[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Mumbai-based clinical psychologist Dr Prathishta Trivedi has specialised in counselling victims of violence. These include women who have faced acid attacks and who remain psychologically traumatised by this horrific act. She addresses mental health issues for women and children in both government and private hospitals. On International Women’s Day, Rashme Sehgal interviews Dr Trivedi
What is the immediate trauma women face when acid is thrown at them? Can you describe this?
Immediately after the acid attack, the victim will suffer very, very intense physical and psychological trauma. The acid burns their skin. If it is thrown on the face, the eyelids, lips can burn, the nose and ears can shrivel and if they inhale the fumes, it will burn their insides, too. Acid burns you, the flesh melts and sticks together and the internal organs can get affected. If the scar tissue stretches and covers the nose, the victim has a problem in breathing. A victim can become unconscious though she will not die immediately. At the time of the attack, the psychological trauma is secondary.
What is the nature of the psychological trauma they experience?
Victims of acid attack suffer a complete loss of identity. When we look into the mirror, we see two eyes, a nose, a pair of lips. After the attack, the physical appearance gets significantly distorted and the individual finds it very difficult to adjust to this. After all, not only do they have to perceive themselves under the changed circumstances but outsiders, whether it is family or members of society, are also looking at them. The person feels very helpless. The first question they ask me when they come for counseling ‘why me’? They also realise just how little freedom they actually have. These victims tell me that they believed they had freedom over their lives and so, if they turned down a proposal or said no to getting married, they did so under the belief that they could do so. Not once did they realise they would be made to pay such a heavy price. Most of these victims belong to the 15-25 age group. Following the attack, they suffer recurrent nightmares; they cannot sleep; they are scared of stepping out of their homes. This post acid traumatic syndrome stays with them for a long time.
India is witnessing an increasing number of acid attacks and NGOs dealing with acid attack victims warn that the numbers went up to 1,600 attacks in 2016. The Acid Survivors Foundation India had collated from newspaper reports that there were 80 victims in 2010.
I do not know the exact numbers but many of these victims belong to the lower socio-economic sections though I would not like to generalise. Very few victims are able to come for individual counselling sessions. Some of these women will approach NGOs and human right organisations for assistance but mental health takes a back seat in their lives. That is very unfortunate because they all suffer from tremendous levels of depression and stress. Often, when NGOs call us to interact with these victims then they realise we are available to help them. I think only ten per cent of victims seek any kind of psychiatric assistance. It’s a very bleak situation.
You see, counselling is a long term intervention and can carry on for years. Mental health by law is not considered a necessity. The Supreme Court has directed that each victim be given Rs three lakhs and not be charged for medical treatment. Each of these victims often has to undergo 50 to 60 plastic surgeries for the face reconstruction. In a government setting, they are not charged and they seldom approach private hospitals for assistance.
How do the victims feel during this long process of reconstructive surgery?
The impact of the acid attack is for everyone to see. Everyone knows what has happened. Unfortunately, the talk around them is very negative because people stop treating them the way they used to before the attack.
I would say these victims need rehabilitation; they need a job. I believe they lead very lonely lives. They also suffer from an acute sense of fear. Every time they meet people, they are scared they may be attacked again. Even when victims want to come out of it, people don’t allow them to do so. They are boxed into that experience because their entire life is being defined by the attack.
When they wear clothes or comb their hair, their attempt will be to cover their scars. Their physical, social and occupational life is defined by this. They need empathy, they do not need pity.
Are parents supportive of acid victims?
Parents are supportive but they are also helpless. Many of them suffer from a lack of resources and that can prove a major obstacle in helping the victim.
Why are shopkeepers still permitted to sell acid over the counter?
Our laws are not strict. For any law to be implemented, people must be willing to follow it. Shopkeepers have been asked to take the address of the person buying acid but this is not adhered to. Why should acid be available for shopkeepers? It should be available only in an industrial setting. But I know of an attacker who took out acid from a car battery. Another perpetrator took it out of an industrial setting. Justice needs to be much swifter in punishing the attackers.
What is the psychology of the attacker?
It’s an act of aggression, an act of passion. The perpetrator feels a sense of hurt and injustice and by throwing acid he believes he is getting justice. The perpetrator is performing an act of revenge over a perceived rejection by a woman. Sometimes it is done over a family fight. There are cases of men attacking other men but it remains largely a gendered form of violence.
There is an accusation that some NGOs misuse the funds they have collected in the name of acid victims?
It may be so in some cases. This amounts to adding insult to injury.
How has counselling helped acid victims?
It takes years for them to come out of the trauma, to gain peace of mind and become more empowered because they do feel a great deal of frustration. Doctors do reconstructive surgery but they cannot make the face and body the same as before and the person has to make peace with that. It’s a lot of acceptance. Once that happens, the adjustment process starts.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
Watch: Crocodile comes out of open drain in Hyderabad
The local people informed the city police about the incident. The police further alerted the forest department. The crocodile was spotted at a place where a bridge is being constructed over the drain. Large number of people gathered around to catch a glimpse of the reptile.
