Women’s safety is a very deep topic. All over the world, we listen to much news about violence against women at workplaces, schools, universities, and all possible places. The problem, which persists despite technology advances, is that while women are becoming more independent and able to work, these crimes make it more difficult for them to be who they truly are because they are constantly worried about their safety. These crimes not only make the woman to feel unsafe at places, but also can also affect their mental health which in turn hurts them both physically and mentally.
Crimes against women and Gender inequality:
The crimes against women are a part of the gender inequality which has evolved. It traces down with social, cultural, as well as economic structures, which results in unequal authoritative relations amongst men and women. In simple words, violence is a manifestation of gender equality and a medium for maintaining the imbalance in power (Islahi & Ahmad, 2015).
As per the Executive Director of UN (United Nations) Women, Michelle Bachelet, violence is leaving no country, no community untouched. It is a silent pandemic. Violence against women has become a major public health priority, as said by the International Women’s Movement (Riecher-Rössler & García-Moreno, 2013).
According to Norman Sartorius, a member from WHO (World Health Organization), focused on the concern that the violence against women has a risk factor for the mental health of that individual. The book is divided into these two parts “Violence against Women Worldwide” and the “Specific Aspects of Violence,” which determines and understands the effect of violence against women on the health of the women overall and also on aspects like the working capacity, family relationships, and traumatic experiences from several forms (Riecher-Rössler & García-Moreno, 2013).
WHO’s Report on Women’s Mental Health:
As per the reports collected in the year 2001, depressive disorders amongst women are around 41.9%, whereas in men it is 29.3% as neuropsychiatric disorder. The three main mental health conditions seen in senior people are depression, dementias, and organic brain disorders, with a higher prevalence in women (Malhotra & Shah, 2015).
Almost 80% of the 50 million people are women and children who are suffering from violent conflicts, disasters, civil wars, and displacement. Also, violence against women has a lifetime prevalence rate which ranges from 16% to 50%. And approximately one in five women experiences rape or attempted rape in course of their life (Malhotra & Shah, 2015).
Violence against women in India:
According to a 2011 report in India Today, India was the fourth-most dangerous and unsafe country in the world for women. According to a poll conducted by the Thomson Reuters Foundation, India ranked for female feticide, infanticide, and human trafficking. According to six primary areas of dangers, including health and sexual assault, nonsexual violence, detrimental customs rooted in culture, religion, or traditions, restricted access to financial resources, and human trafficking, the poll assigned rankings to a number of nations. Even though the nations were rated according to particular forms of violence, Islahi & Ahmad (2015) noted a number of other crimes against women in India.
UN recognized the issue in the Declaration of the Elimination of Violence against Women in 1993, in which they elaborated on forms of violence which can affect one in physical, sexual, and psychological way. The points were elaborated as follows:
- Physical violence or aggression includes practices like slapping, hitting, beating, biting, acid attacks, khap killings, murders and abuse due to dowry-related issues.
- Sexual violence includes rape by one’s own partner or a stranger, unwanted sexual advances or harassment, disagreement on using condoms, forced prostitution, female genital mutilation, dating, courtship abuse, etc.
- Emotional or psychological violence like humiliation, intimidation, controlling behaviors like isolating women from the family or friends, keeping an eye on their every action, restricting them from assistance, information, rape threats, partner homicide, differential behavior with respect to girl child in terms of food and medical care (Islahi & Ahmad, 2015).
Mental Health Consequences Due to Violence:
Violence’s favourable correlation with mental health might have an effect on the individual. According to studies, the psychological consequences of violence on women last longer than the physical consequences do. Which makes us understand the scars made on the body heal much faster than the scars made on the soul (Islahi & Ahmad, 2015).
According to study, women who have suffered assault manifest several traumas. They also show symptoms of sleeping issues, anxiety, paranoia, lack of positivity in their self-image, lack self-confidence, depression, etc. A study by Islahi and Ahmad (2015) in León, Nicaragua, found that women who had suffered abuse had mental anguish that was six times higher than that of non-abused women.
Long-term Effects on Physical Health
Additionally, people notice other strong psychological consequences. The acute psychological effects consist of shock, extreme fear, confusion, as well as incoherent speech. PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and depression are the most prevalent disorders in the case of violence. Several different effects consist of taking more prescribed medications like tranquilizers, anti-depressants. The victims are also have a tendency to involve in health damaging behaviors like unsafe sex, alcohol and drug abuse, eating disorders. They may also develop short-term problems with regards to their physical and mental health which in turn include suicidal ideation, emotional withdrawal, hopelessness, irritability, and unable to respond appropriately to children according to their needs (Islahi & Ahmad, 2015).
These acute elevated stress levels, if they persist for a longer period of time. It can also have an effect on physical health, leading to problems such as hypertension, GI (Gastro-intestinal) related disorders, cardiovascular diseases, insulin-dependent diabetes, and chronic pain. If stress is persistent during pregnancy. It leads to premature labor and birth and low birth weight of the infant (Islahi & Ahmad, 2015).