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Women and traumatic experiences Essay

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Updated: Dec 3rd, 2019


Typical societies comprise individuals of different race, gender, ethnic group, disability status, religious belief, and level of education. Based on these differences, there maybe minority and majority groups in the societies. A scenario is often witnessed in the societies whereby one group of individuals exercise power over the other group, which is forced to be submissive even to very cruel orders or actions.

Oppression is one area that currently attracts the attention of different psychologists. It refers to exercising authority and power on somebody in a cruel and unjustifiable manner. The oppression in this case can take different forms. It could be a physical oppression like physical abuse. It could also be psychological oppression following some strange event like earthquake, terrible accident, or sexual abuse.

Oppression can pose adverse health problems to the victims. Whereas some forms of oppression are mild and can be tolerated, some kinds of oppression are severe and the victims may not overcome their undesirable negative consequences. The victims of such oppression in the societies are usually the minority groups in the society like those with disabilities. Females and children are other categories that are vulnerable to such effects of oppression.

One of the effects of such oppression, especially on females, is psychological trauma. An individual is mentally disturbed following an experience of some oppression in this situation. A traumatic experience often translates into posttraumatic stress disorder whereby an individual is haunted by the experience.

The condition is associated with various changes in the function of the individual’s central nervous system. Such individuals have difficulties in accommodating such events if they reoccur. The management of such situations requires an understanding of the history of one’s experiences. A psychologist is able to help such individuals to manage their emotions that are disturbed by the traumatic experiences.

The psychologists must be able to understand how trauma manifests itself among different individuals. Proper therapy will then be developed depending on the identified causative factors. This paper focuses on the responses of females to traumatic experience like rape or natural disaster. It illuminates on the manifestation of this condition. It also focuses on how psychologists can intervene to help such individuals restore their normal emotions.

Trauma and its symptoms

Trauma is a condition in which an individual is mentally disturbed following some experience. A common traumatic experience that pose medical problem is rape committed by males on females. Sexual abuse by men is a kind of psychological oppression on women that poses mental disturbance to the latter.

They are also more vulnerable to other forms of discrimination like in employment or accesses to equitable social amenities than the males (McKenzie, 10). Females are also vulnerable to other traumatic events like natural disasters. The reactions of individuals to such events or experiences are often different.

Whereas others may assume the event to be normal and deny its gravity, others are not able to accommodate them and are overwhelmed by the experience. The effects of such traumatic experiences also take different periods to be manifested in different individuals. The effects could be visible for as short as one week or it could take a number of decades. Some of these effects will be visible whereas others will be reflected on the victims’ actions.

An individual who has had a traumatic experience has an unpredictable pattern of emotions and behaviors. The individuals are seen to have irregular responses to similar stimuli. The individual might be impressed by a given action or behavior in one instance only to be annoyed by the same behavior the next instance. The individuals also have hot tempers and are irritated by minor issues (Snelgrove, para.7).

Stress related to trauma is also characterized by a confused state of mind. The victims have difficulties in concentrating in a given task especially those calling for effective decision-making. They show signs of anxiety and depression and may find difficulties in eating or sleeping well (Snelgrove, para.7).

The inability to concentrate on a given task will reflect on one’s performance at work place. A significant drop in the level of performance of an individual at work place will be an indicator that the individual is undergoing some stress following a traumatic experience.

Trauma also affects the social life of the victims. The females who have suffered some oppression from the male counterparts find it difficult in developing a relationship with the males. They tend to avoid these individuals lest the same scenario occurs (Snelgrove, para.7). They always have an unnecessary flashback of their experience and would always want to keep some distance from the “bully” men.

Extreme traumatic experiences may cause adverse physical health problems. The victims may experience headaches, chest pain, and nausea. Such individuals may also have abnormal response like increased heartbeat following a very mild experience.

Effects of traumatic experience

Traumatic experiences have physical, mental, and behavioral effects on the victims. These victims tend to engage in abuse of psychoactive substances like drugs and alcohol. Addiction to such substances has adverse effects on the physiological, behavioral, cognitive development of the victims (World health organization, para.1). The victims develop addictive disorders and are not able to stop these habits despite their adverse effects. Extreme traumatic experiences also lead to persistent anxiety and depression among the victims.

Medical conditions like high blood pressure and heart diseases (heart failure) are also adverse effects of traumatic experience. This results from the effects of stress on the body physiology of the victims. The effects of a traumatic experience are also made worse if there are other pre-existing medical conditions. Victims of other medical conditions like diabetes, asthma, or chronic cold will have more pronounced medical conditions from the stress.

Managing traumatic stress

While some experiences can be accommodated and managed by the affected individuals, other experiences are extreme and require an intervention by a psychologist. In order to manage the stress and disorders following traumatic experiences, psychologists need to understand that trauma occurs differently in different people.

They need to understand that the healing process of such disorders may require a lot of time (Fanon, 264). Different people perceive the factors that are associated with traumatic experience differently. What one may consider as a traumatic experience may not have effects on the other person.

It is important to note that the rates at which individuals recover from a traumatic experience are also different. These are determined by a number of factors. Consequently, the kind of psychological therapy provided to such individuals may also be different. Firstly, the extremity of a given traumatic experience will affect the rate of reaction or response to the condition.

