We're a Nation of Bullies
By Kim Rossi
I've had a lot on my plate during the last year and change. More than my usual as Mom to three girls with autism, Managing Editor of Age of Autism, consultant, writer, editor, speaker for anyone brave enough to hire me, karate and kobudo teacher and student.
I got divorced in June of 2017 after 25 years of marriage. Now I can include single parent to the above list of jobs. My divorce was as rotten as any. None are pleasant. I kept it as private as I could for numerous reasons, the first being, IT WAS NO ONE'S BUSINESS BUT MY EX HUSBAND'S AND MY OWN. I got out poor as a church mouse, light as a feather, righter than rain and happier than a clam in cool, wet sand.
This week news broke about our friend Dr. Andrew Wakefield - and his possible, probably, pending - we do not know - divorce from the strong, smart, talented, smiling, partner we know as Carmel. IT IS NO ONE'S BUSINESS BUT ANDY AND CARMEL'S.
Here is a new flash for you - during my Google Divorce U education, I learned that it takes more than 7 years to get a divorce from the moment you think, "This is something I should consider," to the day a judge gives you back your maiden name. And women initiate 70% of divorces. And according to Psychology Today, One might think that the majority of divorces in heterosexual marriages are initiated by men, due to the financial and social difficulties that many women face post divorce (Brinig & Allen, 2000). However, research since the 1940’s, has revealed that women are more responsible for initiating divorce than men and that divorced women are happier after ending their marriages (Brining & Allen, 2000; Rosenfeld, 2016).
Many people think autism broke up my marriage. Not so. In fact, the opposite. So while people wonder in newspaper articles and on websites better known for social gossip speculate about the Wakefields, please keep in mind that women like Carmel, like me - are not to be pitied. Life is messy. The road changes before us. And that's OK. My book All I Can Handle I'm No Mother Teresa (which is honest and true as I wrote it I promise you) had just been published when I started to contemplate a divorce. During my VAXXED bus interview, I was asked "How do you keep your marriage alive, Kim?" And I tap danced faster than Savion Glover on Sesame Street, as I was well on my way to filing!
The bright side for me being a single Mom is that I have had precious little time to watch the news. Thank God for that. Here's my opinion. We have become a nation of bullies. I mean that. Both sides. Take a look at the Google "IDIOT" search message in the photo above. Can you imagine a world where someone(s) can change a search engine to say whatever they want? Love Trump. Hate Trump. I don't care a fig. But do consider what would happen if you searched, "religion" and "unicorns" came up? Or if you searched "car" and ONLY GM brands appeared deep into the search." Or you typed Anti-vaxxer and Andy Wakefield's photo popped up. Or mine. Or yours!
Civility is almost gone on both sides of politics. I've seen friendships ended. Relationships torn apart. Friends lists on social media whittled. I understand taking a stand. It's what I do every day for my girls. I don't understand the nasty bullying and controlling of information. For every Me Too rending of garments, WE autism Mothers of vaccine injured children have been ignored or called outright liars. Nothing happened to our kids! We're seeking revenge! No body shaped knit hats for US!
I can decide what's fake news. I don't need Twitter and FB to protect me. I have two black belts and three adult children with autism. I CAN PROTECT MYSELF AND EVERYONE I LOVE.
Here we are trying to teach our children the Golden Rule - and yet we're a Pyrite nation. It's disheartening to me. And I won't participate. I'm sure friends have wondered why I am rather silent on the politics of social media. I certainly have opinions! I just don't see the point of tangling with friends at the risk of losing them - one way or another. I'm still No Mother Teresa. I am not Kim Stagliano either. I'm Kim Rossi. I'm like Chrissie Hynde - Middle of the Road. But I am NOT a Pretender.
Kim Rossi is Media Editor for Age of Autism.
Hi - not at all! The judge changed my name back on my final Divorce papers. Then I took those papers and got my license and SS card changed. And everything else. Easy and let me tell you, every bill that arrived to Kim Rossi looked gorgeous! LOL! Good luck.
Posted by: Rossi | July 04, 2020 at 07:40 PM
Was it a difficult, involved process changing your name back? I am in this situation now. I especially wonder about guardianship (when they are over 18). I know there would be the usual SS, driver's license, banks, credit cards, insurance to notify for me, but what about the probate court and all that needs to be notified for the child's sake? Were they easily able to change your name on guardianship documents and the girls' medical records and so on?
