Half-Widows in Kashmir: A Psychosocial Study
Introduction: Disappearance or enforced disappearance happens when a person comes in contact with an armed group (state and non-state), he is taken into custody against his/her will and his whereabouts become unknown. This phenomenon is very common in conflict situations. It has been experienced in all countries facing the conflict between security forces of the state and anti-state militants. Likewise, in Kashmir, the Armed Conflict situation from the year 1989 has resulted in many enforced disappearances. Methodology: Mixed methodology was adopted wherein both qualitative and quantitative methods of data collection was used. The data for the study was collected from half-widows (N=109) hailing from District Baramulla of Kashmir valley using purposive sampling method. The psychological issues were studied using Trauma Symptom Check-List-40 and in-depth interviews were carried out with half-widows to understand their issues in depth. Results: The study revealed that all the respondents developed the psychological distress. Majority of the half-widows report anxiety, palpitations, sleep disorders, and lack of interest in everyday activities along with various psychosocial problems. Conclusion: Majority of the respondents have moderate to severe symptoms of dissociation, anxiety, depression and sleep disturbances along with other psychosocial issues or problems. They face the double burden of living with the uncertainty about the fate of their husbands and the challenges which are posed to her for ensuring not only the survival of her dependents but also a life of dignity for herself.
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