The Psychological Attention Service of the Municipal Information Center for Women of Vicar referred 14 women from the municipality who were victims of gender-based violence to the University of Granada for evaluation of neuropsychological sequelae.
This is the project called "Believe", which examines the neuropsychological as well as neurocognitive consequences of cases of violence against women. This study is the first to use Structural Magnetic Resonance techniques and a 'whole-brain' methodology.
The CMIM indicates that most neuroimaging research with female survivors has focused on a particular area of the brain related to post-traumatic stress. This project has a broad objective. It will analyze the entire brain and provide new insights into the sequelae caused by violence.
It is anticipated that this research will make a sample at least 800 women aged 18 to 62 years, 14 of which are Vicar. After a first evaluation at the CMIM, they will be able to analyze their post-traumatic stress levels. A neuropsychological study was performed to determine the possible variables. This is the final test before a Structural Magnetic Resonance, which will evaluate their entire brain. These tests are being done at the Mind, Brain and Behavior Center of the Cartuja Campus, Granada.
The final phase of the project will see the introduction of an online, specific psychological treatment that is free and anonymous. It will include 24 sessions for women who are experiencing complex post-traumatic stress. Although this phase is not yet complete, it is possible that it will soon.
Natalia Hidalgo, researcher, said that brain sequelae were a common problem in women who have survived gender-based violence. These women also have brain alterations, which she explained was due to certain adverse experiences, including strangulation attempts, post-traumatic stress, brain injuries suffered by partners, and traumas during childhood.
These results were published in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence. They show that head trauma in women who have suffered from gender-based violence is a complex and paradigmatic case. The brain must deal with trauma not only caused by physical injury but also the effects of early abuse. This adds to the fact that women are more vulnerable because of their skulls and axons.
Antonio Bonilla (mayor of Vicar) highlighted the importance and municipal collaboration of this study, as well as mentioning the need for continued advancement in the psychological care of victims.
Twenty women attend workshops developed by the Municipal Information Center for Women, (CMIM), of Vicar. They focus on reflection and self-esteem. In collaboration with the Andalusian women's institute, these workshops will be held weekly for two hours. They are managed by the Official Colleges of Psychology of Western and Eastern Andalusia. There will be 11 sessions total, which began on April 28th and will conclude at the beginning next July.
There are more than twenty-six women participating in the sessions. Some have restraining order and some have moved to Vicar from divorce. Many of them have dependent children between the ages of 20 and 65. Each of them has a unique life story, but they all agree that fear can't continue to be a paralyzing factor in their lives.
Maria del Carmen Garcia Garcia, the Councilor for Women and Antonio Bonilla, both highlighted the importance these workshops in supporting women who have been abused. They are a tool for empowerment, strengthening self-esteem, and the ability to make informed decisions.