Dec 14, 2017

I continue speaking around the country about prevention of bullying and child abuse primarily because I have come to realize that stories like mine can be very inspiring to children who are currently being abused. What also inspire me greatly are the comments I continue to receive from children around the country who attend my presentations. Here are a few examples:

I just wanted to say that your story was incredibly inspiring. I think a lot of kids in our school needed to hear everything you said.”

“I was bullied a lot when I was younger, mostly because of my name, or my glasses. I want to thank you for giving me inspiration, and putting something that was tragic, to good use.”’

“I just wanted to say that your speech was extremely inspiring. I have had sort of a traumatizing life, so this made a HUGE impact on me.”

Hearing your story has helped me out a lot, I was bullied really bad in school too, and I actually thought there for a while suicide was the answer. You are really an inspiration.”

“I was the one that talked to you about the kids calling me n word and a teacher is doing nothing about it. Thank you for your advice and help.” 

I just wanted to say thank you. Also I passed what you said to me to one of my friends it helped her she quit self-harm! It made me happy and I hope I can do what you do later in my life I’m thinking about going to school to be a therapist.”

 

Comments like these keep me going – I only hope that I can continue to make a difference.

Dec 07, 2017

The true account story in my book “How to stand up to workplace bullying and take on an unjust employer” is important because it addresses a number of different issues, processes and procedures that many employees are not aware of. Here is a list of items discussed in my book:

    • It talks about feeling empowered to challenge the intricate system that creates and encourages workplace bullying and harassment
    • It focuses on protecting a person’s basic rights to perform his/her job duties
    • It describes options for those interested in taking action but do not know where to begin
    • There are many individuals who are not aware of their rights in situations of this nature
    • There are many people who are facing unemployment hearing, but do not know how to prepare adequately to defend their positions
    • It focuses on how to stand up to workplace bullying in a legally appropriate manner
    • It provides information on seeking and receiving legal help to respond to workplace bullying, harassment and discrimination
    • It describes interactions with government organizations that have been established to assist with negative workplace situations
    • Unions can have a significant role in working with employees and employers in situations like this

Nov 30, 2017

What happened in the true story in my book “Father Figure – my mission to prevent child sexual abuse” can and does happen more frequently than people realize, and more frequently than any of us would further wish to acknowledge. In this day and age, with technology such as iPhones; the Internet; and Facebook, it is easier than before to take precautions and advocate safety on behalf of the children who we feel are at risk. I implore and challenge everyone reading this to take a moment today to reexamine whether there is a vulnerable child in your community who could possibly benefit from your help and involvement. If so, please find the courage and creativity to try and assist that child, of course with proper attention to the legal system and the laws of our society.

Even when the situation repeatedly felt hopeless in Father Figure, I continued to brainstorm, to think outside the box, and to look for new lawful ways to remain effective. In other words, I simply refused to give up. As a society, our children are our most valuable resources and are quite literally our future. Each one deserves the right to grow up feeling safe and respected, and to grow up in an environment free of all forms of abuse. As the adults, it is our responsibility and obligation to give each precious child that full opportunity. To all ordinary citizens reading this, I hope you will agree, based on the results in this story.

 

Nov 24, 2017

I am looking forward to my nest presentation at the National Interfaith Anti-Bullying Summit in Washington, DC, on Saturday Dec 2. I will be speaking about long term impact of bias-based bullying based on my first book titled “A Life Interrupted – the story of my battle with bullying and obsessive compulsive disorder”. The summit is organized by the American Muslim health Professionals organization. Here is an excerpt from their website”

“American Muslim Health Professionals (AMHP) is pleased to host a National Interfaith Anti–Bullying Summit at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C. This Summit is a collaborative effort between AMHP and various faith partners including the National Baptist Convention, Islamic Networks Group, the Hindu American Foundation, the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom and Sikh Kid 2 Kid. Teasing, harassment, and bullying based on real or perceived religious differences have become an increasingly prevalent problem on school campuses. According to surveys, while one quarter of students overall say they have been bullied at school, half of Muslim students, for example, report having been bullied or harassed. Most often, these incidents are triggered by misperceptions about the religious beliefs of targeted populations. AMHP and its partners aim to increase awareness of religious-based bullying in schools, exploring causes, prevention, and possible remedies. The primary objective of the Summit, therefore, is to share research and best practices about an increasingly serious problem facing youth of various religious backgrounds. To the best of our knowledge, such an anti–bullying interfaith summit has yet to occur. At this time of heightened fear and discrimination, such an event and the efforts that follow from it are of critical importance”.

