The purpose of this research was to understand the outcomes of people who had to become a whistleblower at some point in their lives and to understand the motivations and intentions of people who make the brave choice to blow the whistle. This project only focuses on people who have been whistleblowers. Although I did seek to incorporate people who are against whistleblowing, as it is often viewed as snitching. For candidates who refused the interview to specifically avoid any association with being a snitch, I could only speculate about possible reasons why others would not blow the whistle. Some articles about past whistleblowers were analyzed, and email interviews were conducted to understand what hardships whistleblowers endure as a result of their actions. From the conclusions made in this study, I can anticipate the obstacles that lie
ahead in my mission expose House of Prayer's leader, Rony Denis, who has striking similarities to the late Jim Jones and his cult, the People’s Temple. Maybe we can also understand the struggles and be more supportive of whistleblowers who stand up for the truth, despite sometimes standing alone. Even in the most severe tribulations of past whistleblowers, whether they were dead or alive and tormented, I needed to know their story.
What Is a Whistleblower?
Some of the most detailed explanations that define exactly what a whistleblower is, provides a broad-spectrum understanding at best. The National Whistleblower Center offers a brief statement, which reads, “On the simplest level, a whistleblower is someone who reports waste, fraud, abuse, corruption, or dangers to public health and safety to someone who is in the position to rectify the wrongdoing” (The National Whistleblower Center 1997-2020). The legal definition of a whistleblower is not strictly limited to employees of the reported organization but also embodies individuals outside of the organization, who report known corruption, abuse, and fraud that serves the interest of public safety.
Due to the life-changing devastation that many whistleblowers have experienced as a result of retaliation against them, several laws have been established to provide some protection to whistleblowers, which include, but are not limited to the False Claims Act, the Dodd-Frank Act, the IRS Whistleblower Law, and Wildlife Whistleblower Laws. Given this definition, I have launched a mission to learn what happens to whistleblowers after they blow the whistle, to learn what motivates an individual to blow the whistle and to understand why someone would choose to blow the whistle amid so much responding turmoil.
The False Claims Act is the first and one of the most powerful laws established in the United States for the protection of whistleblowers. By this law, whistleblowers who offer substantial evidence that leads to a successful prosecution and the recovery of government funds are monetarily compensated for their confidential disclosures (The National Whistleblower Center 1997-2020). The regulations of the Dodd-Frank Act are simply laws that serve to protect the Wall Street whistleblowers, while the IRS Whistleblower Laws and Wildlife Whistleblower Laws serve to protect the whistleblowers in each of these respective disclosures.
While these laws are designed to offer protection to whistleblowers, they are limited in their failure to address the perpetual harassment that flies below the radar of reportable offenses related to acts of retaliation on whistleblowers. To call this relentless harassment an annoyance, has been the gross understatements of responding law enforcement agencies. The torment of such trivial harassment tactics has led many of its victims to the outermost borders of insanity with truly little hope of some return to a normal life.
(Photo credit: lawyersandsettlements.com)
At the start of my study on whistleblowers, I sought to answer the question; what happens to whistleblowers after they blow the whistle? My reasons for seeking the answer to this question were to understand the adversities that whistleblowers faced as a direct result of their efforts to expose corruption. Perhaps, these sought-out answers would serve to ease some of the anxiety that brought obsessive questions to my mind about what dangers I may be up against after exposing the corrupt operations and abusive practices of House of Prayer Christian Churches of America, that has targeted soldiers, veterans, and military families. As a Christian and retired, disabled veteran myself, I would be remiss to stand idly in silence with the knowledge that not only my life-long military comrades are being abused and exploited, but that human beings are being oppressed by fear, extreme control, and manipulation with the perception that their bondage has no foreseeable end. There was never any question in my mind about whether I should blow the whistle or not, but simply what I can do to counteract the inevitable turmoil that lies ahead.
The "Bystander Effect" Theory
“The term “bystander effect” refers to the phenomenon in which the greater the number of people present, the less likely people are to help a person in distress. When an emergency situation occurs, observers are more likely to take action if there are few or no other witnesses” (Cherry 2020). Even worse, in recent days, so many bystanders stare as if their eyes were fixed on a movie while someone desperately needs help.
What Would You Do?
To briefly recap my thesis, “My purpose in developing this research topic was to initiate a mission to learn what happens to whistleblowers after they blow the whistle, to learn what motivates an individual to blow the whistle, and to understand why someone would choose to blow the whistle amid so much responding turmoil?” During my research, the key takeaway for me was the refreshing candor and unwavering integrity of all sources despite the devastating adversity that these whistleblowers faced. Even in visiting the idea of “the bystander effect,” in The Whistleblower’s Burden presentation, as a cause that would motivate someone to blow the whistle in a desperate attempt to end the suffering and injustice of the people on the receiving end of corruption; we find solace in those individuals who cannot watch such suffering as they record the atrocity with their phones. The best way to honor the powerful testimonies of all the sources visited in this research project and to recognize the brave whistleblowers around the world is to pay homage and remember their stories. If you have ever found yourself symbolically being victimized by the bullies of this world while everyone recorded your suffering on their phones for the world to see, remember that bloody-nosed kid sitting next to you, who suffered a punch for his choice to go get help.