19 September, 2018

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Only Korea and Sri Lanka Listed With Higher Female Suicide Rates Than China

By Heidi Miller –

Suicide: The Unexpected But Proven Result

Heidi Miller

The latest Human Rights Report on China (2010) from the Department of State links the One Child Policy with high female suicide rates in China: A high female suicide rate continued to be a serious problem. According to the World Bank and the World Health Organization, there were approximately 500 female suicides per day in 2009. The Beijing Suicide Research and Prevention Center reported in 2009 that the suicide rate for females was three times higher than for males. Many observers believed that violence against women and girls, discrimination in education and employment, the traditional preference for male children, birth-limitation policies, and other societal factors contributed to the high female suicide rate. Women in rural areas, where the suicide rate for women was three to four times higher than for men, were especially vulnerable.

Stop for a minute and think about it: 500 female suicides per day in 2009. That’s 3,500 suicides per week. Fifteen thousand per month; 182,500 suicides per year. If the rate has remained constant throughout the years, we are looking at millions of females taking their own lives in a matter of decades.

The World Health organization put together atable to show the suicide rates per 100,000 by country and gender, using the most recent information available to them in 2011. There were only two other countries listed with higher female suicide rates than China: Korea and Sri Lanka. There were forty-seven countries listed with higher male suicide rates than China. Among these were many European countries, the United States, and Canada.

There was only one other country listed (other than China, of course) that had a higher female suicide rate than male suicide rate. That country was Sao Tome and Principe. (If you have never heard of that country, don’t worry. I hadn’t either. It’s an island off the west coast of central Africa.) This country reported no male suicides and a very small amount of female suicides.

So what is it about China that makes it have 1) one of the highest female suicide rates in the world and 2) a female suicide rate that is higher than the male suicide rate?

The people of China have had a difficult modern history. There was the Cultural Revolution and the embracing of Communism. The Communist regime, while promising freedom and wealth to all, actually accomplished the opposite. But think about it: China isn’t the only country that has experienced a difficult past. Eastern Europe took a similar path to China’s and embraced Communism, causing a decline in its respective countries’ economies. There are many third-world countries that deal with poverty and need day in and day out. Plus, in recent years China has been opening up, becoming more modern, and even choosing to be more relaxed in its policies. You would think that these new trends would have the effect of bringing down the suicide rate.

What is one thing that differentiates China from the rest of the world? The One Child Policy. Imagine a woman aborting her child because that child is female, and then imagine that woman having to live with the guilt of her decision. Imagine a woman who desperately wants her daughter, but has that daughter forcibly stripped from her womb. Imagine a Chinese girl growing up knowing that her parents wished she were a boy, because then she would have a greater value. Imagine young girls being kidnapped and sold as brides. This does not sound like preservation of the value and dignity of a female life. This sounds like hopelessness and despair.  And China’s female suicide rate proves it.

*Heidi Miller is an attorney, currently working in Wisconsin. She enjoys international travel, cooking, spending time with family and friends, and turning everyday life into an adventure!( Courtesy Live Action News)

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Latest comments

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    A serious issue that need more attention than it gets. The issue of PTSD is often under estimated, especially in women and mental health issues are not discussed due to diagnosis and cultural issues. Mental health is the second biggest medical challenge (after cardio vascular) and even in the diaspora the rate of mental health challenges in certain community emerging from conflict tend to be much higher than others (dont hold me to this quote—>) and I think I have read that the rate of mental health issues among women in Tamil community in GTA is higher than many others.

    Cultural barriers and misconception on depression, lack of family support, lack of tools for health care professionals to deal with cultural communities, social stigma are some of the big issues and many feel that the issue is far bigger than what we think now..

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    Suicides is very common in Sri Lanka between both male and female. Using poison is the most common methodology among them. Most people tend to commit suicide for many reasons but they all regret and suffer few moments after taking poison. Then from that very moment they began to start the fight to live. The effort put by doctors and the medical staff to save them is very valuable. The patient will have to undergo very painful period.
    I think Media has to educate people showing how these people fight back for the lives. The amount of pain and suffering they, medical staff the parents and friends under go has to be shown to the people who are living. The awareness about these situation will help the people who commit suicide to think at-least one more time. The media has a huge responsibility to create this awareness so it is there duty to educate people.

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    High time we have good councelers for the people thouse who have Family, Drinking, Love loss, failing achivments, pregnancy, lack of children, and drug pedeling kids. We have to think seriously and have a proper Dept Or Association for this. There are so many different problems I am sure our Doc. can hanndel these.People must openly admit and consult, This should be very cheep for every on to come.

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    High time we have good councelers for the people thouse who have Family, Drinking, Love loss, failing achivments, pregnancy, lack of children, and drug pedeling kids. We have to think seriously and have a proper Dept Or Association for this. There are so many different problems I am sure our Doc. can hanndel these.People must openly admit and consult, This should be very cheep for every on to come. while I am writing this , Over the news 29/03/2012 they announced a young couple in Hatton Sri Lanka has jump to the train. This is a serious matter.

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    The latest is also a couple hanging themselves to death in a hotel room. Countries that have gone through major economic overhaul seem to have high suicide rates. Sri Lanka opened it’s economy in 1977, Korea’s economy got a tremendous overhaul and President Jiang Zemin decided to change the economic philosophy of China in the 1990’s and since then there has been a general trend of increased suicide rates. Japan went through a similar phase but has a good response network. Could it be because of the social pressures the drastic economic overhaul brings or because of the religious beliefs (Buddhist / Mahayana) philosophy of these countries i.e. what cannot be achieved in this life will be fulfilled during the next? Sri Lanka’s suicide rates were much higher in the 1990’s I think, though no one talked about it much and when they did, belatedly. There is a suicide response/counseling network in place but obviously it not sufficient to meet the scope of the problem.

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