Sania Khan’s Death Struck a Chord With South Asian Women


  • Sania Khan’s loss of life was extensively mentioned on social Media and in nationwide information retailers.
  • However home violence just isn’t new to South Asian ladies. Many seldom report it. 
  • Khan’s loss of life unfold like wildfire as a result of she was relatable, home violence consultants advised Insider.

Information of Sania Khan’s loss of life unfold like wildfire within the days after police found her lifeless physique in her Chicago house. 

On social Media platforms, South Asian ladies who by no means knew Khan paid tribute to her — a 29-year-old photographer from Tennessee who final month had been shot useless by her ex-husband. Pakistani celebrities spoke out. And home violence organizations catering particularly to South Asian communities launched statements expressing sorrow.

Khan’s story hit residence for a lot of throughout the South Asian group as a result of home violence will be an on a regular basis prevalence, in line with consultants.

For example, within the US one in each 4 ladies will expertise gender-based violence. However “for the South-Asian diaspora in the United States, the statistic is two in every five women,” stated Kavita Mehra, government director of Sakhi for South Asian Women, a New York-based nonprofit that gives providers and assets to ladies affected by violence. 

“So what we know is that our community is seeing higher rates of violence, and that women in our community are experiencing higher rates of violence than the national average,” Mehra advised Insider.

The stigma of home violence in South Asian communities

However home violence is so stigmatized throughout the group that South Asian ladies hardly ever speak about or report it. Many aren’t even conscious that they could be experiencing it within the first place. 

The time period “domestic violence” is oftentimes onerous to understand for South Asian ladies within the Boston space, for instance, in line with Divya Chaturvedi and Renu Tewarie, co-executive administrators of Saheli Boston.

“Many times we have to ask questions like, ‘Did he slap you? Did he pinch you? Did he put hands on your neck?'” Tewarie advised Insider, detailing a number of the interactions she and Chaturvedi have with ladies who name in to the middle. “So they don’t even know what abuse is because it’s very normal for them.”

It is even more durable to know when home violence presents itself in a much less tangible type, consultants advised Insider. Verbal abuse, for instance, continues to be home violence, Tewarie and Chaturvedi stated, but it surely won’t depart seen marks on or adjustments to the physique.

However South Asian communities largely worth the nuclear household and binary gender roles, they stated, so there’s a lot of disgrace related to figuring out and talking out towards any form of violence throughout the residence or an intimate relationship, consultants advised Insider. 

Typically, as an example, ladies name in on the helpline and inform Tewarie and Chaturvedi of the abuse they’re going through at residence. However when Tewarie and Chaturvedi begin speaking to them about their choices and assets, the ladies reject the strategies as a result of they fear about being seen as an outcast of their group.

“Shame can serve as a social handcuff from a survivor coming forward, because there is such a deep amount of shame that is projected onto a survivor, shame of the family, shame of community, and not being able to have a safe space to be able to share their experiences,” Mehra advised Insider. 

The opposite social handcuff will be obligation to the household and to familial issues.

The idea that a lady has a obligation to at least one’s household “will then often force survivors to live in a place of fear and harm and trauma, when those are just social indicators that really prevent a survivor from coming forward,” Mehra stated. 

That is partly why Khan’s case struck a chord with the South Asian group, ladies who run home violence shelters advised Insider.

Khan, a Pakistani American lady, publicized intimate particulars of her divorce from Ahmed on social Media platforms like TikTok and Instagram, the place she had upwards of twenty-two,000 followers.

“Going through a divorce as a South Asian Woman feels like you failed at life sometimes,” she wrote in a single video. “The way the community labels you, the lack of emotional support you receive, and the pressure to stay with someone because ‘what will people say’ is isolating. It makes it harder for women to leave marriages that they shouldn’t have been in to begin with.”

To her followers, Khan got here throughout as relatable, consultants say 

She amassed followers by way of her trustworthy portrayal of her expertise as a South Asian lady coping with divorce and different stigmatized points. 

“People gravitated toward her messaging because she was so vulnerable and courageous,” Mehra stated. 

It was additionally her popularity that helped propel her message and her public picture to the highest. Talking with Insider, mates described her as a heat individual with infectiously optimistic power. She consistently championed her mates and inspired them to go after what they needed. She made folks imagine in themselves, and she or he took strides to make her personal life as thrilling because it might be.

“She’s so relatable in the sense that so many women are going through some of those questions, or the lack of support, or questioning the relationship, or they are not happy,” Chaturvedi stated. “She became the voice for those women in documenting her struggles, what she was going through.”

“It’s hard when you see this person with so much potential, right?” Chaturvedi added. “This young person with so much potential and her level of compassion and what she was doing, and to have that snatched away with the senseless violence, it leaves a hole in your heart.”

It isn’t simply her followers or mates who had been mesmerized by her presence. When she died, Media orgs everywhere in the nation latched on to inform her story.

However, in line with South Asian ladies who run home violence facilities everywhere in the nation, Khan’s case just isn’t out of the atypical — regardless of the Media consideration and response it is obtained. 

Home violence is rampant among the many South Asian group, and Khan occurred to encounter the highlight as a result of she’s relatable and leveraged social Media well. However loads of ladies have suffered the identical destiny with out producing the identical Media consideration or public curiosity. 

In 2020, for instance, chef and restaurant proprietor Garima Kothari was killed by her boyfriend in Jersey Metropolis. Her boyfriend had killed himself afterward. In contrast to Khan, nonetheless, Kothari didn’t get nationwide Media consideration when she died.

And simply days after Khan died, YouTuber Dana Alotaibi was killed by her ex-husband on the facet of a highway in Hawaii. Her ex-husband, a Marine, then tried to kill himself.

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