If suicide can be stated as a cry for help, then cries of several women in the state fell on deaf ears.
In a shocking study conducted among people with various job profiles, the State Women’s Commission found out that housewives topped the list of suicides during the past several years.
From the study, which was included in the Commission’s annual report 2010-11, it was found that housewives constitute 15 per cent of total suicide cases. Section wise percentage of other categories are: farmers (10 per cent), jobless (9.2 per cent), businessmen (6.8 per cent), students (3.1 per cent), retired persons (1.1 per cent), others (45 per cent) and so on. The trend is similar since 2005. Percentage of suicides committed by housewives were 15.3 in 2005, 15 in 2006, 14.8 in 2007, 15.4 in 2008 and 15 in 2009. The study shows that more women between 14 and 45 years of age took the drastic step.
Family issues were found to be a major reason which led to suicide. 40 per cent commit suicide due to family problems.
The second major reason was mental issues. The study jointly conducted by NGO Thanal and the Women’s Commission said that mental health of Malayali women was deteriorating. Women committing suicide due to mental issues constitute 19 per cent, which is almost double than the national rate. “Qualities such as patience and endurance are declining in women. Self respect and awareness of rights make her fight against violence. However, our social system fails to support women which cause mental unrest”.
“Biological, psychological and sociological factors of women must be considered while probing into suicide cases in women,” the study said. Most women (40 per cent) hanged themselves to death while 28 per cent took poison to end their lives.
Women’s Commission chairperson K C Rosakutty said women, especially mothers, were silent sufferers. “They do not have the will to file a complaint against their family members. The Commission will strengthen the functioning of Jagratha Samitis in each panchayat, which could give awareness to both men and women on such issues,” she said. However, sex-wise, men are more vulnerable to suicide than women. Last year’s record shows that 74 per cent of total suicide cases were by men.