Nov 15, 2017

I wrote my book on workplace bullying and harassment because of the following reasons:

    • Bullying and harassment in one form or another exists at numerous places of employment in our country
    • Some people are able to accept the situation and move on anyway, but there are many who are not able to do so, and it is not their fault.
    • Many are facing day-to-day oppressive atmosphere in their workplaces but do not feel empowered to do anything about it.
    • For many individuals around the country personal life is being affected significantly because of a very negative work situation, causing anxiety, depression and other associated mental health disorders
    • There are many who are facing one or more different forms of discrimination, but do not feel comfortable in standing up against it
    • There are employees around the country who are facing undeserved consequences for doing the right thing at work, but are feeling helpless in fighting back
    • Dedicated workers not willing to report unjust activities at work (whistle blowing) because of fear of negative consequences
    • Many individuals are having to deal with wrongful termination

Nov 08. 2017

Whenever I speak at a conference of school counselors or school social workers about prevention of child sexual abuse, I try to make the point that they can have a significant role in prevention of child sexual abuse because:

    • Most children often do not like to discuss concerns and/or incidents of abuse because they don’t believe that they will be taken seriously
    • Most abusers are typically members or close friends of the family, and therefore, children do not feel safe discussing this at home or with a family member
    • School Counselors or School Social Workers can be in regular contact with children, and are often viewed by children as trusted adults outside the home/family
    • All school counselors and social workers are generally mandated reporters – and therefore, concerns and/or incidents of abuse will typically reach the appropriate authorities
    • School Counselors and Social Workers are professionally trained individuals who are able to discuss topics of this nature appropriately with children or are able to refer them to appropriate professionals
    • Many of our systems are more likely to respond to a concern brought in by a school counselor or a school social worker rather than an ordinary citizen

Nov 02, 2017

I am looking forward to three important presentations during the month of November 2017. All of these presentations will be based on my first book titled “A Life Interrupted – the story of my battle with bullying and obsessive compulsive disorder”.

The first presentation is scheduled on Friday Nov 3 at the MN HOSA (Health Occupations Students of America) Fall Conference in Minneapolis, MN.

Here is an excerpt from MN HOSA’s website:

“Health Occupations Students of America is a National Career and Technical Student Organization (CTSO) endorsed by the Department of Education and the Health Occupations Education Division of the Association of Career and Technical Education. HOSA’s mission is to enhance the delivery of compassionate, quality health care by providing opportunities for knowledge, skills, and leadership development of all health occupations education students, therefore helping the student to meet the needs of the health care community”.

My presentation at this conference will be on the topic of “PTSD and OCD from bullying”

My second presentation is scheduled on Friday Nov 10 at the annual conference of FMFWV (Family Medicine Foundation of West Virginia) in Huntington, WV. The topic of my presentation will be “Impact of bullying on mental health – primary care concerns”.

My third presentation will be on Friday Nov 17 at Binghamton University in Binghamton, NY, organized by the Indian International Student Union. My topic there will be “Long term psychological impact of bias-based bullying”

Oct 26, 2017

When I make presentations about workplace bullying, I typically make the following comments as my final thoughts:

  • The purpose of my presentation is not to tell anyone what to do or what not to do
  • Employees have options:
    • Tolerate mistreatment and move on
    • Quit the job and find another
    • Take some action
  • I cannot tolerate bullying and harassment and I truly liked my job – so I took action
  • When I post on my Facebook page on this topic, I typically receive a lot of comments, which do indicate that this is quite a relevant topic
  • Most comments are supportive – it is clear to me that many individuals around the country have suffered and are suffering from this issue
  • But there also some negative comments
  • The negative comments typically fall into these categories:
    • An employee is weak if he/she complains
    • If you can’t handle it, quit your job
    • Take illegal measures such as physical violence
  • Of course, I do not support any of these views
  • They don’t understand that at times it takes a lot of courage to stand up for your rights

Oct 19, 2017

I recently posted the following comment on my facebook page:

“I try to emphasize the message that if you see anything that could possibly lead to abuse, try to do something about it. Even if it eventually turns out to be a false alarm, it is worth it to check things out to be sure. It is okay to have a few false alarms when it comes to protecting our children”.

I received a lot of interesting comments. Many people agreed with the idea that it is important to keep an eye on the folks the children are associating with to watch for any red flags. If you see any red flags, then look into the situation further to make sure the children are not at risk.

However, there were several people who thought “keeping an eye” meant putting someone in prison for no reasons. Watching for red flags does not mean you are putting someone in prison. Watching out for red flags simply means watching out for situations that could be risky for children. If you do believe that the children might be at risk, then one of the first things to do will be a background check of the person you are concerned about. By doing some research you can often find out a lot of things that will tell you how concerned you should be. In my story in the book “Father Figure – my mission to prevent child sexual abuse”, I had concerns about the person my single mother friend was dating and once I did a background check and some more research, I found out a lot of concerning things about that person. I was not able to get the Child Protective Services and Law Enforcement to take any action – but I was able to get other family members involved who were able to take appropriate actions to keep the children safe. Nobody was sent to prison or anything like that – just some appropriate protection orders were put in place to keep the children safe.

Oct 12, 2017

I am looking forward to my presentation today at the 50th Midwest School Social Work conference in Cleveland, Ohio. I will be speaking on the following topic “A Life Interrupted – Bullying and OCD”.

Here is the announcement from their website:

“The Ohio School Social Work Association (OSSWA) and the Midwest School Social Work Council are excited to bring the 50th Annual Midwest School Social Work Conference: “From Punishment to Progress: Breaking barriers to academic and behavioral success” to Cleveland, Ohio!”

I am excited to have another opportunity to speak to school social workers on this topic. Bullying continues to be a key issue for many schools across the country. And I have learnt through my presentations around the country that mental health issues are also quite prevalent among school children. School social workers have a key role in working with parents to help many children receive appropriate treatment at an early age so they are able to tackle their difficult issues. I am therefore looking forward to another interesting presentation and discussions.

© 2017 - Sumi Mukherjee
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