Today, we are living in a society where the issue of domestic violence is still being kept as a taboo. Nobody wants to talk about the term domestic violence. It has been considered to be an act which is often to be considered forgivable by the whole family since early times, but also nowadays. Domestic violence normally involves, any form of abuse, whether moral, verbal or physical.
It is only the woman who is going through this violence has to bear all the consequences. More often, it is kept hidden from the family, some hide about their abuse because of the fear of being “pointed finger at” whereas some of the victims choose to stay because of their children.
In any case, it is the victim, whether man or woman, who is going through so much pressure from the society and more often the woman is to be blamed in any situation. They are scared to leave because of what society will be talking about them. But nobody is realising the aftermath and consequences of staying in such in a relationship.
Some long lasting effect of domestic violence is often linked to many long-term health problems. These can include, arthritis, asthma, chronic pain, digestive problems such as stomach ulcers, heart problems, Irritable bowel syndrome, nightmares and problems sleeping, migraine headaches, sexual problems such as pain during sex, stress, problems with the immune system. Many women also have mental health problems after violence. To cope with the effects of the violence, some women start misusing alcohol or drugs or engage in risky behaviors, such as having unprotected sex. Sexual violence can also affect someone’s perception of their own bodies, leading to unhealthy eating patterns or eating disorders.
Other effects can include shutting people out, not wanting to do things you once enjoyed, not being able to trust others, and having low-esteem. But the issue here, we understand that these are the long term effects, but nobody is trying to understand what the victim is going through and the society is still lacking to understand these issues. Often, one will say, you need to see a doctor or a psychiatrist. Indeed a doctor is considered to be the best advisor but along with a doctor, family support need to be given. Often the victims will feel hopeless and if there is nobody to talk with, one keeps isolating herself, leading to depression which reflects on her health.
The family, friends and close relatives need to understand the trauma, the victim is going through and have to try to support her when needed rather than stating that she is a burden. But very often, nearly everyone is busy in their own schedule, that nobody is noticing these serious long-term effects on a woman’s health. If domestic violence occurs, let us try to offer support to and encourage the victim to leave the abusive relationship rather than letting her go through trauma which leads to long term effects on the woman. Let us try to offer a bright side of her life rather than a dark side of her life.
Smita Devi Doorgakant
BA (Hons) Indian Philosophy
Mahatma Gandhi Institute