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October 31, 2013

Stand up against abuses of power with courage, wisdom, persistence, and peaceful resolve. Have you ever been taken advantage of by someone holding some form of power or control over you? How did this feel? Did you feel trapped, anxious, or paralyzed with fear? Did you try to do something about it only to discover that the situation had grown worse? Did this make you feel even more stuck or trapped? Then what? Did you give up because it seemed like the more you did the worse things became? Did you allow them to control you even more and prevent you from taking the needed action? Such abuses of power include the obvious, domestic violence, sexual harassment, sexual assault, and child abuse; but they can also include more everyday things like exploiting or assaulting the elderly, taking advantage of the trusting and kind for selfish gain, and contracted service providers (e.g. building contractors) who act as if the property they are working on is theirs, fail to abide by the terms of their contract, take liberties and damage property, and leave their mess for someone else to clean up. Believe it or not, the last example above happens quite often. I have heard about it from numerous clients, and even experienced it myself. When a contractor gets into a project they actually hold quite a bit of power, because something is torn down or partially built, and you are relying on them to complete it. If you ask them to fix something, repair something they damaged, or build something according to your wishes; and they ignore you, get angry, or just do what they want; you must continue standing up and insisting that they perform the requested services in accordance with the established contract. If you try talking with them a few times and get nowhere, do not put yourself through the stress any more. Review the contract, document your discussions, and take photos of relevant things (e.g. damage, incomplete work, etc.). This is your home or project, this person is being employed by you to provide a service, and you are the boss and rights holder in this situation. Call the licensing board, call the labor union, and consult with a labor attorney to determine the best way to hold such parties accountable without experiencing too much stress. Whatever you do, stand up for yourself, do not let such people push you around, and know that there are people and agencies that will help. Do not let a contractor take your project hostage for their personal gain. Stand up against abuses of power with courage, wisdom, persistence, and peaceful resolve.