In recent times, the world has witnessed an alarming increase in the rate of crime against women. Whether it is in terms of domestic abuse, sexual or physical assault, harassment, eve-teasing, gender discrimination, or crimes committed to communal violence, such horrible acts tend to cause deep wounds in the women’s minds which leads to significant distress both in terms of physical and emotional well-being.
Let’s talk about the recent news
Recently a video has surfaced on the internet which belongs to Manipur, India that has shown a group of people marching naked women across the village while being physically harassed. Since it came out the has gone viral across India and has caused significant outrage in the country. The video is the result of the ongoing ethnic clashes between the two communities of tribes of Manipur. Since it began in May 2023 the violence has displaced near about 50,0000 people and a casualty of 125 who died due to the clashes. The result of these clashes has caused significant damage to the lives of people and the private and public properties of the state leaving a drastic impact on the mind of the people. Among several causalities of violence and war, where numerous people tend to suffer physically and mentally, women are subjected to be at the centre of the most suffering ranging from physical and sexual assaults.
The following article attempts to explain the ways the rising crime can affect a woman’s mental and physical well-being;
1) Fear and Anxiety:
The rising crime rates have caused to live women with increasing levels of fear and anxiety. There is constant fear among them of falling prey to some heinous act because of which women have to become hypervigilance to feel safe and comfortable in familiar places. Chronic stress can cause anxiety-related disorders, difficulty in sleep, and a sense of being vulnerable constantly.
2) Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD):
Survivors who are victims of violent crimes such as sexual assault physical issues may tend to develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). It is a form of mental illness that occurs in a person who has experienced any traumatic events in their life such as a fatal accident, any natural disaster, or the death of a loved one, etc. Experiencing traumatic events can lead to PTSD in the survivors which causes them to have flashbacks, anxiety, fear, loneliness, nightmares, insomnia, and other symptoms that disrupt a person’s normal life, making it challenging for them to keep their mental health stable.
3) Depression and Suicidal tendencies:
Going through a traumatic incident the survivors of the crime can trigger depressive feelings in women. The constant feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, guilt, shame, and loneliness could lead t the development of suicidal tendencies or self-harm. The lack of support and understanding that women need could either cause isolation enhancing the emotional struggles to live.
4) Self-Blame and Guilt:
Society’s objections and blame often subject women who are survivors of the crime of psychic and sexual assault to feelings of self-blame and guilt. Society pressure could cause women to self-blame themselves due to the incident and shame their actions of not doing anything to protect themselves. This emotional trauma severely impacts the self-esteem of a person and could to an unending and vicious cycle of disrupting thoughts about self.
6) Trust Issues and Relationship Difficulties:
Once subjected to a crime a woman could have profound trust issues in forming new relationships or maintaining new ones. There is a lack of trust for anyone even the closest people due to trauma caused by the crime. This could further lead to difficulties in discussing the emotional struggle oneself with others. The victim would experience a sense of vulnerability and worry about being hurt again.
7) Substance Abuse as a Coping Mechanism:
In many cases, women experiencing a crime may lead to developing a habit of substance abuse or drug abuse. Substance abuse is the use of drugs in a significant amount without any doctor’s prescription. They do it for the purpose of reducing pain and causing numbness in the body so that you don’t feel anything. Drugs and alcohol could provide tempered relief from the emotional trauma, but prolonged usage result drastically a person’s physical and mental health and causes addiction.
8) Impact on Work and Daily Life:
It is not easy to suffer from a traumatic incident of crime to keep one’s mind normal every time. Women could have difficulty managing their personal and professional life. The effects of a traumatic experience can make the person absent-minded, depressed, and unable to concentrate normally, making it hectic for them to maintain everyday normal household chores. Coping could be extremely difficult for the survivor of a crime.
9) Long-Term Effects on Families and Society:
Being a victim of a crime does not limit the suffering of a woman to the person only. The family and love of the person could suffer from the pain of seeing their loved one suffer from a traumatic experience. Society could also victims to point fingers at their families and close ones disrupting their mental peace altogether.
Solutions for women suffering from mental health issues:
Encourage open communication:
A person with mental health issues needs encouragement and support to feel safe to communicate. By creating a non-judgemental and safe space for conversation women would be encouraged to express their feelings and experience hence allowing room for healing.
Seek professional help:
It is not easy to tackle mental health issues on your own when once have experienced a traumatic event. Seeking help from professionals such as a psychiatrist, psychologist or counselor can provide support, care, and treatment for women
Encouragement from loved ones and families toward self-care can be helpful for growth and healing in a woman. Engaging in activities and hobbies that are pleasing to oneself can motivate them to work for their mental well-being.
Support groups are available to allow women to safely express themselves in a group of people and share similar experiences with them. This creates a sense of security and belongingness that one is not alone.
Contact a Helpline for Women:
There are separate helpline numbers available that are dedicated to women’s support only. Those who are facing issues related to mental health, domestic abuse, and other crimes related to women. These helplines keep your information confidential and private and are available 24/7.
- Women Helpline (All India): 1091 or 181
- National Commission for Women (NCW): 011-26942369, 26944754
- Domestic Violence Helpline: 181
- Nirbhaya Helpline (Delhi): 181
- Women’s Helpline (Delhi Police): 1091
- Snehi Helpline (Delhi): 011-65978181,
Helpline for mental health issues:
- AASRA – +91 9820466726: A 24×7 helpline number that provides support and prevention for people in distress.
- Snehi – +91 91-5509090: A helpline that provides women with emotional support and counseling.
- Vandrevala Foundation – 1860-2662345: A helpline that provides women with mental health support counseling for those in need of professional help
- i Call – 022-25521111: A helpline offering counseling services for women, children, and adolescents.
- Roshni – +91 9166202000: A helpline offering emotional support and counseling for individuals in