11 Oct 2017/Wednesday
The story of women in Kashmir is one of sufferings,coping up, survival, management but above all, of emerging as actors. Tracing the status of women in Kashmir from historical times to the present, there has been an entrenched system of patriarchy that defines their identity. Loss of partner, child or any other family member, destruction of home and hearth, no definite earnings, fear of harassment out of house and even no surety of security inside the house, general environment of fear and uncertainty all these have resulted into rise in anxiety and stress amongst the women of Kashmir. For long the situation of conflict was the reason attributed to their deteriorating mental wellbeing. As per Government Psychiatric Diseases Hospital Srinagar, Kashmir has been witnessing an upward trend in the number of patients visiting the psychiatric disease hospital for treatment like medication, counseling, and psycho therapy.55% percent of patients visiting the psychiatric disease hospital are women. Compared to men, female patients visiting the hospital are more depressed and a large numbers of them have a history of domestic violence, conflict, abuse, BPAD and PTSD. What is alarming is that the increase in the number of distress calls to various NGOs are majorly of domestic violence. Psychiatric Diseases Hospital Srinagar reports that 95% women visiting the hospital to treat depression have a history of domestic violence. Besides reporting abuses, the callers also try to find remedies for harassment and humiliation at home. This is worrisome, as these women are a mix of those who hail from economically-deprived and dependent families, which makes them prone to abuse at home and those who belong to the elite. This trend reflects the double standards of Kashmiri’s who blame the armed conflict for all their miseries however, they are themselves inflicting miseries on their women folklore within closed doors. The need of the hour is to realize if this domestic violence which is a ripple effect of so many issues ( like militancy, political instability, unemployment, loss of life, stress etc.) is warranted ? Why harbour these in your own backyard when it is bringing your house down ? These are sensitive issues which need to be thought over rationally to save Kashmir.