Monday, February 08, 2010

Young woman bullied to death

Brodie Panlock, 19, was relentlessly bullied by co-workers, eventually committing suicide by jumping to her death. Her tormentors, with obvious vulnerabilities of their own, targeted the young woman because she lacked self-confidence:

Prosecutor Gary Livermore told a pre-sentence hearing that witnesses had seen several of the accused pour fish oil into Ms Panlock's kitbag and then pour it over her, reducing her to tears.

They had also called her fat and ugly and spat on her.

Magistrate Peter Lauritsen was told that Ms Panlock had tried to commit suicide in May 2006 by taking rat poison after being rejected by Smallwood, with whom she'd had an intimate relationship.

Mr Livermore said that after that incident rat poison was put in her bag, and MacAlpine had told her to go and take it.

At a coroner's hearing in 2008, Meghan Chester, a former barista at Cafe Vamp, said Ms Panlock had no confidence in her beauty or worth.

"I have worked in the hospitality industry for 10 years, but I have never seen anything like what those ... males did to Brodie," Ms Chester said.

In the statement read to the court, Ms Chester said that the accused had taken bullying "to another level".

Now it would be easy to suggest that Ms Panlock should have simply thrown in the job and moved on but this ignores that people can easily become trapped by circumstances. This unfortunate woman obviously came to believe that there was something seriously wrong with her when, in fact, it was her tormentors who have serious psychological problems.

Work is a an important means of evaluating self-worth. It is all too easy for anyone bullied in the workplace to assume that that they are in some way deficient rather than evaluate the deficiencies of the thugs doing the bullying. It is indeed unfortunate that the thugs who pushed Ms Panlock to the edge and then took delight in pushing her beyond her breaking point will serve no jail time. Then again, these sadistic ass-holes will hopefully be tormented by their bullying for as long as they live.


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