The personal effect of our Gaza policy

Journalist and academic Rami Almeghari (and a friend of mine in Gaza) writes about the dire state of health inside the Strip:

“Sometimes we feel we need mental health care, as the pressure we face is so immense,” said Sumaiya Habib, a mental health worker at the Gaza–based Palestinian Center for Democracy and Conflict Resolution (PCDCR).

Ra’eda Wishah, who is in charge of the Violence Against Women explained that she has been dealing with traumatized women for the past few years:

“The most notable psychological problem women here are facing is repression and psychological stress. As I began observing such cases, I realized that certain sectors of society consider violence against women something normal.”

Wshah maintained that the most apparent mental health problems for women have been caused by spouses in the households in the form of violence, either physical or verbal:

“Despite such mental health problems being widespread among women in Gaza, many women are hesitant to report their own bad experiences. The reason for this is the women’s initial distrust toward mental health workers. Some other women fear to talk because of possible harassment by family members.”

The society’s acceptance of violence against women is not widespread. In order to attract the local women to the center’s mental health care, the PCDCR organizes enlightenment workshops throughout the various Gaza regions. It has also announced a toll-free hot line, so women can call without giving their names.