Jul 06, 2017

Sometimes when I make presentations about prevention of child sexual abuse based on my second book, I get a question about why I had decided to intervene to find a way to protect two female minors from possible sexual abuse. The following are some of the reasons as to why I had decided to intervene:

  • I felt the children were at risk
  • Charlie (the convicted sex offender in my story) had not shared his background information with the single mother
  • He denied that he had done anything wrong
  • He had violated probation twice
  • He was again violating probation guidelines
  • I did not see any signs of a reformed person
  • I became aware of some actions that looked to me like “grooming”
  • His previous crime was against a 11-year old girl, about the ages of the children I was concerned about
  • He was identified as a “predatory offender”
  • He fantacized about young girls of ages about 12-13
  • I felt “prevention” meant doing something “before” it happened
  • Maybe nothing would have happened – but I felt no one was looking after the interests of the girls – they called me “dad” – I felt the responsibility to make sure they were safe
  • It would not have been any good if I waited for something to happen first!!!

Jun 29, 2017

When I make a presentation focusing on long term psychological impact of bullying, based on my first book, I emphasize the fact that the presentation is a unique combination of a number of timely issues such as mental illness stigma, acceptance of cultural differences, bias-based bullying, and mental health impact. The presentation illustrates a definitive connection between prolonged childhood bullying, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and development of one of the more severe forms of OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) later in life.

 

The information is relatively new because until now there has not been significant documented evidence of long-lasting psychological impact of bullying. This is an extremely serious issue that often goes unnoticed and undetected during school years. School administration and staff often believe that once a student (who was a victim of bullying while in school) graduates, there is no impact any more. The purpose of this workshop is to emphasize the fact that for millions of victims of school bullying, that is not the case – in fact, many of them suffer for years because of mental health issues triggered by bullying. It is very likely that if these students had received appropriate guidance and assistance during school years the mental health impact would not have been as severe.

 

 

 

 

Jun 22, 2017

I continue to receive a lot of comments on my book about workplace bullying (How to stand up to workplace bullying and take on an unjust employer). It is clear that many individuals around the country have experienced or are experiencing significantly negative environment at their workplaces.

In the comments I received there are always a lot of discussions about the role of the Human Resources (HR) Department. Many of the comments seem to indicate that a lot of people believe that “HR will never do anything because HR is there simply to support the employer”.

I really do not agree with that comment. HR departments are typically very helpful in maintaining a positive and rewarding environment at workplaces. Of course, the department will have to be dedicated to the cause. Good HR departments realize that to truly help their employers, they will need to keep the employees satisfied and motivated. If the employees are not happy, it would mean that the HR department is not doing a good job.

In my book I talk about a story where the HR department was not doing a good job and that created a negative situation for the organization. The bottom line is that HR needs to take care of the employees for the ultimate success of the company.

 

Jun 15, 2017

On Monday June 19, 2017, I will get another opportunity to speak about the story in my book titled “Father Figure – my mission to prevent child sexual abuse”. This presentation will be at the Minnesota School Social Workers Association (MSSWA) 2017 Summer Institute in Cohasset, MN. I will have up to two hours to present on the topic “Prevention of child sexual abuse – the ethical challenges”. I am looking forward to the presentation.

It is good to see that the MSSWA is placing a lot of focus on learning more about sexual abuse. In fact just before my presentation there will be a two-hour presentation on the following topic: “Greater Minnesota’s Law Enforcement Response to Human Trafficking including Prostitution and sexual exploitation”.

It is absolutely critical for school social workers to learn about the issues involved and be prepared to assist if an opportunity arises. School social workers are constantly working with children of all ages. Children often feel more comfortable sharing things with them that they may not feel like discussing at home. If the school social workers are aware of the issues and challenges involved, they might be able to act appropriately in a preventive situation.

 

Jun 08, 2017

Here is another excerpt from my book “A Life Interrupted – the story of my battle with bullying and obsessive compulsive disorder”, a note for OCD sufferers:

This is why I especially wanted to reach out to my fellow OCDers who are struggling hard with their illness today. I want to tell you that I truly know how you are feeling and understand what you are living with on a day-to-day basis. If there was any way that I could get you to the better place where I am finally at today, please believe me that it would already be done. In spite of your ongoing hardships, I hope that my story can still provide you with hope and inspiration for your own progress in the near future. No matter how bad things may be for you right at this moment, I pray that you will never give up on yourself and your ability to someday, somehow get better. Regardless of how long you have been at the mercy of this crippling illness, please believe me when I say THERE CAN STILL BE LIFE AFTER OCD… and that your future can indeed be wonderful enough to see you through your hardships today. As long as a person remains alive, so, too, does the chance for change.

Last but not least, my dear friend, from one true OCDer to another: please think about my story in your darkest of moments and never give up on yourself.”

 

Jun 01, 2017

You know, whenever I have posted on my facebook page about my new book on how to combat workplace bullying, I am moved by the countless heartfelt responses of many who have endured or are still enduring this abuse on a daily basis.

