Pressure on the rise

21.11.2014 | By Natalia Davydenko

Having just recovered from the traumas caused by the military conflicts of the 20th century our society entered a new stage of psychologically painful experience

The circumstances that we are currently living in seem to facilitate accumulation of frustration, which people have to take out on somebody, for example women (wives), elders or children. Experts we have spoken with are not inclined to call it a trend, but do not deny the fact of the problem. Moreover, they say that psychological traumas the society sustained in 2014 will surface in several years.

We have registered not more than a dozen of calls, when the arguments caused by political disagreements in a family ended in beatings, says Lisa Ray, PR Director of the Ukrainian Human Rights Protection Center La Strada. In fact, political disagreements could become the reason of a divorce. Ive seen people, who after living for years together, suddenly understand that they cannot live under the same roof because of the difference of their political views, tells psychologist Alina Kotenko.

Experts observe that the majority of people manage to more or less cope with the traumatizing experience. At the same time the number of those who failed to cope with this is on the rise.

People are on the edge; they have become more quick tempered and aggressive. They take it out on those who are weaker kids, subordinates, people in public transport, says Kotenko. Fortunately, this has not yet led to a large increase of domestic violence. Over six months of 2014 fewer statements on domestic violence were submitted to the police than in the 12 months of 2013 (65,000 against 160,000), according to the Ministry of Internal Affairs. However, these indicators should not be a reason for optimism. Everybody understands that if people are suffering from hooliganism in certain regions of the country they will not go to the police to report on domestic violence. The statistics of social workers is more sensitive. According to the Social Policy Ministry, over 9 months its agencies received 96,000 statements, while in 2013 there were 93,000. This could indicate that the number of domestic conflicts, which the Ukrainians thought to appeal to social workers, has grown. Nonetheless, the data of our hotline indicates that overall the situation with domestic violence in the country remains stable, says Ray.

Man handling against your family members or psychological bullying is an issue of common culture of a person. They do not depend on external factors. Under the influence of stress strong and harmonious families become even stronger and more harmonious. Meanwhile, the families, where people batter each other, tend to suffer even more, says Svitlana Bazheryna, Director of the Center of Psychological Help at Kyiv City Center of Social Services for Family, Children and Youth.

However, psychologists say that the echo of current events will sound a bit later. The hardest is still ahead. It is not only that many Ukrainian families lost and continue to lose their loved ones in the ATO. Thousands of soldiers will return home and wont be the same people their families remember them to be. As a rule it takes two to four years to adapt back to the peaceful life. This will be a difficult period for the families. In addition to that, as a study of Belarusian specialists, which involved veterans of the war in Afghanistan, showed only 40% are capable of coping with this process on their own. The rest requires professional assistance, says Kotenko.

Now is already the time to start thinking about comprehensive psychological support of the servicemen called to the duty and volunteers and also their families. The government, however, is slow on this. Children raise the biggest concerns among the psychologists. It is not important whether the war came to the house directly or the child witnesses the anger of parents steamed up about life or scared of the uncertainty. If such episodes are not worked out the children may grow up to be traumatized parents, while such parents cannot have happy children of their own. This means that we will feel the consequences of the present for the next twothree generations. We have only begun to come out of the generation chain started by the military conflicts of the 20th century. Now, we are starting a new one, sighs Kotenko.

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