Armed conflicts and natural disasters cause significant psychological and social suffering to affected populations. The psychological and social impacts of sexual harassment may be acute in the short term, but they can also undermine the long-term mental health and psychosocial well-being of the affected population. These impacts may threaten peace, human rights and development. One of the priorities after violence is thus to protect and improve people’s mental health and psychosocial well-being. 

women1Most Afghans function with an elevated daily level of stress from violence, economic hardship, and intercommunity and family strife. As a result of this still highly patriarchal society, the effects of this stress fall disproportionately on women. Then, almost by default, it is transferred to their children. The few studies that researchers have been able to conduct have shown extremely high rates of depression and anxiety. Inadequate mental health care and lack of effective coping mechanisms for such stress contribute to unhealthy patterns, which can in turn result in a return to a cycle of violence even by those who are the most vulnerable to it. Women are among the most marginalized groups in developing countries. From past to present women especially are seemed excluded and suffered different types of mental and physical pressures. They have been deprived from their legal rights.

Women and girls has been facing with many kinds of violence since many years ago, like rape, physical violence, sexual harassment, domestic violence and etc. Violence against women is not just a sexual act – it is a violent act which is related to power imbalances in society in the context of gender and absolute disrespect for girls and women. Most abuse happens to helpless girls and has nothing to do with dress attitude. Sexual Harassment is a violent crime for which the victim is not responsible in any way. The perpetrator maybe a stranger or a person known to the woman. The assault maybe associated with fairly severe forms of physical and emotional violence.

Violence against women are severely traumatic experiences and are often associated with immediate psychological reactions such as shock, shame, guilt, anger, numbing and severe psychological distress. Sexual harassment can have devastating consequences on victims. Although there are local and international legislative and non-legislative tools to address sexual harassment in the community, social norms and fear continue to keep victims silent as, they fear being judged, losing their jobs, or being blamed for the harassment.

woemn1The most over-whelming finding of the survey conducted by FOPD is that women have experienced remarkably high levels of terrible and accumulated traumatic events as a result of the harassment or violence. The profound effects the conflict has had on the civilian populations in this area. 78% of the total sample report having lived through combat experiences. 38% experienced having to flee from burning buildings in their community and 47%having to flee from danger. 8% of women have had their husband killed in the conflict, and 5% of the total sample have had children killed. 41% of the sample report having had a family member or friend killed, and 33% reported having a family member or friend having been kidnapped or having disappeared. 45% reported having their property confiscated or destroyed, and 33% experienced extortion or robbery.
20% of women reported having been beaten, 14% of women reported being attacked by a gun or knife,11% of women reported being tortured, 5% of women reported being been taken captive, and 45% of women reported being forced to watch physical violence against others. Although rates of reported sexual violence toward women are low, owing in part to stigma, women experienced physical attacks by male combatant as gender violence.

The other finding of this study is women has been suffering remarkably levels of mental disorders after traumatic sexual events. 64% of women reported having depression, 55% reported having anxiety, 52% reported having Panic and 57 % of total sample reported extremely suffering from interpersonal sensitivity before family court. The next finding of this study is women has been suffering some levels of mental disorders after family court as well. 47% of women reported having depression, 40% of total sample reported suffering anxiety, 39% of women reported suffering from panic disorder and 58% of women reported are suffering from interpersonal sensitivity.

Over the past decades, increasing attention has been given to defining the psychological impact of war and conflict owomen. Primarily, the concept of trauma and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) has been used as a standard for understanding and responding to the psychological consequences of violence and displacement. This mental health approach has a strong clinical perspective drawn from such disciplines as psychiatry and clinical psychology, with typical interventions including trauma counseling and psychoeducation.

In such circumstances, women’s suffering cannot be understood in terms of psychological trauma alone. Indeed, there is some question about the applicability of trauma frameworks and the diagnosis of PTSD in many war-affected regions. The theoretical and therapeutic tools of Western psychology and psychiatry typically emphasize individualism, self-reliance and self-initiated actions as avenues for effective coping and problem-solving. This contrasts with many cultures where collective needs and self-definitions, as well as shared socio-cultural meanings and idioms, play a key role in how people organize and interpret reality, resolve problems and create new social relationships. In such instances, the imposition of aWestern trauma framework may lead women to view themselves as trauma cases and their sufferings as a failure to cope. This perspectivemay not only cause them to pathologies their experiences but also to undervalue their own belief systems and, subsequently, their connection to traditional social and community support.

Trauma and mental health models may also approach women as victims or passive recipients of assistance rather than potentially active community members. Increasingly, there is recognition that psychosocial programs for women, while having to take into account their individual psychological needs, must also enhance their capacity to attain greater self-sufficiency. Indeed, a lack of basic economic sustenance intensifies women’s destitution and psychological distress, and may lead to other forms of risk and degradation such as prostitution for food or shelter.