(August 20, 2022): Over the past two weeks, Mandeep Kaur’s video has circulated on Punjabi media networks, highlighting the need for our sangat to have critical conversations addressing the societal and communal normalization of domestic violence. Mandeep Kaur’s disclosure of being a survivor of ongoing abuse, and her decision to take her own life, is not rare. Not only is it unfortunately more common than many members of our community would like to believe, but abuse is often accepted, with survivors either victimized as being individuals with little to no recourse, or blamed for being the targets of violence that they could have avoided.
Instead of preventing survivors from defining support and healing for themselves, and limiting their options in terms of how they move forward, we must support services and resources which address the cultural, legal, and socio-economic barriers to their healing, and facilitate ways for them to exercise their rightful agency as survivors who are in control of their own lives.
The World Sikh Organization of Canada is committed to not only continuing to support our community through our peer-to-peer Sikh Family Helpline, but to also expanding the means through which we advocate for survivors of domestic violence. It is through community programming, workshops, and initiatives that we can facilitate these crucial conversations which challenge the values, beliefs, and norms which allow toxic masculinity, sexism, and exploitation to perpetuate in our homes, community spaces, and Gurdwaras.
We call on the sangat to uphold their commitment to Sikh principles of gender equality by committing to raise awareness of domestic abuse among our youth, elders, and peers, prevent it from occurring by being active bystanders who disrupt intergenerational patterns of trauma, and by responding to domestic violence and intimate partner abuse by believing survivors when they step forward, and standing in solidarity with them.
To all survivors, we believe you, and we stand with you.