Mental Health and Domestic Violence

In today’s era we say that women are independent, and women empowerment is not really needed. But is it true? Has society changed? Have people changed? The answer can be found in various reports where women are still tortured and raped. Women face domestic violence, dowry deaths, acid attacks and what not. Even periods are a stigma, and nobody wants to talk about it. Menstruating women are not allowed in temples without any reason. The infamous Sabarimala case is an instance where women still must fight for their rights. Society still thinks that if a woman is raped it’s her fault. Domestic violence affects women mentally and physically. The physical scars may go away but what about the mental scars and torture?

Mental health problems include anxiety and depression. Section 3 of the Domestic violence Act, 2005 defines domestic violence. Domestic violence against women is recognized as a situation supported and reinforced by gender norms and values that lays down women in a subordinate position with respect to men. Domestic violence can have various forms, including physical aggression or assault like hitting or threats thereof: sexual abuse; emotional abuse; controlling; intimidation; stalking; and economic deprivation.

Domestic violence has devastating effects on the mental health of women. A video was posted on social media, where a woman went for haircutting and told the hairdresser to shorten her hair. She shortened her so that she is not pulled by her hairs. This shows how traumatic the effect of violence can be. It destroys their mental ability to think and fear is created in their minds forever.
There are thousands of women who do not file cases for domestic violence because of society, families, financial issues and others. A feeling of shame and embarrassment could be a factor which hinders a person from seeking aids or services which can help them to deal with such problems. Such women must be encouraged to speak up against such violence. Women themselves do not suffer; it also affects their children. The effect of domestic violence on the societies and the community is very serious and its effect on women is phenomenal.

Although the efforts have been made by various government institutions against domestic violence, still there is a rise in cases of this abuse. These can be curbed by educating people about their rights, community screening of domestic violence, by offering safe shelters and counseling.

NGO’S have been a part of these campaigns and enlighten the path of people. I am happy to be part of Navratan Foundations as an intern and work on this issue. The NGO believes that empowering women means dignity, respect and justice for all.

Madhuri Pilania
Student at Symbiosis Law School

/ Navaratan Blog