Beyond Borders to End Abuse
U.S. author, Gregg Tyler Milligan shares his experience and opens up dialogue during a collaborative workshop in Bangkok, Thailand
On April 30th, 2013 in Bangkok Thailand, international author and abuse advocate Gregg Tyler Milligan had the wonderful opportunity of lecturing as part of a professional workshop in collaboration with Thammasat University’s Faculty of Social Administration, in conjunction with the Social Work Association of Thailand.
The workshop was held from 9:30am – 4:00pm and was the first of its kind where an American author was invited to participate in such an initiative. The invitation to lecture was extended to Mr. Milligan as a result of his most recent book God Must Be Sleeping and his extensive international abuse prevention advocacy.
The workshop itself proved Globalization is possible as it pertains to abuse prevention and treatment. The workshop also showed Thammasat University as an educational leader in the international collaboration to raise awareness about the issue of abuse. As part of the workshop, Milligan donated 20 copies of his book, God Must Be Sleeping, and personally signed copies for faculty, practitioners, students, and audience members.
The ground-breaking workshop began with a full presentation to a large group of academic leaders, practitioners and graduate students within the areas of social work administration, including field work, healthcare, child protection and also the general public.
The workshop also featured introductions from Thammasat University’s Dean of Faculty of Social Administration and the President of the Social Work Association of Thailand, with recognition of Mr. Milligan’s efforts in the area of abuse prevention and advocacy.
Mr. Milligan was featured as the keynote presenter in both the Morning and Afternoon Session, where he was able to offer attendees personal and professional insights into his experiences, tying them together with the workshop’s goal to assess improvements to current programs as well as possible development of new offerings. Throughout both the morning and afternoon sessions, Mr. Milligan applied empirical research data to further emphasize the correlative aspects of abuse within economics, healthcare, psychology, criminal justice, and social reformation.
The workshop itself was a keystone event of Mr. Milligan’s international book tour, which commenced in April at the prestigious Thammasat University in Thailand. Mr. Milligan stated it ‘was a sincere honor to be a part of the necessary and crucial workshop.’
“I found the faculty, practitioners, students, and general public to be extremely gracious, and our collaboration proved to be a great success,” said Mr. Milligan.
The following organizations, divisions of the university, and individuals were part of the workshop:
The President of the Social Work Association of Thailand; The Dean of Faculty of Social Administration; Khun Nantaporn, Lecturer with Thammasat University (who generously served as Mr. Milligan’s translator during this workshop); Khun Lek, Associate Dean for Planning and Development with Thammasat University; and many more faculty members, students, police and social work professionals.
FORMING A "CLEAR PICTURE"
Mr. Milligan began the morning session with the theme of How We Are All Connected. Mr. Milligan shared his personal story and reason for advocating – specifically, describing how he has come to know we are all part of the same collective. Mr. Milligan stated the combined presence of those at the workshop “…fuels the fire against so much injustice and pain.”
“We can help those who suffer so they can have a good life. No matter what may have been done to them. And one day, they too may give back to others,” Mr. Milligan said.
Mr. Milligan structured his presentation by relating his personal experiences to empirical research. He particularly emphasized the following points: (1) The incredible power those in this field of work have – combining both intellect and compassion to formulate a foundation of wisdom (2) The power of respect for oneself and others, highlighting education as a source of redemption, using his own example to illustrate.
Mr. Milligan then formed a clear picture of the steps that can be taken to move abuse prevention and treatment forward. His insight from a personal history of abuse combined with definitive research proved invaluable to the workshop attendees. Mr. Milligan vividly depicted the journey he took from where he began to where he is today. He underscored the importance of perseverance through positive reinforcement, outlined with specific supporting points.
Mr. Milligan took great care to walk the audience through detailed steps that defined how, in their role(s), they can and will succeed. He specifically tied the actions of his audience members to the impact they have on the world.
STARTING A DIALOGUE
The morning session ended with Q & A. Many of the questions were regarding Mr. Milligan’s own personal experiences, which he answered with immense honesty. He utilized the example of his own life as being a real-world result achieved when the personal and professional pathways presented during the workshop are put into action.
At the end of the Morning Session, the group took a break for lunch.
Part 2: Afternoon
OPEN DISCUSSION PLUS Q&A
During the afternoon session the workshop was divided into two distinct groups of practitioners. While the practitioners discussed the content that Mr. Milligan covered in the morning session, Mr. Milligan answered specific questions emailed earlier to Khun Nantaporn from students attending the workshop. Khun Nantaporn then transcribed Mr. Milligan’s responses.
After the breakout discussion was complete, the answers Mr. Milligan provided to Khun Nantaporn were shared with the audience. The audience then asked Mr. Milligan additional questions pertaining to his personal/professional experience and empirical research.
THE HEART OF THE DISCUSSION
The dialogue between Mr. Milligan and the audience lasted approximately two hours and covered the following topics:
Personal experiences (mainly from Mr. Milligan’s book God Must Be Sleeping)
Strides made in collaborative efforts between countries
The issue of abuse as it has slowly been accepted as an International Crisis
Mr. Milligan introduced three distinct discussion points: (1) The child advocacy center model with all necessary organizations working together in a multidimensional approach (2) The view of abuse as a disease when its characteristics are compared to other diseases such as cancer (3) International social reform which accounts for ethnic, sociocultural and economic considerations in the formulation of approaches toward abuse prevention and treatment.
Using a backdrop of his personal experience and a wide array of White Papers written after conducting empirical research on the topic of abuse, Mr. Milligan also discussed the economic impact abuse has on countries all over the world, focusing on the overall costs to society stemming from abuse.
Mr. Milligan incorporated perspectives of his professional and personal life while fielding questions, sharing fact-based recommendations, and outlining innovative ideas.
Mr. Milligan discussed facts, central to the globalization theme, related to the societal costs of abuse. These facts underpinned Mr. Milligan’s recommendation for global attention to the issue of abuse in an approach of “Thinking locally and acting globally.”
FRAMEWORK FOR APPLYING KNOWLEDGE
Mr. Milligan then presented a framework to incorporate an international approach to social work, with specific insights into recommended focus areas to achieve a sustainable method and positive impact when addressing the issue of abuse, its treatment and prevention.
Mr. Milligan concluded the Q&A by reiterating the impact the practitioners [and each human being] has on the world with the statement,
“For even in the darkest of moments . . . Hope lives and remains a powerful force . . . That hope is YOU.”