Update

Jan 13, 2022

In my book titled “Father Figure – my mission to prevent child sexual abuse” I have described a true story that focuses on the fact that prevention of child sexual abuse is everyone’s responsibility. Even an ordinary citizen can at times be able to do something to minimize or eliminate risks for young children.

The first point I have tried to make is that all adults should keep an eye open to detect any red flags and take some action if a red flag is detected. It is very critical because even one episode of child sexual abuse can torment the victim for a long time to come. No child deserves that.

There are some who might say that you really cannot do much if you are not a member of the family. That is the second point I have tried to make in this book. No matter who you are, there are things that can be done even if you are not a member of the family. An ordinary citizen can do things that can initiate actions on the part of systems such as child preventive services, law enforcement services, etc.

One of things I have heard people say is that trying to do something can be extremely frustrating and can consume a lot of your time. Well, that is the third point I have tried to make in my book. It is true that sometimes it can take a significant amount of time and energy to get the systems to initiate some actions. But it is worth it because you are trying to protect the life of an innocent child.

A lot of our systems are over-burdened and it can take some perseverance and persistence to get them to take some action. But eventually they will take actions because they do care about the safety of all children.

Jan 06, 2022

One of the things I talk about in my book titled “A Life Interrupted – the story of my battle with bullying and obsessive compulsive disorder” is about why bullies do what they do. I firmly believe if we can get to the bottom of this, then we can eventually eradicate bullying from our schools.

To illustrate this point I describe in detail a very interesting meeting I had when I was in the midst of receiving treatment for my severe obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). I decided to try and contact my worst bully from middle school years and see if he would be willing to meet with me so I can find out why he did the things that he did to me in middle school. Since it had been more than 10 or so years since we attended middle school, I didn’t think I would be successful in locating him.

But surprisingly I was able to locate him and he agreed to have a meeting with me. This was a most revealing encounter that made it very clear to me as to why bullies do what they do. In summary, I understood that he had many difficult issues to deal with, primarily at home, and that is what made him bitter and he acted out by bullying others. I strongly believe that if he had received appropriate help at that time to deal with his issues during the middle school years (like seeing a therapist), he most likely would not have resorted to bullying others. If we are able to provide appropriate help to children like these in a timely manner, we would likely eliminate bullying from schools.

One other important information I learned from him – that the reactions of bystanders made a huge difference. Many bystanders laughed and cheered when he was bullying others and that boosted his ego.

I try my best to encourage school staff to understand these issues so bullying in schools can be prevented and even eliminated.

Dec 30, 2021

In my recent book titled “Minority viewpoint – my experience, as a person of color, with the American Justice System” I describe a true story about a legal case to fight against defamation. One of the key areas I discuss in this book has to do with my interactions with the legal community, which includes lawyers, law firm management, as well as lawyers professional responsibility board.

Unfortunately my experience with the legal community in this situation has been rather disappointing. There are several things that were extremely surprising to me:

  • The lawyers do not seem to want to give out a reliable cost estimate. I wonder if it’s possible that they think that if the client is given a realistic cost estimate then the client may decide not to pursue the lawsuit, which would mean loss of business for the lawyers.
  • They also seem to believe that it is not possible to give a realistic estimate. I believe that it is possible to provide a range of estimate to cover possible uncertainties. That would be very helpful for a client.
  • They also do not seem to take any responsibility for a negative outcome of a case. My observation is that there is an “it is what it is” attitude or a “that’s how things work in the legal world” attitude.
  • I was also surprised to note that the law firm management was certainly not interested in hearing about complaints against a lawyer – I felt they were more interested in defending rather than truly listening and understanding the issues from a client’s point of view.
  • Finally I was disappointed in the manner in which my complaint to the board was handled. I was shocked to find out that the board did not even want to have a discussion with me to truly understand the issues before deciding not to investigate the complaints.

I believe that with a slightly different approach the legal community can be significantly more responsive to the general public.

Dec 23, 2021

There is still a lot of bullying and harassment in workplaces around the country, and this can be extremely harmful. I believe that the only way we can get rid of this mistreatment by employers is for employees to fight back in a non-violent manner. And that is why I wrote my book titled “How to stand up to workplace bullying and take on an unjust employer”.