My attorney says changing your name back (which I want) can be a very long, imperfect process that doesn't always go smoothly since we know many of these places neglect to actually make the changes they are supposed to and it can screw things up down the road.
Anything you can offer would be great.
Posted by: another mom | July 04, 2020 at 06:54 PM
Excellent Kim and I couldn't agree more.
Posted by: Theresa Cedillo | July 26, 2018 at 03:22 AM
Great Stuff, Age Of Autism Is "The Best Kitchen Conference in Town" As for mentioning the unmentionables of when the teenage reproductive hormones kick into gear . I found our lads in the care home with a clothing order book, open and laughing and pointing at the ladies underwear section,
concerns had been voiced from female staff about uncomfortable patting on their hin ends from the young male residents . We needed more training before exploring this delicate area ? as this topic was not covered in RNMH modules . Family Planning Centre ,Maryhill, Glasgow do three day in-service training for contuining professional development . what a laugh the first day, as we were waiting in the reception area, progect managers from all over the sector. we had to ask for windows to be opened as we were all feeling a bit hot and stuffy ,and a few flushed expressions on some folks faces with looking at all the training ornaments and posters up on the walls . what a good three day inservive traing it was . So well presented and covered every area we did not have information about for discussion with our staff and families .By the first day by lunchtime we were all laughing at the content of the course to the point that we were nearly all falling off our chairs sideways.
With such delicate content to cover these tutors were indeed expert within their own area.
Posted by: Morag | July 22, 2018 at 06:05 AM
Kim, you are a true inspiration and source of strength for me as I am raising my adult son with autism. There are days and sometimes nights that I wonder how I am going to survive this way of life that I never expected to have. I never heard the word autism until I saw the movie Rain Man and then lo and behold my own son was diagnosed with the condition shortly afterwards. Life throws us left curves we never dream can happen and I'm a different person than I was before autism entered my life. I can only thank you for helping me get through this VERY DIFFICULT way of life every time I read your posts and also after having read your book "I'm no mother Theresa." God Bless you and your beautiful daughters and all our children affected by this autism tragedy.
Posted by: Gayle | July 21, 2018 at 11:58 PM
Terrific Kim!! I appreciated watching your interview even more this second time, especially knowing now what you were going through at the time. You handled Polly's question about marriage perfectly!
Thanks also for the Pretenders video :)......took me back to a time when I had never even heard of the word "autism."
Posted by: Pam | July 21, 2018 at 07:23 PM
Linda1 is right. Those trolls' dens like Skeptical Raptor and Respectful Insolence feed on anyone who ventures into their domain. The more responses, the more money they make. Best ignored.
The Andy/Elle controversy has run it's course and is yesterday's news. It seems to have dawned on the vaccine promoters this story was actually making people question vaccine safety. All the press reports contained an NHS assurance of MMR vaccine safety, but I was very heartened by many of the more thoughtful comments, many of which questioned the UK Health Department's stance on this issue. Most people wanted to be told the risks as well as the benefits of vaccines. Has anyone ever been given a vaccine insert? Thought not-although these are routinely included with prescription medicines in the UK.
There were plenty of inane comments about superficial issues like 'appearances', but surprisingly few trolls, trotting out the same old same old Wakefield defamatory rubbish. There comments are now looking tired and a bit ridiculous.
Posted by: Jenny Allan | July 21, 2018 at 11:38 AM
Life is too short to waste a second on those "people".
Posted by: Linda1 | July 21, 2018 at 10:27 AM
Kim, what I appreciate most about you is your raw openness. Reflecting on your divorce, and Andy's and Carmel's separation, I am reminded how complex people can be. In a relationship, even in if the parties share a powerful bond, a strong common goal, this is no insurance that they will overcome their differences, and leading to a lasting union. Yes -- relationships are often tough as hell!
As for the bullies Kim, I feel there is limited gain in just confining ourselves to our circle, and not engaging them. Over at Skeptical Raptor, I have been sharing my views on Andy's separation from Carmel. Not surprisingly, their utter desperation to keep pilloring Andy, and being totally oblivious that such a hobby-horse might be starting to produce diminishing returns, if not negative ones, leads them to now wishing that Carmel would sellout Andy. They are actually hoping that a heartbroken Caramel will join in the beat-down and start dishing 'dirt' on Andy! Personally, I don't know Caramel, but from what I sense of her, she would spit in their faces if they were to approach her with such a proposition.
