Notes on Theoretical Explanation of Adjustment


Theoretical Explanation of Adjustment

After being molested, raped, frequently battered by husband, constantly mocked at/harassed by eve-teasers, on being recovered after kidnapping, and/or after living in Rescue Home for weeks/months, how do women adjust themselves? How do they face social stigma, disgrace, shame, and grief? Disgrace and stigma are intense pain-generating emotions.

Emotions are constituted in part through their relation to social systems and in part through their relation to personality systems. Pain-suffering is thus faced in the social context in which it occurs and adjustment is made possible in the context of social relationships and culture.


Two theories may broadly be referred to in providing a perspective on suffering humiliation and pain after exploitation, on adjustment after facing crime/disgrace/stigma: the Symbolic Interaction Theory and the grieve because you were not a willing party to the event, rather you were the victim of circumstances” may reduce the grief of the victim.

It has been said, not without reason, that there is never just a single human response to pain / suffering / humiliation, but there always is a substantial range of responses, each of which expresses feelings of grief/loss of respect.

The victim who suffers lacks flexibility to deal easily with relationship issues. The ‘others’ around her perceive her grief/suffering/loss of respect in the context of existing cultural norms and the emotional control used by the victim to face the ‘event’ (rape, molestation, assault, etc.).

Victims of eve-teasing, molestation and husbands’ beating may face one type of reaction but victims of rape, or kidnapping with a few day’s stay in a kidnapper’s house may face totally different reactions of their family members and kin.


If the victim is found to be a ‘willing partner’ in the crime, they make themselves less available to her. Thus, besides suffering loss of prestige, the victim also faces the problem of symbolic reactions of others to her grief.

The anticipation of reactions of family members, kin, neighbours, peers, working colleagues, etc. to her actions and activities necessitates paying attention to possible reactions to her behaviour and lifestyle. Her subjectivity is socially-induced which, in turn, leads to conformity to societal expectations.

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