080: Dr. Sheela Reddy – Speaking Out and #MeToo for Indian Women

Dr. Sheela Reddy is a psychologist, executive coach, and mother of two girls, who is passionate about helping women who are suffering through domestic abuse.

Growing up in India, Sheela suffered domestic abuse throughout her childhood. Her way of coping was finding people whom she could count on, people who she referred to as her other mothers. She asked for help – and received it. At an early age she recognized that she had the power to assist others who were suffering and has been using her innate gifts ever since. In this podcast she talks about her journey from India, shares her thoughts about the importance of speaking out, especially for Asian women, about resilience, and she offers resources.

Sheela came to the United States at age 19 because she was fascinated by the businesswomen that she saw while watching American television, and she was seeking a future with more possibilities.

She attended Loyola University where she earned her Masters degree in counseling. She then went on to help patients manage substance abuse issues. After several years she enrolled at Rutgers University where she earned her doctorate in multicultural counseling psychology. While at Rutgers she worked with her husband to build a business with operations in India and the U.S. While that sounds like a busy and stressful life on the surface, her challenges were compounded by being in a difficult marriage that ultimately ended in divorce.

Sheela has been Director at a domestic violence center and is now a practicing psychologist and an executive coach. In her practice, she loves working with individuals and families and is skilled at running corporate workshops in emotional intelligence and teambuilding. Alternative methods relying on mindfulness such as yoga and art – are an important part of her approach.

Part of my discussion with Sheela focuses on the #MeToo movement. More and more women are coming forward to share their stories of sexual harassment and intimidation, but Sheela and I believe that this is just a beginning. We know that there are thousands of women who are too reliant on their paychecks to speak out, and Sheela explains that, because of their culture, Asian women in particular find it very challenging to address and admit to abuse.

Sheela also discusses:

  • When bad things happen, how do you cope?
  • Making meaning out of a difficult situation
  • Becoming more resilient
  • Cultural challenges of breaking silence
  • Not saying “why me?” Instead, look for resources.

Learn more about Dr. Sheela Reddy or contact her at Minedful.com.

Resources

Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233

Hopeworks of Howard County, MD

Abused Persons Program in Montgomery County, MD

Power and Control Wheel from National Center on Domestic Violence