Posted by: Greg | July 21, 2018 at 09:18 AM
Does anybody remember the Russian apartment buildings that got blown up in 1999? Alexander Litvinenko (and others) say that these bombings were done by the FSB (KGB) on the orders of Vladimir Putin, who was just then orchestrating his political rise in Russia, but, alas, wasn't especially popular. The apartment bombings were blamed on Chechen terrorists, but no Chechens were involved, just FSB agents. The bombings provided the pretext for the Second Chechen War; Putin, incel chin and all, became a popular strongman leader. (Putin, not one to overlook an affront, had polonium-210 put in Litvinenko's tea which made it one spicy meatball indeed.)
I suspect that something similar is in the works here. (Doesn't it seem like the perfect time?) If so, we'll look back with longing at the time when we had the luxury of tut-tutting.
Posted by: Carol | July 21, 2018 at 07:18 AM
Great interview. Thank you for all you do.
Posted by: 4Bobby | July 20, 2018 at 09:48 PM
Just watched your Vaxxed interview for the first time, Kim...it is excellent.
Thanks to you and Polly for a great interview. Impactful for any who watch it!
Posted by: Laura Hayes | July 20, 2018 at 06:30 PM
I couldn't love this post anymore than I already do. Thank you for sharing yourself with us Kim. And I truly enjoy existing in the middle of the road.
Posted by: Becky Estepp | July 20, 2018 at 04:48 PM
To lose my husband for what ever reason would put a hole in my heart that would never be filled, and I think I would die.
Our family always seems to always fall into what every horrible trend is going on in this country - vaccine injuries, brain injuries, autism, bipolar, and opioid addiction; yeah we walked into that one too. He developed a muscle disease from a vaccine injury, we walked right into that pain clinic, and they came very, very close to killing him, He suffered broken ribs from falling, close calls on car accidents, weird thinking (going back to his childhood days when he was 15 or 16. all the way to having pneumonia several times from not breathing deep enough because of the opioids. .
Addiction is not just about the need for a drug, but it causes some very strange behavior and thinking; well it affects your mind just like - equal to- same as a mental illness. We came through the fire and was burned on that one, and I began for the first time every to experience - panic attacks. Did you know that they feel like a heart attack (stomach ache, arm hurting, jaw hurting severely) I had to fight with all the strength I had, and it took my daughter's strength as well. She may have had her own problems of vaccine injury, wrong medications, a firing from her job, but it was her that talked to me as well as the pain clinic, and made me understand what was really going on.
After some rough withdrawal, and lowering of the medicine, we realized just how much money the pharmacy was getting for those higher dose pills during our time of confusion and extreme stress. They made a killing of money off of us, and close to killing him for real as well; just like those illegal drug dealers.
No one wants to talk about it, especially if you see yourself as straight as an arrow, and always trying to do the right thing; to being nothing but a junkie and an enabler.
So, this is the type of people - the pain clinics, and pharma distribution centers, and pharmacies that are also putting out the vaccines as well.
I am sorry that people can just walk away from each other after 25 or 30 years of knowing one another; living with one another. Not judging, just life is way too hard and messed up; even for us that have worked as hard as we could all of our lives.
Posted by: Benedetta | July 20, 2018 at 03:35 PM
Agree that sums it up Kim.
Pharma For Prison
Posted by: Angus Files | July 20, 2018 at 02:13 PM
When I first heard about your divorce, Kim, it saddened me greatly. I always root for parents of children with autism, and for that matter, for all of my married friends who have typical kids, too, and I pray that they somehow find a way to stay together. I am glad, and very relieved, that you are happy post divorce, however.
I was also upset to hear about the Wakefield breakup. I wish that that were not the case, because I have the utmost respect for Carmen and all that she went through in standing by her husband through all of those very hard times. People who are strong like Carmen "don't grow on trees", so to speak. While I do wish Andy happiness, I wish, perhaps, even more happiness for Carmen.
I guess you could say that I root for the females in marital relationships.
Posted by: Not an MD | July 20, 2018 at 12:35 PM
Kim: How right you are. It is nobody's damn business how we or anyone else live our lives. I've solved the political problem in my interactions with others by losing all political beliefs and looking at reality solely through the lens of right and wrong and an understanding of human nature with all its warts. There are vast gray areas, of course, but the fundamentals I learned at my mother's knee and in Sunday School have been an excellent guide. A wonderful thing to lose partisanship; I've gained rather than lost friends. It was that slimy little Pan and that ridiculous election which started me on this journey, and AoA has been a great aid and comfort along the way. A thousand times thanks!
