25th November is observed as International Day for Elimination of Violence against Women, and for a society like ours it is an important issue to address.
As a mental health professional providing psychological help, I find that though there is pronounced violence against women in India. A culture of silence exists.
Often women come to see me with complaints of unhappy marriage, chronic depression and intense anxiety and only in the course of intensive therapy they share that they have suffered massive violence. Quite a few of them initially feel that it is not a big deal.
This is so because our culture idealizes women who tolerate suffering. Since early childhood they are encouraged to sacrifice their needs and desires and be subservient to men and elderly women. As our work progresses they realize that there is immense pain and helpless rage associated with having suffered violence. These suppressed feelings lead to multiple psychological and medical problems. They also recognize that their inability to take a stand against violence perpetuates further violence.
Violence against women in India is both explicit and implicit and includes following:
Effects of Violence:
Healing the effects of violence is not easy. It is often an uncomfortable and yet necessary journey. All the negative emotions associated with the traumatic experience need to be acknowledged, experienced and worked upon often with a psychologist or trained mental health professional. Running away from these feelings, denying or minimizing leads to long-term adverse consequences. Most importantly, the inability to take a stand against violence needs to be understood and worked through.
Author: Pulkit Sharma is Clinical Psychologist at Vidyasagar Institute of Mental Health & Neurosciences (VIMHANS), New Delhi.
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