Divorced women less likely to end their lives

Divorce or widowhood is less likely to drive women towards committing suicide.

Rashi Aditi Ghosh/ ZRG

If you thought that divorce, widowhood or estrangement may drive women towards committing suicide, than you are terribly wrong. In fact, as per the latest National Crime Records Bureau report, they are less likely to commit suicide than married women in India.

A Zee Research Group analysis of the NCRB report throws a surprising trend that the suicide rate amongst divorced women is lower in comparison to women in other categories during 2011-2010. Even more heartening is the fact that these rates have dipped to 729 in 2011 from 782 cases in 2010, which is a decline of 6.8 per cent.

That sense of responsibility and attachment is growing and acting as a primary catalyst behind diving suicide rates amongst divorced women has been highlighted by women rights activists.

“After divorce a woman lives for the upbringing of her children and sense of responsibility grows. She thinks thrice before suicide as the end of her life would lead her children to a crisis situation,” said Ranjana Kumari, a noted women rights activist from New Delhi.

Similarly, Anajli Pawar, director of Sakhi, a women and children centric NGO notes: “Women grow stronger after divorce; majority of women respect the fact that they are free so start afresh with new possibilities rather than committing suicides.”

Even though the tendency of committing suicides is less in divorced women but it is still higher – 31.4 per cent - as compared to men with similar marital status.

As a matter of fact, marriages are turning out to be a nightmare for both genders. The report points that both men and women are prone to suicides after marriage in comparison to other victims with different social status.

While 70% of suicide victims were married, the percentage share of suicides committed by married women is 68.2 per cent and by married men at 71 per cent in 2011.

“Men usually fail to manage their financial problems after marriage, so rather than facing allegations from the society they prefer to kill themselves out of honour,” adds Ranjana.

Explaining the male psyche and the cause for higher suicide rates amongst men, Dr Sameer Malhotra, the head of mental health department at Max Hospital, says, “Men lack social support and thus can’t vent their feelings. It’s true that the level of depression in men may be lesser than women, but isolation and loneliness in men leads them to opt for lethal ways for a solution in comparison to women.”

NCRB report also suggests that in 2011, at least 16 people committed suicide every hour and the total figure was 1.35 lakh.

States like West Bengal, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka accounted for 56.2% of the total suicides in the country while West Bengal recorded the highest number of suicide victims.

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