Mental health issues widely affect both men and women, so regardless of gender, we should all be taking our mental health seriously. Mental Health disparities play a major role in Women’s Mental Health. There are certain mental health issues that affect women most, and this is due to a mixture of biological factors, socio-cultural influences, (workplace inequality, body shaming, and the pressure to “have it all”), as well as the fact the we have statistically higher chances of experiencing sexual abuse, domestic violence, rape, and attempted rape in lifetime. It’s clear that if you’re female, it’s imperative that you educate yourself on the gender-specific mental health risks women face.
As young women grow up, they may experience developmental and hormonal changes that can trigger issues, too. Even undergoing everyday life experiences during which they are exposed to traumas or changing environmental situations may be a trigger for a disorder.
According to a 2015 study published by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), women are more likely to experience serious psychological distress than men are. Women are also up to 40 percent more likely to develop mental illnesses than men, so women in particular should be aware that gender does play a role in mental health.
Whether you’ve struggled with your mental health or not, it’s important to know how your mind and body are pre-disposed to certain mental health issues so that you can better understand how to keep yourself healthy. Here are five mental health issues that affect women more often than men.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Suicide Attempts
- Eating Disorders.
- Types of Abuses faced by Women
Women experience violence in many ways, from physical abuse to sexual assault and from financial abuse to sexual harassment or trafficking. Whatever form it takes, violence against women can have serious long-term physical and emotional effects.
- Physical abuse.
- Emotional abuse.
- Sexual abuse.
- Technological abuse.
- Financial abuse.
- Abuse by immigration status.
Here are few questions for you:
What is dating violence?
Dating violence is physical, sexual, emotional, or verbal abuse from a romantic or sexual partner. It happens to women of all races and ethnicity, incomes, and education levels. It also happens across all age groups and in heterosexual and same-sex relationships. Some people call dating violence domestic abuse, especially when you live with your partner.
Dating violence includes:
- Emotional and verbal abuse : yelling, name-calling, bullying, isolating you from your family and friends, saying you deserve the abuse or are to blame for it, and then giving gifts to “make up” for the abuse or making promises to change.
- Sexual assault and rape: forcing you to do any sexual act you do not want to do or doing something sexual when you’re not able to consent, such as when you’ve been drinking heavily.
- Physical abuse: hitting, shoving, kicking, biting, throwing objects, choking, or any other aggressive contact.
It can also include forcing you to get pregnant against your will, trying to influence what happens during your pregnancy, or interfering with your birth control.
What are the signs of dating violence?
Some signs of dating abuse include:
- Forcing you to have sex when you don’t want to.
- Telling you that you owe them sex in exchange for taking you out on a date.
- Acting overly jealous, including constantly accusing you of cheating.
- Being extremely controlling, such as telling you what to wear, forbidding you from seeing friends and family, or demanding to check your phone, email, and social media.
- Constantly checking in with you and getting angry if you don’t check in with him or her.
- Putting you down, including your appearance (clothes, makeup, hair, weight), intelligence, and activities.
- Trying to isolate you from other people including by insulting them.
- Blaming you for the abusive behavior and listing the ways you “made him or her do it.”
- Refusing to take responsibility for their own actions.
- Apologizing for abuse and promising to change again and again.
- Having a quick temper, so you never know what you will do or say that may cause a problem.
- Not allowing you to end the relationship or making you feel guilty for leaving.
- Threatening to call the authorities (police, deportation officials, child protective services, etc.) as a way to control your behavior.
- Stopping you from using birth control or going to the doctor or nurse.
- Committing any physical violence, such as hitting, pushing, or slapping you.
What is digital abuse?
Digital abuse is a type of abuse that uses technology, especially texting or social media. Digital abuse is more common among younger adults, but it can happen to anyone who uses technology, such as smartphones or computers.
Digital abuse can include:
- Repeated unwanted calls or texts.
- Harassment on social media.
- Pressure to send nude or private pictures (called “sexting”)
- Using texts or social media to check up on you, insult you, or control whom you can see or be friends with.
- Demanding your passwords to social media sites and email.
- Demanding that you reply right away to texts, emails, and calls.
In a healthy relationship, both partners respect relationship boundaries. You do not have to send any photos that make you uncomfortable. Once you send a revealing photo, you have no control over who sees it. The other person can forward it or show it to others.
How does dating violence or abuse start?
Dating violence or abuse often starts with emotional and verbal abuse. The person may start calling you names, constantly checking on you, or demanding your time. These behaviors can lead to more serious kinds of abuse, such as hitting or stalking, or preventing you from using birth control or protection against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
Dating violence can happen even on the first date. If a date pays for the date, that does not mean you owe them sex. Any sexual activity that is without your consent is rape or sexual assault.
How common is dating violence?
It can happen at any age, but young women are most likely to experience dating violence. Young college women are often affected.
What can happen if I don’t end an abusive or romantic relationship?
Staying in an abusive relationship can have long-lasting effects on your mental and physical health, including chronic pain and depression or anxiety.