HYDERABAD: Facing years of violence at home, which for women usually means physical, emotional and sexual abuse, can leave a physiological impact on an individual.
As more and more women in the city have been making distress calls and reaching out to counselling centres, counsellors observe a steady number showing signs of depression, hysteria and in some extreme conditions, even Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
“If an Indian marriage is abusive, there is usually no way out of it for women, given the stigma associated with divorce in the society. Such women find themselves in a continuous state of helplessness which takes a toll on their stress levels. This stress can be the root for the signs of depression that we see in some patients with a past of physical and emotional violence. However, this is not always true, but the number of such cases is now on the rise,” noted a psychologist from the Roshni Counselling Centre, “The stress sometimes leads to suicidal tendencies in the patient. In such extreme cases we refer them to medical help for a month or two.”
Marriage counselling experts note that in such extreme cases, a routine couple counselling maybe of no use until medication is started. “Medicines help in controlling the stress and calms them down. Otherwise, they could just sit through the counselling, in a state of numbness for outer world. This numbness is usually a result of all those years of violence that has left a deep impact on their minds,” added the expert.
Hysteria -- a sudden, extreme emotional outburst -- is another common condition among marital couples. While PTSD is commonly noted in women who have been subject to years of sexual abuse within a marriage.
“We have seen PTSD in women who have faced domestic violence in their marriages...quite a number of husbands are forcing their wives to participate in bizarre sexual activities without their consent,” noted Pearl Choragudi, Head of Intervention, Operation PeaceMaker, My Choice Foundation.
However, with the stigma of ‘mental instability’ associated, there is a bigger fear among married women.
“A considerable number of women need medical intervention. Many of them are even afraid that if they take medical help, it could be used by the husband to implicate them legally for a divorce by stating that their wives are mentally unstable,” added Pearl Choragudi.