Update

Dec 01, 2022

Why do some employers bully their employees? There could be various reasons:

• Some of them might believe that that is the only way to motivate employees
• Some might believe that because they are paying the employees’ salaries, they have full right to treat them as they please
• They feel like they might be losing their positions if they do not maintain strict control on their employees
• Some may simply have some personal issues that they do not know how to take care of. They decide to take it out on their employees to make themselves feel better
• Some may be concerned that if they don’t maintain strong control the employees might revolt against them

There may be many other reasons for employers to act in this negative manner. But their actions are misguided no matter what the reason is. The problem is likely to be more prominent in smaller companies. Most larger organizations now have well trained Human Resource Professionals who are very well informed about bullying in the workplace and are able to put in processes and procedures to minimize behaviors of this nature. However, in smaller companies this can be a real issue. Many smaller companies don’t even have a Human Resources professional, or they have someone who is not well trained in all aspects of employment issues. In the true account story in my book “How to stand up to workplace bullying and take on an unjust employer” I had to deal with an HR Director who simply was not well trained in dealing with issues of this nature. Without a trained HR professional, this can become a much more difficult problem.

Nov 25, 2022

One of the comments I made in my book “Father Figure – my mission to prevent child sexual abuse” is that I was totally surprised with what I felt was lack of support from Law Enforcement. Here is an excerpt from my book about this issue:

“Perhaps the greatest mystery remaining from Father Figure, and the leading cause of our setbacks in this story, is the confusing reactions that we received from Law Enforcement. I can never forget how helpless I felt when we were apparently let down by the cops.

To this day, I remain utterly confused over what actually happened behind the scenes with law enforcement. From the outside looking in, it seemed as though they were plagued with discrepancies over how they should deal with the situation.

To law enforcement officers reading this, I request that you please use this most unique story as a case study for similar situations in the future and encourage your units to support more training in handling cases of Child Sexual Abuse. In a similar predicament concerning a sex offender, I certainly hope that law enforcement will err on the side of caution and choose to protect the kids. I also hope that a citizen will not feel threatened by law enforcement when he/she is reporting a good faith concern.Regardless of what rules or regulations were in place at the time, there was no justification that we could see for the local police to threaten my friend like they did. We believe that we had approached law enforcement with a very good faith concern, and nothing that we did had warranted such an aggressive response. In general we felt there was a lack of swift and appropriate response to the reported threat.

I have always had the highest regard for the law enforcement profession. However, I must admit that for many months after this situation, I had a very negative feeling toward police officers in general. Every time I saw a cop car drive by, I had a bitter taste in my mouth. Over time, I have worked with myself to instead focus on all the great officers who dedicate their lives to serve and protect us each day. Law enforcement is still one of the most honorable professions.

To all officers reading this story, please continue to restore my faith. Please use this story to do your best to look out for those children at risk.”

Nov 17, 2022

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.

Nov 11, 2022

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 03, 2022

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

Oct 27, 2022

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
  • 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. It takes a lot of courage to stand up for your rights

Oct 20, 2022

I always try to emphasize the message that if you see anything that could possibly lead to abuse, then 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 have found that many people agree 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 are others who might think that “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 13, 2022

When I speak to a group of employees about responding to bullying and harassment in the workplace, I try to make sure they are aware of the following guidelines:

  • Read your employee handbook thoroughly
  • Talk to HR about processes and procedures – about issues such as performance evaluation, harassment reporting, etc
  • Thorough review and understanding of union’s rules, regulations and processes
  • Learn about your state’s process for evaluating human rights violations
  • Be mindful of what topics should be discussed at the workplace
  • Follow union and HR processes if there is harassment
  • Document everything about incidents, witnesses, HR response, etc. Keep in mind that most eyewitnesses will not come forward
  • Do not tell anyone if you are considering taking legal action
  • Be careful of emails, text messages, etc sent in connection with the situation
  • Be prepared for a long battle – everything seems to take a lot of time

Oct 06, 2022

I had once put in the following post on my facebook page:

In my presentations about prevention of child sexual abuse I try to make the point that all ordinary citizens should keep their eyes and ears open to make sure they do not miss an opportunity to protect one or more vulnerable children from possible sexual abuse. In my story I was an ordinary citizen and I am proud to say that I was able to make a difference in the lives of a couple of young girls”.

I was very pleasantly surprised with the number of positive responses and comments I had received on this posting. Generally when I speak to people about this, I often receive discouraging comments – the typical response has to do with the fact that many people believe that their efforts will not amount to much because our systems do not seem to place priority on prevention. I do understand this line of thinking, but I continue to promote the message that any amount of effort is worth it when it comes to preventing sexual abuse of children.

That is why it was really encouraging to see a number of positive and supportive messages on my facebook page in response to my posting. It seems that there are many around the country who do try their best to keep an eye on children around them to make sure they are not risk of abuse.

Sep 30, 2022

Here is an excerpt from my book “A Life Interrupted – the story of my battle with bullying and obsessive compulsive disorder” regarding some of my thoughts about my residential treatment at the Rogers Memorial Hospital:

“While the staff at Rogers is very educated, helpful, supportive, and encouraging, do not rely on their efforts alone to “program” you. In spite of how talented they are, the staff cannot do the job for you or make your program succeed. Ultimately, your success in the program at Rogers will involve you finally having to face your toughest fears and embrace the same old awful discomfort you have put so much of your time and energy into avoiding at all costs. In my case, I went to Rogers fully believing that I would be taught some great, almost magical method which I could use to defeat my illness, and that I would be pampered by the staff after all of my difficult years. In reality, you will continue to use the same skills you learn at Rogers on your own in your personal home environment long after you’ve been discharged. Do not rely on staff to coddle, protect, or enable you to continue to avoid facing your fears as other people in your life may have done in the past. There is no magical secret to the program or any easier, shortcut method to defeat OCD besides facing those same old ugly fears you’ve avoided now for ages. However, Rogers will provide you the unique opportunity to do so by following their proven approach, which will likely be a new experience for you. Do not feel intimidated or overwhelmed by this prospect when entering Rogers, but also remind yourself that this will require hard work on your behalf and a willingness to step outside of your usual comfort zone and face anxiety.

Cooperating with the resident psychiatrist and being open to possible changes in your medication regimen can provide immeasurable assistance in your battle with OCD. No one at Rogers can or will force you to do something you are not comfortable with. However, you must also remain willing to step outside of your usual comfort zone and at least try something different as recommended by the resident psychiatrist during your stay”.

© 2017 - Sumi Mukherjee
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