Employers use these bullying tactics to control their employees because they believe that is the only way to get employees motivated. That may be true in a very few situations, but in overwhelming majority of cases employees do not get motivated simply because someone is yelling at them. That will only cause stress and anxiety for the employees and productivity will typically go down.

In fact employers who truly understand how to motivate employees do not need to utilize bullying and harassing methods. They understand that most employees want to do a good job. The most important things for employees are job satisfaction and a positive and rewarding work environment. Most employees are dedicated workers and feel good about an honest day’s work.

The reason I believe employees should fight back against bullying and harassment in the workplace is because that is likely the only way these employers can learn that it is important to keep employees motivated through positive tactics for overall success of the company. The employers have to learn that no employees like to be bullied and harassed, and that to keep good employees around positive methods have to be employed.

Dec 16, 2021

One of the main points I have tried to make in my book titled “Father Figure – my mission to prevent child sexual abuse”, is that all adults need to keep their eyes open to detect red flags when it comes to risks of sexual abuse of children. People at times ignore a red flag thinking that most likely nothing will actually happen. It might be true that in most cases nothing would actually happen, but you simply cannot take that chance when it comes to risks to children.

In the true account story in my book, I describe a situation where I detected a possible risk to a couple of children and acted diligently to make sure the children remained safe. I am aware that some people will argue that I just wasted my time and energy because nothing would have happened. But I did not want to take a chance because even one episode of child sexual abuse can torment the child for many years in the future.

If a red flag is detected, then it is important to inform the parents of the children so they can do something to protect the children. But sometimes, the parents may not want to take any action to look into the situation. In the story I describe in the book, I talked to the single parent about the possible risks, but the parent did not want to do anything about it. Therefore, I had to work with other family members and various systems such as law enforcement and child protective services to keep the children safe.

The point is that one simply cannot afford to ignore a red flag because this is a very serious matter and once it happens, it simply cannot be reversed.

Dec 09, 2021

A major point of emphasis in my book “A Life Interrupted – the story of my battle with bullying and obsessive compulsive disorder” is the fact most victims of bullying are likely to have to deal with mental health issues. In some cases the victims might be lucky and be able to avoid serious issues, but in many cases there can be long lasting impact. But in any case, no child should ever have to go through this.

Children deserve a positive stress-free environment when they go to school. But when they face bullying at school on a regular and consistent basis, the school becomes an extremely stressful environment. And when anyone has to deal with continuous stress on a daily basis, it is no wonder that they develop mental health issues.
That is why I have always felt that the school staff has a significant responsibility in this regard. They must take the responsibility to make sure that no child feels stressed or unsafe while at school. Just leaving it to the kids to manage their own stress of being bullied is not at all appropriate, and it typically leads to mental health issues sooner or later.

Children do not have the skills yet to be able to handle unwanted aggressive behavior and mistreatment from others. Just managing an average school day is the work they need to get used to, not trying to figure out how to stay away from unwanted aggressive mistreatment from others.

I know that many schools are taking this seriously and are putting plans and actions in place to help children in managing difficult situations like this. I am hopeful that all schools will put a very high priority on this responsibility to make sure all children find schools to be a stress-free environment.

Dec 02, 2021

The following is an excerpt from the introduction of my latest book “Minority viewpoint – my experience, as a person of color, with the American Justice System”.

Who I am is an ordinary person of color who has felt compelled to initiate legal action in two separate matters in an effort to bring about justice. The first was an employment law case in 2010-2011, which was resolved through an arbitration process facilitated by the union I belonged to. The second one detailed in this story revolves around Defamation of Character, commonly referred to as slander, occurring from 2016-2018.

In both cases, I learned a lot and suffered a lot, as the two concepts seemed to go hand in hand. Moreover, I always ended up SPENDING A LOT!!! Whether win or lose, each case left me with the realization that there was so much I wish I would have known about our legal system before I became a part of it.

It’s one thing if the person bringing a lawsuit is rich and famous with endless means. But what about ordinary people like us who have our good names dragged through the mud? How are we supposed to restore our reputations if the system is rigged against us? And what about if you are not merely an ordinary person, but you are also a person of color? How might the various parts of the justice system and related processes treat you differently than they may treat someone else who was born with the gift of white privilege??

The purpose of this book is to help the next ordinary person faced with the daunting prospect of dealing with lawyers and/or filing a lawsuit. It provides a rare inside look into lawyers, lawsuits and the justice system.

