News coverage affecting victims
The exploitative media coverage and the statements by the politicians on the rape and death of the 23- yearold girl in Delhi, is having an adverse impact on the psyche of the people in the city, including molestation and rape survivors, say psychiatrists.
There is a section of men and women who are reliving their experience of rape and molestation, said psychiatrist Harish Shetty. “The best thing to do is to stay away from the television and the stories that are in the press,” he added.
For patients who are undergoing treatment for incidents of rape or molestation, there has been a marked increase in their symptoms after the story broke. Commenting on the state of mind of survivors of these crimes, psychiatrist Dayal Mirchandani said that as most survivors don’t report the crime, they have mixed emotions. “This reactivates what happened to them, even if they have moved on. They become retraumatised and they start mulling over their experience, have flashbacks and blame themselves or someone else for what occurred,” Mirchandani said.
The press and social networking sites are full of news about the brutal rape cases and parents have started feeling anxious about their daughters, who live in hostels all over India, Shetty stated. Social psychologist and sexuality educator, Chandni Parekh feels that imposing restrictions on children’s activities cannot be the solution. We need to have dialogues about the ways in which people can deal with all forms of violence, she said. Mirchandani feels that the whole idea of being unsafe has come to the fore because of this incident. “Between feeling angry and unsafe, parents are putting restrictions on children’s attire and timings. Restrictions are being put on the clothes worn by students. Women are resentful of these restrictions,” Mirchandani elaborated.