I am however taken aback by other comments I receive sometimes from folks who in their remarks portray a total lack of compassion, maturity or understanding on this subject matter. Frequent comments of this nature often consist of statements like this: “you guys seem like a bunch of crying pussies; if you don’t like your job just quit and stop complaining!”

My reply to such feedback would be to simply state that if such a person were to read my book, he/she would quickly learn that it is all about how NOT to be weak or passive. It is NOT about crying or complaining needlessly. Rather, I explain precisely how one CAN and SHOULD assert oneself in a powerful, effective and legally appropriate manner.

As for the remarks about ‘just quitting one’s job”, why should a great employee have to concede and give up their hard earned employment and benefits when their superiors are subjecting them to daily abuse and illegal practices? Just quit your job and give up?? Well, if you don’t like your job anyway, then it makes sense to just leave this job and find another better opportunity. But if you like your job that gives you the satisfaction you need and deserve, then quitting is not the answer. I’m certainly glad I didn’t!! I stayed, I fought back effectively and even after being wrongfully terminated and enduring hardships, I took significant legal action and in the end I DID PREVAIL.

And so, too, can you. This is a true story of self-empowerment against such oppressors, which anyone can benefit from reading.

 

May 25, 2017

I use my book and presentations to continue to deliver the message that bullying during school years can lead to devastating long-term mental health impact. It is true that it does not happen to everyone who has been bullied, but it does happen to many victims of bullying. We must continue to work hard to maintain a bullying-free environment in all schools.

Even now there are folks out there who strongly support the idea that “boys will be boys” and believe that all children must learn to defend themselves no matter what. Well, every child has a personality and they are not all the same. If a child is able to ignore the bullying and/or able to defend himself or herself, that is great. But there are many others who are not able to do so, and that is not their fault. It’s important that parents and school staff understand that they must focus on the fact that the school environment needs to safe for “ALL” children, not just the ones who are able to take care of themselves.

The problem is that when a child is having trouble with a mental health disorder, it is not always visible outside. In my case, I was able to hide it for 5 years, and finally opened up when it became almost impossible to carry on with day-to-day activities. School staff must be trained to detect issues and must learn how to work with parents to help the students.

 

May 18, 2017

I have been receiving a lot of comments on my recently published book titled “How to stand up to workplace bullying and take on an unjust employer”. Interestingly, the comments cover a number of different aspects associated with bullying and harassment in the workplace.

First of all, from the comments I have received over the last few weeks since the publication of my book, it is clear that there are many people who have experienced workplace bullying and harassment, and have suffered because of it. I know that some people are able to either ignore it and move on, or just quit and get a different job. But there are many others for whom it has caused significant stress and suffering.

The comments, therefore, fall into a number of different categories:

  1. There are many who have experienced significant workplace bullying and have had to deal with a lot of stress and hostility, and finally quit their jobs to find a different job because they did not know what to do or how to handle the situation
  2. There are some who ended up with various mental health disorders and ended up unemployed
  3. There are some who were able to ignore it and were able to go on with their daily activities
  4. There are some who apparently took some aggressive steps against the employer, not always appropriate in a legal sense

The purpose of writing this book is to make the point that everyone has a right to be treated fairly in their workplace. But if they do find themselves in an undesirable situation, it is important for them to know what steps to take to defend themselves.

May 11, 2017

Around the middle of June this year, I will get an opportunity to speak about prevention of child sexual abuse at a conference of the Minnesota School Social Workers Association (MSSWA). This will of course be based on my book titled “Father figure – my mission to prevent child sexual abuse”. I am excited about this opportunity because this will be the first time I will be speaking to a group of school social workers on this topic.

This will be at the MSSWA Summer Institute program in Cohasset, MN. As per the MSSWA website the theme will be:   Trauma Informed Practices: Topics, Interventions, & Strategies That Support Today’s Youth 

My book and presentation is all about intervention and prevention. I typically focus on the following objectives:

Participants will learn how to become more effective in intervening and preventing situations that could lead to child sexual abuse, through multidisciplinary coordination.

Participants will develop a clear understanding of the kinds of changes needed in our systems to become more effective in “preventing” a possibly abusive scenario.

Attendees will also learn how to detect situations where immediate intervention is necessary and appropriate and what the associated legal issues might be.

 

May 04, 2017

After my speeches at schools around the country I often receive emails from students who are dealing with similar issues, i.e., mental health impact of bullying. I always try to provide support and guidance and at times work with the school so the child receives adequate professional help. But it is clear that many children around the country are still experiencing psychological impact from bullying.

It is also very clear that there is still a lot of stigma around someone having to deal with a mental health issue. I can relate to that very well since I had kept my own mental health issue a secret for five years. Now I encourage everyone to open up and talk about any mental health issues that they might be struggling with so they can receive proper treatment.

Children often do not open up about their mental health issues simply because they are not sure that the adults around them would be supportive and helpful. When I speak at a school setting, children get the message that I would be someone who would certainly understand what they might be going through and that’s why they reach out to me.

We need to continue our work in this area to remove this stigma all around so more and more adults will become receptive and understanding when it comes to dealing with mental health issues.

 

© 2017 - Sumi Mukherjee
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