It will have effects on how the victim will manage the posttraumatic stress disorders. The components of the events that are traumatic are of important consideration in that an exposure to a single traumatic event may have a series of adverse experiences that have long-term effects (McFarlane & Bryant, para.7).

A female who had a serious sexual abuse and sustained physical injuries may take long time to come to terms with this experience. The oppression could have been inflicted on more than one female in a single scenario. The stress following the experience will be more adverse in case there were associated losses of lives. Similarly, massive destruction of property and loss of life from some major natural disaster may cause serious psychological problems.

Secondly, even for the traumatic experiences with similar magnitudes, the individuals have different abilities to manage the resulting mental disturbances. The number of times that such experiences have occurred in an individual’s life may affect how the individuals responds to, and recovers from, a given traumatic experience. An individual who has had a challenging traumatic experience and managed it well is better placed to cope up with a similar situation if it happens again.

Another factor that affects an individual’s response to traumatic experience is the presence of other psychological challenges experienced by the individual. High poverty levels or lack of proper housing may worsen traumatic stresses (Anishnawbe Health Toronto, 16). Individuals with other psychological problems like that emanating from domestic violence or a long-term health problem like hypertension may find it difficult to cope up with an emotional disturbance following a traumatic experience.

The consideration of these factors will enable psychologists and other mental health care specialists to develop a differential approach to help the victims manage the different situations. The psychologists and healthcare specialists should be able to risks of different individuals being harmed by the stresses or their possibility of harming others (Anishnawbe Health Toronto, 36).

The gravity of mental health disorder caused is also considered here. The psychologists provide proper guidance to these individuals on how to respond to the serious stress and depression from such experiences. The therapy provided by the psychologists might incorporate different initiatives.

Firstly, the psychologists should come up with group discussions that involve individuals with similar traumatic experiences. The psychologists need to encourage the victims to be relaxed and comfortable to share their feelings with the others. They should be encouraged to talk it out to friends and others with the same experience (Snelgrove, para.8). Meeting other individuals with similar experiences will motivate the victims to cope up with their emotional problems.

The stress disorders are also characterized by unstable state of mind that can be corrected by relaxation techniques. The individuals should be encouraged to have enough rest or sleep to relieve some related stress. An application of other relaxation techniques is necessary in case an individual has difficulties in getting asleep.

The techniques include reflexology, body massage, and physical exercises. The management of the stress disorders also requires that the victims have a healthy eating habit (Snelgrove, para.9). The psychologists should encourage the victims to eat adequate balanced diet.

The victims of posttraumatic stress disorders may turn to alcohol and drugs to help them manage the stress and depression. This may lead to other health problems thus retarding the healing process (Snelgrove, para.9). A proper psychotherapy practice will discourage use alcohol and drugs in managing stress from a traumatic experience.

Besides, traumatic experiences are rekindled by occasions that are organized in memory of such events. An annual or biennial anniversary of some catastrophic event often regenerates fresh memories of the event by the victims. This makes management of the resulting conditions difficult. As such, such victims are not supposed to be allowed access or be exposed to such memorial occasions.

The management of posttraumatic disorders has certain challenges. Depression is one major medical problem resulting from such traumatic experiences. Despite, the numerous methods that can be use to treat the conditions, the victims are reluctant to take the medications (Bell, para.12).

They argue that they are very comfortable with their situations and will sort it out with others in the neighborhood. In such cases, there is need for the family members of such victims to intervene and subject the individuals to the appropriate medical care.

The failure to take the appropriate mental health care initiatives results into scenes of crimes in the societies that are harmful to individuals within and outside the victims’ vicinity (Bell, para.12). It is also important to note that the period that elapses before a psychological or medical intervention is provided to victims of posttraumatic stress disorders will also determine the rate of recovery. An intervention that is provided immediately after the experience may work better than an intervention that is provided later in life.


It is thus important to acknowledge the fact that the traumatic experiences that individuals have (especially women) pose health challenges to the victims. Some of the experiences are mild and the victims may manage them without the intervention of other specialists.

On the other hand, some of the situations may have adverse medical effects on the individuals and lead to various societal problems. The effects of traumatic experiences also occur differently in different people. These different situations should be identified at the right in order to make their management easier. It is the responsibility of every individual in the society to ensure that the victims of such mental disorders receive the appropriate medication.

Works Cited

Anishnawbe. “Health Toronto.” Mental Health Strategy. 2005. Web.

Bell, Thaddeus. Film: Race and Medicine: Drapetomania, ICYOU. 2009. Web.

Fanon, Frantz. “Colonial war and mental disorders.” The Wretched of the Earth. New York: Grove. 2004. Web.

McFarlane, Alexander C. and Bryant, Richard A. “” Occupational Medicine, 57 (6): 404-410. 2007. Web.

McKenzie, Kwame. Re-Conceptualizing “Trauma”: Examining the Mental Health Impact of Discrimination, Torture & Migration for Racialized Groups in Toronto. Web.

Snelgrove, Toby. Dealing with Traumatic Stress, Easton-Snelgrove. Web.

World Health Organization. . 2007. Web.

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