She writes: “The nasty comments, allegations, rumors, falsities that continue to be perpetuated by a VERY SMALL group of people in Asheville including the two mentioned above…I want to make sure that everyone is crystal clear here….their hate stems from a very simple place. From my personal stance on veganism and our organizational stance on veganism. The hate attacks, orchestrated attacks on Facebook, etc. all started at the same time we started promoting veganism. And you will see subtle hints of this from them—like Sue mentioned in the screen-shotted comment ‘Denise won’t eat the dog food because it’s not vegan.’
I know our veganism makes you uncomfortable. And for that, well, too bad. I am not going to apologize for being a kind, compassionate person, leading an organization that is a reflection of my values NOR am I going to apologize for having a beautiful Board Of Directors who not only embraces our core ethic of Uncompromised Compassion but lives it everyday. And if you don’t want to hear compelling stories about animals—all animals—from our organization and just want to hear about dogs and cats, then maybe it is time to move on. There are plenty of other “animal welfare” organizations out there that do not promote veganism as a moral baseline.
Our work for the dogs and cats will not only continue, but get stronger every year. But so will our work for the farm animals. And yes, when we tell you a story about a calf that we rescued from the veal industry and a pig who came from a factory farm that gives you the warm fuzzies, we are also going to ask you to give them the same consideration you give your dogs and cats. And please don’t eat them. Because they all want to live. There is no humane way to take another beings life. And you can live a healthier life by embracing this lifestyle of compassion. ‘I will not stay silent so that you can stay comfortable.'”
So well said, Denise!
Another woman I consider a friend (but have never met in person), Regina Quinn, is going through similar harassment for taking a really strong stand for animals in the Hampton Roads, Virginia area. In fact, when I watched some of the videos she was making—and how much she was putting herself out there—I cringed, because I knew what was coming for her: online abuse by those who became jealous of her efforts and willingness to put herself on the line, and legal trouble because authorities can’t stand a woman doing their jobs for them. They find a need to put her in her place, to remove her from their territory.
Both of these things have since happened to Regina, and I’ve watched her struggle so greatly in the past few weeks.
My heart goes out to her, because I know what it feels like. I share her pain and heartbreak.
She wrote an amazing bit on Facebook I’d like to share in part with you: “I have much to say to the rescue community—some of it good, some bad. These past few months have been my greatest and my worst.
The greatest has been realizing my own potential, trusting in my faith and knowing anything is possible if you believe in yourself and let that higher power in to guide you. There is nothing that cannot be accomplished when you truly believe in your mission and purpose on this earth.
We are living in trying times, families against families over the presidential election, religion and values. We are as a rescue community working together to save lives each day and at the same time cutting each other’s throats in the name of self righteousness and ego.
The very justice system we claim to be just is crumbling before us and many of you are falling with it. Through the ages there have been people who have risen above the masses, took risks to make change, spoke out when their lives were at risk, took chances not from a self-driven need to be acknowledged but for humanity and justice for all.
I decided four years ago that I wanted to be a part of the change. My dedication and appreciation comes in the form of knowing I am being driven by a divine power that cannot be seen, only felt. How many of you have that inside you? I have lost fear in the light of following a purpose driven life. To me being a voice for animals is being a voice for you as well. No living creature deserves to be ridiculed, stereotyped, judged, abused, neglected, or used for profit.
I want to ask why anyone in the rescue community would go against, bash, discredit, defame a person willing to take a stand for their freedom? The judgment I have received from some of the rescuers here in VA is staggering.
We as humans kill what we fear, destroy what we don’t understand. Someone like me makes those type of people who are lacking in faith and confidence uncomfortable.
I am trying very hard to do what’s right yet people continue to get in the way, bringing false claims and hearsay to the table and pounding forks and knifes with a hunger to destroy my mission.
I am here to tell you that you will not succeed. The negative people, the corrupt systems to which we live in every day are the obstacles I will continue to overcome.
For those of you who say you stay out of “the drama”, it is your resistance to standing for what’s right that instead continues to fuel the drama.
For those who seek to destroy, I hope one day you will lose your fear and stop using others to make yourself appear a better person than you really are. Examine yourselves and find your own faults and stop pointing the fingers at those who are willing to make a difference in this world.
I appreciate being liked but its not the purpose of why I’m here. I’m here to force change. Either you’re with me or against me. Just realize every time you get in my way, you are preventing more progress for the animals I am here to help.”
Today, as one on the sidelines trying to cheer for those doing the work, I want to say “BRAVO! HEAR HEAR!” to these two women, and the many others out there who are going through hell at this very moment because you stood tall for the animals.
They cannot say it, but I can.
YOU BULLIES? YOU’RE JUST JEALOUS of their success.
When a woman stands tall in her beliefs and finds some success, suddenly she is attacked and becomes a target for others’ cruelty.
Every human being (at least all but the very highest of us) feels jealous of the success of others. It’s what we do about that jealousy that matters. When I feel jealous of someone else, I recognize they are succeeding in an area in which I’d like to succeed, and take stock of how much effort I’m willing to put into being a success there.
If I’m not willing to put in the effort that they do, then I have no one but myself to blame for not being as ‘famous’ or successful as these other woman. I know that I have no right to go after them online to make myself feel better. None whatsoever. Neither do these women. Denise and Regina pointing out their bad behavior is not playing the victim. They are standing up to their abusers.
I always considered myself a woman’s woman, but the way I’ve seen women treat each other in this movement is truly shameful, and I hang my head for those who seek to do harm to our sisters.
Jealous of what someone else is accomplishing for the animals? This is a clear sign for you to take action to improve your own life by doing more for the animals, too. When you do that, you’ll be so busy building something that matters that you’ll have no time or desire to do harm to other women.
And you’ll be ashamed that you ever did.
If you’re a woman who’s participated in these attacks, even orchestrated them, and have had a change of heart, I urge you to apologize to the one you hurt. It is so freeing, for you AND for her, and gives you good karma points to boot. God knows we could all use more of those.