Posted by: Gary Ogden | July 20, 2018 at 12:18 PM
Amid all the media frenzy about Dr Andrew Wakefield's alleged new relationship with Elle Macpherson, it is important to remember the three persons at the centre of all this have all refused to comment publicly. As Kim points out, it's no one else's business.
This did not stop Carmel's brother, Finbar O'Donovan, earning himself a few bob by telling a Mail reporter how 'surprised'/ 'shocked' (depending on which report you read), Carmel was on hearing this news. Really?? This was presented as an 'exclusive scoop'. A day later a more accurate report appeared quoting Polly Tommey. I am sure Polly won't mind my repeating what she said to the Mail's hack.
'He separated from his wife a year ago, whatever anyone else says is false,' Tommey, 51, told DailyMail.com.
'It's too bad but these things happen. Why stay in a marriage when you are unhappy?
''He's portrayed as some horrible child killer but it's bulls**t – he's just a lovely guy who only wants to protect children. He deserves happiness as much as anyone.'
Amen to that.
Today's Mail coverage is all about the Wakefield & Macpherson houses, complete with both exterior shots and internal views. Elle's new $8.5million Miami pad is described as a 'lovenest'. How ridiculous!! It's just a house, albeit a very posh one. After her recent divorce Elle presumably needed somewhere else to live other than the previous matrimonial home. The Wakefield's newly built 'Tuscan style' house is now up for sale following their separation. The photo's look like they came from an estate agent's brochure. I won't bore you with the link to this stuff. Unless you are a fan of 'Homes and Gardens' type magazines, this is irrelevant to whatever point the Mail thinks it is trying to make.
Thankfully, neither the English nor Scottish print editions of the Daily Mail carried this story. The UK Sun (another Murdoch rag), was concerned Elle's celebrity might influence public opinion, although Elle has never publicly voiced any opinions on vaccines.
I think Polly Tommey has it right with that word beginning with 'B'.
Posted by: Jenny Allan | July 20, 2018 at 09:17 AM
I wonder if we are a nation of bullies or a species of bullies.
Glad you're doing well, Kim.
Posted by: Linda1 | July 20, 2018 at 09:11 AM
Kim, I absolutely agree with you that gossip is best ignored, which is why I haven't commented on this matter in recent articles, here and elsewhere. What I would like to comment on is this oft-quoted statistic (probably similar here in the UK) of 70% of divorces being initiated by women. I think people forget that, certainly in "the old days" it was the "wronged" party who could sue for divorce. So, 70% of the husbands may have left the home, committed adultery, or beaten up their wives (I'm not saying in either of the cases you mention, especially not the last in your case!) Also, I don't think you actually have to go back to using your maiden name. Sometimes I wish I had gone back to my good old Scottish name, but, who cares? Hoping things keep on getting better for you.
Posted by: Grace Green | July 20, 2018 at 09:05 AM
Hey Kim, Been there, done that and raised a child with autism to boot. Stronger after my divorce for sure. I totally get it. However, I am political and engaged completely in it. Doesn't take away from my devotion to my grandson and the autism community cause. In fact, because autism is political and those we elect and support or don't support make a difference, I am more involved in politics than ever.
I completely understand your take on the subject though. Been in this autism battle for over 18 years now. Involved in politics since my college days. For me, they are deeply intertwined.
I wish you and yours the best always. You have my understanding, and my love always. Viva Italia.
Posted by: Maurine Meleck | July 20, 2018 at 08:43 AM
Well said, Kim!
Posted by: susan welch | July 20, 2018 at 07:39 AM
"I'm sure friends have wondered why I am rather silent on the politics of social media. I certainly have opinions! I just don't see the point of tangling with friends at the risk of losing them .. one way or another."
Kim .. if there were a photo in Webster's dictionary identifying a "warrior mom" .. I would recommend it be yours. I greatly appreciate your efforts to avoid the bitter political divisions .. on numerous social and cultural issues that have so divided us as a nation .. as you say: I don't see the point of tangling with friends at the RISK OF LOSING THEM.
Amen to that. Stay strong and God Bless you and yours.
Posted by: bob moffit | July 20, 2018 at 06:25 AM