According to a report by Thomson Reuters Foundation, India is the most dangerous place in the world to be a woman in. It is a shame to recognize that even war-torn countries such as Afghanistan and Syria are faring better than us.
Gender-based violence is one of the biggest hurdles which is holding India back from becoming a developed country. While the suffering of the victims of gender-based violence is unsurmisable, the effects of it are also observed in their children, society and the economy. Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti, UN Chef de Cabinet, said, “A culture of violence against women also has serious consequences for our efforts to eradicate poverty and promote inclusive sustainable development.” She further added, “Violence prevents women from participating in all areas of society in the decisions that impact their lives. It is a barrier to achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: our roadmap for peaceful prosperous lives on a healthy planet.”
In order to effectively plan and implement interventions to deal with them, it is necessary to understand these consequences thoroughly.
Effects on Victims
Any form of violence against women causes short- and long-term physical as well as psychological problems.
Physical consequences include injury, Sexually Transmitted Diseases and in several cases, death. In addition to this, there are a number of long-lasting symptoms that are associated with violence against women which include chronic pelvic pain; premenstrual syndrome; gastrointestinal disorders; and a variety of chronic pain disorders, including headache, back pain, and facial pain.
More painful than the physical consequences are the psychological consequences. Victims of gender-based violence exhibit a variety of psychological symptoms that are similar to those of victims of other types of trauma, such as war and natural disaster. Following a trauma, many victims experience shock, denial, disbelief, fear, confusion, and withdrawal. Moreover, assaulted women have a tendency to become dependent and suggestible and have difficulty undertaking long-range planning or decision making.
Effects on Children
Children in families in which the woman is abused have been found to exhibit high levels of aggressive and antisocial, as well as fearful and inhibited, behaviours. Some studies have shown that children who have experienced parental violence have more deficits in social competence and higher levels of depression, anxiety, and temperament problems than children in nonviolent homes. It has also been observed that children exposed to family violence see violence as an acceptable and useful means of resolving conflict.
Effects on the Society
Fear of Crime
As and when more cases of violence against women come in light, the fear of crime gets instilled in society. This fear acts as a barrier against women empowerment as it does not allow women to step out and achieve their dreams.
Such crimes also affect the economy negatively, because women often cannot work owing to the injuries or illness they suffer because of violence. Even if they do, they may not be very efficient at it. This loss of productivity contributes to reduced incomes and thus, skewed economic growth. It also reduces the average standard of living of citizens.
This article is part of our series on the international 16 Days of Activism campaign with the theme “Orange the World”.