With the spike in rape and sexual molestation cases towards women, the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS) had decided to establish a trauma center for victims.
According to statistics provided by State Crime Records Bureau (SCRB), Karnataka has reported 361 rape cases this year so far, 77 in Bangalore alone. Under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 927 cases have been reported in total in the state of Karnataka.
“Women who were raped or sexually molested undergo severe mental depression, and sometimes hesitate to come out in public and lead their normal life” said Dr. Prabha S. Chandra, Head of the Department of Psychiatry wing at NIMHANS.
“To make them overcome from such conditions we decided to begin a center called the NIMHANS Center for Well Being (NCWB), which is going to be open this month at NCWB, BTM Layout. We are training women counselors for victim support, supervision where therapeutic treatment will be given by our doctors,” said Prabha.
According to one of the officials in NIMHANS, “Victims can directly consult us without approaching the police. We will try to treat and help them to overcome their depressed complexes. This center for well being will be the best place for the victims to lead their life back to normal. Some victims need only medical counselling; some need therapeutic treatment besides counselling”, said Prabha.
Not only rape but molestation cases like verbal and mental abusing, physical violence, torture, and harassment were reported in many places and in shelters, and could be helped at the new center.
“Police stations and women shelters will inform us if any such incident occurs and NCWB will respond within 24 hours,” she added.
What is POCSO Act?
This Act protects children under age 18 from offences like sexual assault, sexual harassment, and pornography.
Statistics denotes that girls under the age of 18 are the victims who are mostly affected in rape and sexual molestation. In last year 1,295 cases were registered under POCSO Act in Karnataka, this year almost 1,000 cases have been registered already. Comparatively there is an increase in number of cases registered.
“How many traumatized victims have undergone doctor counselling or treatment was not known. NIMHANS is opened to all victims for treatment,” said Prabha.
“We have found that there is an increase in these cases in NIMHANS, but most of the victims do not seek medical counselling due to lack of confidence or traumatizing situation after the incident. If they are not treated, it may lead to unstable mood swings, major depression, and sometimes bipolar disorders,” she added.
“On Oct. 12, we conducted a first meeting, including Mahila Dakshitha Samithi members, counselors from the city. Some 100 women counselors in the city will be trained as part of this project. They will be trained for victim support and supervising. Most of the people are unaware of the program and we will start awareness programs in government hospitals such as Bowring and Lady Curzon hospital, Victoria Hospital etc.,” said Prabha.
“These women counselors will supervise the victims frequently. In case of any therapeutic treatment, victims will be treated by our doctors,” she added.
“Victims hesitate to come to crowded areas like big hospitals, public spaces, or work places. Such symptoms fall under Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
To avoid this, the NCWB will be a calm and peaceful place where victims can freely walk-in at anytime. This year 10 to 15 cases were reported in NIMHANS, I hope that with this new initiative more victims will come for treatment,” said Prabha.