Women and Health
(Q.4): In Terms of Health Care, how are the Experiences of Women Who have Suffered Intimate Partner Violence Similar to the Experiences of Women Who have been Diagnosed with Cancer?
Intimate partner violence and cancer are two issues among others that have brought much concern in societies worldwide. These two issues occur in every society and create a social and health concern due to the detrimental effects which they cause to the health status of the victims and the social stress that is suffered by those who are close to the victims. The experiences of women who have suffered intimate partner violence are similar to the experiences of women who have been diagnosed with cancer in several ways.
First, intimate partner violence and cancer are both issues that affect the lives of women. Intimate partner violence causes injury to women physically, psychologically, and emotionally. Likewise, women who are diagnosed with cancer undergo difficult times and are affected emotionally, psychologically, and physically when treatment, such as chemotherapy, begins. This means that both intimate partner violence and the diagnosis of cancer in women affect the health status of women in significant ways and impair their normal functioning (Gandhi & et.al, 2010 ).
Recent research has indicated that the association of intimate partner violence and health related issues to illnesses, such as breast cancer and cervical cancer, exist. Studies have shown that the exposure of women to intimate partner violence increases their risk to cervical cancer. The relationship that exists between intimate partner violence and cancer in women originates from the fact that the two issues cause significant stress for women and makes them go into depression and adopt certain behaviors, such as smoking and drinking, which increase their risk of having cancer. In addition, women who experience intimate partner violence have been found to give less adherence to cancer screening (Gandhi & et.al, 2010 ).
In their study, Joy Rittmayer and Gayle Roux state that medical intervention have concentrated on emergency room staff treatment of battered women, while many of the victims of intimate partner violence visit the primary care health personnel (Roux, 1999). In their finding, they argue that the goal of intervention from health personnel shifted from validating the existence of abuse. In trying to address the issue of intimate partner violence, the authors identify three issues that occur similarly to the case when cancer diagnosis is made. These include trying to address the issues successfully, rationalizing why attempts of assessment failed, and addressing the diagnosis in different ways (Roux, 1999).
In her study, Grace Wyshak states that it has become increasingly known that the issues of violence, mental disorder, psychiatric and psychological distress, and substance abuse have become global problems. This problem has also become prevalent among women (Wyshak, 2000). The diagnosis of cancer in women, just like the above mentioned issues, intimate partner violence included, is a global problem. Therefore, they all seek intensive research that can help increase prevention, especially for women, since they are the most affected (Wyshak, 2000).
Up to date, the appropriate health-service response to violence against women and to cancer related illness has not been sufficient. The health sector, despite its significant role, still plays a secondary and tertiary role in prevention of these. Garcia C. Moreno, in her article, states that the health sector still lacks appropriate intervention for intimate partner violence but should be streamlined to contribute effectively to the prevention of the violence (García-Moreno, 2002).
(Q.6): Why is an Understanding of the Interactions between Women and Their Environment Crucial to Women’s Health?
The understanding of the interaction between women and their environment is crucial to women’s health needs. In order to provide better and more effective health interventions for specific populations, there must be an understanding of the factors that puts the population at risk and the factors that can be relied upon to alleviate the risk factors and provide efficient health services. In his study of Women, health, and the environment, Bonnie Kettel states, “Any adequate conceptualization of women’s health involves women’s total well-being” (Kettel, 1996). This means that for proper health service to be provided for women, both natural and constructed environment in which they operate must be well understood. Understanding of women’s environment will assure that all policy arrangements are directed towards the health implications of the interaction of women and their environment. Women’s reproductive health is heavily dependent on the environmental conditions that exist around them. For instance, when a woman is pregnant, the health of the unborn baby heavily depends on the environment in which the mother lives and works. The environment that a pregnant woman occupies also determines her health status during the pregnancy. If the environment is not safe and does not provide the necessary conditions to support the pregnancy, the lives of both mother and unborn child are at risk. Therefore, an understanding of the environment is important for the health of women (Kettel, 1996).
It has been proven that women, especially in the developing world, are the ones who are mostly involved in agriculture and production. This means that their interaction with the environment determines their health status. With the global climate change, women are more affected due to their dependence on primary resources like agriculture. As Kristy Duncan states, issues of adverse temperatures, heat-related health impacts, decrease in nutritional health, and respiratory health issues among others affect women due to their interaction with the environment (Duncan, 2007). Therefore, this means that the environment in which the women operate must be well understood in order to provide them with better healthcare services that range from preventive care to treatment interventions (Duncan, 2007).
Understanding the environment where women live, work, and do their businesses is remarkably crucial in determining the type of health care services that is dedicated to them. Understanding the environment does not just mean studying the natural and the constructed environments where women live. It also means understanding the importance of the relationship that exists between women and the environment within their sphere. This means looking at all the factors that either put women at risk of developing illnesses or promote their health. It also means understanding the manner in which women interact with the environment. In her obituary, it is stated that Barbara Seaman was an ardent contributor in women’s health issues (Lippman, Ford, & O’Grady, 2008). Her valuable contribution did not just stem from fight for quality healthcare and medication. She indeed studied the environment in which women live and work and how that environment affects their health. She then used that information to ensure that women received quality mediations and safe drugs. The contributions of Barbara Seaman underscored the importance of understanding women and their environment in order to provide quality health care (Lippman, Ford, & O’Grady, 2008).