Many whisteblowers attended the premiere of When we Speak. Afterwards we asked some of them what they thought of the film. Here are their responses
What chimed with you most in the ‘When we Speak’ documentary? Why?
CP: The universality of the abuse, harassment, and detriment imposed on those who have the rare courage to stand up to organisational illegality and wrongdoing.
SR: I just felt the urge to speak up. I watched the film and within 10 minutes of watching, I related to it. It made me want to speak out about my own experience and wish I could talk about my own experience to the masses.
PT: I did not feature in the film but I was stunned that in so many ways the film told my story. And judging from the overwhelming reaction of the audience it resonated with many others too. The film provided me with an important and independent affirmation, that what had happened to me was not about ‘just me’ and, that taking a stand had been absolutely the right thing to do. Colleagues, friends and my family had already told me so but these stories of strangers made a particular impact; it made me realise that I was not on my own.
What does whistleblowing mean to you?
CP: In one phrase: right doing in the face of wrongdoing.
SR: It means to me, doing the right thing. You never ever believe you would be penalised for doing so, but when you look into how deep some of these cooperations and companies go to cover up the wrong doing, then you begin to realise what you are into.
I am about justice and what’s right is right and what’s wrong is wrong.
Why did you get involved with Protect?
CP: I was the whistleblower of the illegality in a major national organisation, and raised concerns with Protect immediately I discovered the law breaking.
SR: Protect are the number one organisation for whistleblowers, so it was imperative to speak to them about my case. I was also impressed that Protect attend employment tribunal cases.
PT: I came across Protect when searching for support on the internet. I found an organisation which immediately recognised my situation. It gave me the assurance that my experiences were regrettably not unique and spent hours of its time listening with interest and giving me practical support and advice.
What was the biggest challenge you faced when blowing the whistle?
CP: Dealing with being ignored, sidelined, excluded, the gaslighting, the double binds, the horrible choice between discharging my legal duties and having my career ended (as happens to almost all WBs), the bullying, the harassment, the false accusations, the defamation.
SR: The biggest challenge I faced as a whistleblower was the backlash received from the very companies who promoted speaking out if wrongdoing was noticed.
My wife was pregant at the time with our second child, so when I was fired and banned from the site the very next day after raising my concerns, I had no choice but to fight. You never believe that it will go down a legal route and get ugly but it does. You just have to keep fighting.
Who supported you when you blew the whistle?
CP: The African adage: it takes a village to raise a child applies. WBs have nearly every aspect of their lives destroyed, and need all sorts of support to just stay sane, let alone recover.
SR: My wife, she has been a rock.
What key piece of advice would you give a whistleblower?
CP: “All that takes for evil to prosper is that good people say, and do nothing”.
SR: Just do it, if you spot wrongdoing, just blow the whistle, dont keep quiet in fear.
Where do you see the key challenges for whistleblowing in the future?
CP: Unless the law is changed and WBs are protected, properly protected, then the massive fraud and corruption right across the UK and the world will continue.
SR: Sadly, I see it getting worse for whistleblowers. Companies will do everything to cover up and with that comes a massive price to pay for the whistleblower. The government needs to do more to protect them.
Why did you decide to blow the whistle?
CP: I was an office holder in the organisation concerned and was faced with a choice: knowingly break multiple laws, by saying nothing, or face being destroyed by those who were breaking the law.
SR: I had to, I had no choice, I was already onto what they were doing so was a marked man anyway. My letter of disclosure was the right thing to do.