On Thursday 13 February, a conference will be held in Tirana which will discuss both domestic violence and mental health issues, and how they impact Albanian women.
Organised by Alice Taylor in conjunction with the NGO Useful to Albanian Women, speakers will include psychiatrists, doctors, therapists, lawyers, activists and survivors of domestic violence.
The organizers’ press release reads as follows:
Over half of Albanian women will be victims of domestic violence during their lives and those who suffer are three times as likely to develop mental illnesses including anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. We also know that those who suffer from mental health issues are more likely to be abused, attempt suicide, or resort to substance abuse as a result.
This means that domestic violence is not only causing trauma to more than half of the female Albanian population, but it also results in significant social issues including increased health problems, unemployment, drug and alcohol abuse, and even death. Out of those abused, 10 % will lose their jobs and others will find it difficult to work, or find work. This results in women suffering from reduced economic independence, meaning they are more likely to remain with their abuser.
In addition to this, women who suffer violence when pregnant are more likely to suffer from postpartum depression, which again makes them more vulnerable to repeated violence with a current, or future partner. Women who suffer from PPD are more susceptible to being attacked by their partners, even if they have not been in the past.
Domestic violence and mental health are intrinsically linked and create a ‘vicious circle’ of causation and consequence. There is little to no support from the state in terms of counselling or treatment for mental health issues, and even less support for those that experience domestic violence. Many doctors do not fully or properly understand mental health issues such as anxiety, depression and PPD, and they are not equipped to help those in need.
Both issues are considered “taboo” in society and our silence is resulting in the suffering of thousands of women and girls.
“Break the Taboo: The Vicious Circle of Mental Health Issues and Domestic Violence in Albania” will take place at Wisdom College from 10:30 am. All are invited and the event will be in the Albanian language. As well as speeches and open discussion, attendees can also enjoy a small exhibition of artwork on domestic violence by artist Meri File, and music from pianist Denisa Gokovi.