This book also focuses on the epidemic of racism all across America today. It informs ALL ethnic minorities living in the United States – particularly fellow persons of color like myself – of the dangers we can face and how we can fight back without violence. We must never accept the indignities of being treated as second class citizens, as this story so well illustrates”!

Nov 26, 2021

In my book titled “How to stand up to workplace bullying and take on an unjust employer”, I have described a true story about fighting back against bullying in the workplace.

I am aware that in numerous workplaces around the country there continues to be a lot of bullying and harassment of employees. The question is: will it ever stop? Well, my view is that it will only stop if the companies and employers realize that if they do not eliminate bullying and harassment in their workplaces, it will eventually hurt their companies.

I also believe that companies will get to that point only if the employees decide to fight back one way or another. If employees just continue to accept the mistreatment, then the employers do not see the reason to make the necessary changes.

One way to fight back is simply to quit the job and go find another employment. If most bullied employees decided not to work for these employers, then eventually they will learn to make some changes.

But a more effective approach is to fight back by continuing to remain as an employee. This approach can be more difficult and stressful for the employee, but it does have a more immediate impact on the employers.

In my book I have described steps an employee can take to be able to fight back against bullying and harassment in the workplace. I also describe organizations that are available to assist in this process. If an employee is able to put up with the stress involved in this process, then it can certainly help in minimizing bullying and harassment in the workplace.

Nov 18, 2021

My book titled “Father Figure – my mission to prevent child sexual abuse” is based on a true personal account that describes how I had to go to tremendous lengths to protect two children from the risk of falling prey to a convicted child molester and registered predatory offender in their community. It demonstrates how challenging it can be to work with our systems that are certainly not as effective in preventive actions. In my efforts to protect them from possible harm I found myself entangled in a very complicated, bizarre and difficult situation. Even in this awful predicament, which was riddled with numerous obstacles and setbacks throughout, I was able to prevail in the end. But seeing the ordeal through and being able to successfully protect these two children has been a remarkable learning experience, especially in terms of understanding how to overcome the challenges and work effectively with the legal system, the law enforcement system, the correction system, and the child protection system under tough circumstances and how to embark on such an important, positive, essential life mission based upon PREVENTION rather than reacting AFTER a child has been sexually abused.

This book is unique because it provides details on how multidisciplinary team efforts are critical to prevent a likely abusive scenario. It provides critical information on issues like:

  • Importance of background checks on individuals who might be in close contact with the children, and how to do background checks and use internet for useful, constructive purposes
  • What kinds of specific and detailed information might be available to public for a previously convicted offender
  • How does the correction system work for situations associated with a previously convicted offender
  • How can Law Enforcement be more effective in handling “preventive” situations like this
  • How can the Child Protective Services become more effective in responding to “preventive” situations like this

Nov 11, 2021

When I first started speaking at schools about bullying and mental health (which is based on my first book titled “A Life Interrupted – the story of my battle with bullying and obsessive compulsive disorder”), I was not sure how much details about mental health issues to discuss in front of students. But fairly soon I realized that it was very important to discuss mental health issues with students, especially teenagers, because there are many kids who are facing similar issues but are not comfortable in sharing with other adults. It was clear that they saw me as an average person who has been through these struggles and has been able to recover.

Following my speeches I often received emails from teenagers who shared their issues with me. Here are some excerpts from a few of those emails:

“I was bullied a lot when I was younger, mostly because of my name, or my glasses. As I got older I used to write in my notebooks, that I wanted to kill myself.”

“I struggle with depression, and my dad doesn’t want to believe that I have it. I confide in my friends, and in my closest relatives for help. I’ve tried suicide a couple of times, and I self-harm.”

“I have a weird kind of ocd. It’s hard to explain but pretty much in the day I’m completely fine but in the night, I kind of have a time to think. And what I think about is “what if someone comes in here right now and stabs me” or other things like that.”

“I was bullied really bad in school too, and I actually thought there for a while suicide was the answer.”

“I passed what you said to me to one of my friends it helped her she quit self-harm.”

In almost all cases I tried my best to contact the school staff to encourage them to talk to the kids and find help for them if needed. It turned out that in many cases I was able to get the kids to understand that it is okay to talk openly about mental health issues and get the help they need.

© 2017 - Sumi Mukherjee
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