Women who face some sort of domestic violence go through a lot of turmoil, long after they have gotten out of their situation. I would know because I have gone through something similar. Whether it is verbal or otherwise, the effects of abuse on women need to be understood if we are to help those who need it to make a change in their situation.
Short-Term Adverse Outcomes
Most women, like myself, me would categorize the results of exploitation as either short-term or long-term. There are a lot of short-term issues that can be experienced by females. I have read through a variety of domestic violence research papers and the problems mentioned in most are those I also identify with. Some of the most common short-term outcomes that females suffer from include:
- Broken bones, cuts, bleeding and bruising as a result of bodily harm.
- Pelvic pain and/or vaginal bleeding, or STIs as a result of sexual exploitation.
- Problem with falling asleep and/or having nightmares.
- Harm to the unborn child in case of pregnancy.
Long-Term Mental Health Risks
What a lot of people don’t realize is that the psychological problems women like me experience can linger on for years to come. Females in an abusive relationship are more likely to develop a mental health disorder like PTSD, depression, substance abuse, anxiety, and even suicidal thoughts.
The chances of developing depression are 2.7 times higher in those who undergo emotional abuse while the chances of suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder are 7 times higher. These are big numbers, and as someone who has undergone physical violence and the trauma that comes with it myself, I’m not surprised that survivors of such events often get so depressed, to the point of as to thinking about ending their lives.
If you know someone around you who is exhibiting health issues, you should try to learn what the underlying cause for the problems is. She may have a happy family on the surface, with healthy children and a loving husband, but might be going through something terrible. Sharing information about someone’s violent towards a woman with the relevant authorities behavior can help the abused get both support and treatment.
It is also extremely important to know some ways in which you can help a friend deal with their PTSD in order to help bring an end to their suffering. For someone who is considering ending their life due to exploitation, having the chance to talk to a friend can often reduce the risk manifold. I myself was able to discover some solace after talking to a friend I have at work when I was struggling with my feelings.
Understanding the cycle of violence
Females experiencing domestic abuse go through a constant vicious circle that causes multiple health disorders over time. This circle usually goes something like this:
- Some level of tension develops between the couple at first. During this stage, the female may even feel like she needs to appease her partner by doing whatever they want her to do.
- This often leads to violent acts. This action can be verbal, physical, or psychological.
- After abusing the female, the abuser usually denies all responsibility or apologizes for the actions.
- The period that comes after this phase is commonly referred to as the ‘honeymoon phase’. This is where the victim is assured by the abuser that it won’t happen again and that she should forget that it ever happened in the first place.
The worst part of this circle is that it starts all over again after the honeymoon phase. As soon as the victim starts feeling comfortable again, the abuser causes her repeated harm. This then leads to a constant worry in the female’s mind that she can be abused at any time, even when things seem calm. Such an experience is incredibly difficult to go through, and I can attest to the fact that a lot of victims stuck in such toxic and harmful relationships start considering suicide.
Where to Get Help
Even though a massive number of such cases are not even reported, there are various online and other resources now that can support a victim. The National Sexual Assault Hotline and the National Domestic Violence Hotline offer help to those who are undergoing impacts of exploitation. Such services provide not only help with coping with the emotional side of things but can also lead to recognizing medical symptoms that may be present.
It doesn’t matter if a female is at school, at home, or in public; she is at risk of being sexually harassed. The kind of exploitation against women that can find its way into long-term relationships is something everyone needs to be aware of, including females who live in seemingly healthy households. The most important thing to note in my experience is that females should always be able to ask for help and to try to locate a way out of the situation instead of blaming themselves for what they are going through.
Photo by Sydney Sims on Unsplash