Women victims in NE conflict zones suffering form PTSD

Assam women

Women victims of violence in conflict-ridden Assam and Nagaland often suffer from acute Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, but there is no matching response and mechanism to tackle the problem in both the states.

Though violence was almost a part of life in the two states till a few years ago, facilities like trauma centres or counselling centres to deal with such cases are few.

Whatever facilities exist, they are not properly equipped to handle the complexity and scale of the disorder, according to a study on the impact of conflict on women in Assam and Nagaland.

The study "Bearing Witness-a report on the impact of Conflict on Women in Nagaland and Assam" has been conducted by the Centre for North East Studies and Policy Research (C-nes) with support from Germany's Heinrich Boll Stiftung.

"Women find themselves at the receiving end of violence from three fronts -- the state, militants and a corresponding escalation of domestic violence," C-nes managing trustee and project director of the study Sanjoy Hazarika pointed out.

The major objectives of the study were to understand the nature and type of conflict situations women faced, to ascertain the impact of conflict on women in its various dimensions, to examine how women have been able to cope with the situation, assess women's hopes and aspirations and to offer necessary suggestions and recommendations.

"The most obvious impact is physical or sexual violence though the psychological scarring as a result of prolonged exposure to brutality has an even deeper impact on their well-being," Hazarika said.

The study finds that the loss that women face in these situations is not just emotional or physical but also involves economic and social spheres as well, according to Hazarika.

Most women face a decline in social legitimacy and find themselves relegated to the fringes of society with no one to care for them or to speak on their behalf.

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