A baby crocodile emerged from an overflowing Nala in Chintal basti, Hyderabad during heavy rainfall that took place in the city on Wednesday. The incident has triggered panioc among the local people in the area. People were shocked when the young crocodile came out the drain which was overflowing due to the heavy rainfall in the city.
The local people informed the city police about the incident. The police further alerted the forest department. The crocodile was spotted at a place where a bridge is being constructed over the drain. Large number of people gathered around to catch a glimpse of the reptile. The crocodile had been washed ashore in the flood water. The forest department took the help of the Disaster response force (DRF) to catch the crocodile.
The reptile was shifted to Nehru zoological park in the city. In a similar incident, a seven feet large crocodile had come into Raigadh’s Mangaon after heavy rains on July 22nd 2023. Some locals saw the giant reptile roaming freely on the road in front of Madgaon Kacheri road, Mangaon murthi complex. The locals informed the forest department,. They started an operation to rescue the animal. The operation took five hours and the crocodile was caught. The reptile was shifted to a safe habitat.
A huge crowd of people gathered around to watch the crocodile.In another scary incident a crocodile was seen crossing the Commerce college main road on July 20th 2023 in Kota Rajasthan. The vehicles and pedestrians stopped in their tracks.
Jairam Pandey, deputy conservator of Forest Kota confirmed his staff had informed about the reptile but the crocodile disappeared into the drains. A video shows a three and ahalf feet crocodile crossing the commerce college near Sabji Mandi. Since the city of Kota is situated on the bank of Chambal river, which has a gharial sanctuary crocodiles occasionally enter nearby areas
Rahul Gandhi visits Delhi’s Kirti Nagar furniture market, interacts with carpenters
During the visit, the Congress leader interacted with the carpenters at work and heard their problems
In yet another surprise visit in the national capital, Senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi reached Asia’s largest furniture market in Kirti Nagar. During the visit, the Congress leader interacted with the carpenters at work and heard their problems associated with their daily lives. He also tried his hand at building some furniture items.
Taking to X, formerly Twitter, Rahul Gandhi wrote that today, he went to Asia’s largest furniture market located in Kirti Nagar, Delhi and met his carpenter brothers. He expressed that apart from being hard workers, they are also amazing artists and experts at carving strength and beauty. He added that they talked a lot and he got to know a little about their skills and also tried to learn a little.
Congress too took to social media platform, X and noted that people’s leader Rahul Gandhi met the carpenters and listened to their problems and tried to know and understand their skills closely. The party also shared a few pictures of Rahul Gandhi’s visit to the market in Kirti Nagar. Congress underlined that Bharat Jodo Yatra continues.
As far as reports are concerned, this was Rahul Gandhi’s third such reaching-out exercise in Delhi in the recent past. Earlier, he met fruit and vegetable vendors in Azadpur Mandi in August after a video of a tearful vendor struggling with inflation went viral.
Recently, he also met railway porters at Anand Vihar Railway station and interacted with them to know their concerns. His visit followed a month after the porters of the railway station expressed their desire to meet him. During the course of interaction, Rahul Gandhi assured the porters that he will put forth the issues of porters and auto drivers in front of the central government.
During the last few months, Senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has met people from various frontiers including students, farmers, bike mechanics etc.
Anant Chaturdashi 2023: 2450 idols immersed by 3pm across Mumbai during Ganesh festival
The festival started with Ganesh Chaturthi on September 19 and concluded on the Anant Chaturdashi on Thursday. Mumbai’s Lalbaug area is famous for celebrating the festival with much grandeur.
During the drum beats and chants of Ganpati Bappa Morya various Ganesh Mandals in Mumbai on Thursday started the process of immersion of the Ganesh idols, concluding the 10 day Ganesh festival. According to Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation official by 3pm a total of 2452 idols had been immersed, which included 25 of Goddess Gauri, 116 public idols and 2311 household ones.
He said 919 of the 2452 idols were immersed in artificial ponds set up by the civic body. The 919 idols consisted of 12 of goddess Gauri, nine public idols and 898 household idols. Huge crowd of devotees gathered at various places in the city to catch a glimpse of their favourite diety. Decked up idols of Lord Ganesh in various forms and sizes were taken out of Pandals for their final journey accompanies by prayers, dance and music.
The festival started with Ganesh Chaturthi on September 19 and concluded on the Anant Chaturdashi on Thursday. Mumbai’s Lalbaug area is famous for celebrating the festival with much grandeur. The procession of the idols Ganesh Gully and Tejukaya mandals started with the chants of Pudhchya Varshi Lavkar Ya and Ganpati Bappa Morya.
The Lal Baugcha Raja idol that attracts maximum number of devotees started at around 11.30 am. A large number of people were waiting on sides of the road for the final darshan of the idol. Thousands of devotees gathered on the streets of Lalbaug to bid farewell to their favourite diety and witness the vibrant procession of people with the sprinkling of gulal, dance and music.
There was a large gathering of devotees at Lalbaug’s Shroff building to witness the showering of flowers on the Ganesh idols. A large crowd was seen gathered near the main road which lead to Girgaon in South Mumbai.