The Voice for South Asians affected by Family Violence | July 2022
Awaaz News & Updates
A Message from the Board
Hope you are all staying cool! The Awaaz team has been quite busy lately! Besides serving clients with diverse needs, we have been consistently researching new resources for them and connecting with agencies who can help us help them more effectively. As predicted by experts we have had more clients reach out to us this year than in the last two years of lockdowns and restrictions. We have realized that our suspicions were true. In the last two years many survivors had returned to their abusive homes in fear of the pandemic, especially those with children. In many cases perpetrators had taken advantage of their increased vulnerability and isolated them further. We are currently trying our best to address Domestic Violence ("DV") issues exacerbated by the pandemic.
We have also had couple of webinars and training sessions.
In the first one, legal experts, Crystal Chandler and Rebecca Perez from the Family Justice Center offered us valuable information about DV survivors’ rights, and various legal issues and resources pertaining to divorce and custody.
We also had an eye opening webinar on the Effects of DV on Children presented by Bianca Sapet of the P.E.A.C.E Initiative of San Antonio.
We are immensely grateful to our presenters for taking the time to inform and train us on such critical subjects. A special thanks to our adviser Jane Shafer for organizing these sessions.
In addition, Awaaz held and participated in various events.
We held an in-person information session for new volunteers in May where we made a presentation and were honored and humbled to hear the story of one of our clients.
A heartfelt thanks to the San Antonio Indian Nurses Association (SAINA) for inviting Awaaz to speak at their event on Human Trafficking and Intimate Partner Violence.
Bharti Patel from our Board represented us at the Texas Public Radio networking event held downtown.
Thanks to our grant writer on our Board of Directors, Jyotsna Sharma Srinivasan, Awaaz received a grant of $21,500 from the Texas Bar Foundation in May. This grant will enable us serve our clients more constructively.
As you might already know, we are a team of all volunteers and our services to our clients are free. Please come forward to help us help our community in whatever capacity you can.
The Awaaz Board
When Domestic Violence Leads to Death by Tapasi Misra
When this news broke, a friend called me and said “I knew there’s abuse amongst South Asians, but murder - why?” We are not privy to insider information but statistics tell us that a woman is gravely endangered when she leaves an abusive relationship. It is one of the primary reasons many women are too afraid to leave regardless of their educational, economic or ethnic backgrounds. Sania, reportedly popular and bright, managed to leave and resume her career and life, free of abuse and violence. But her light was extinguished by a person who, now unable to exert power and control on her life, felt entitled to end it. We as a society need to come together to find ways to protect brave women like Sania even after they have left a violent household. They might have asserted their basic human right to live a life with dignity and peace, but they are often powerless in the face of a determined predator with a gun. Women like Saina need more resources from society to help them live peaceful, independent and productive lives.
For details on Sania Khan's story please refer to the Featured Article section.
Women Trapped in NRI Marriages by Jyotsna Sharma
An often heard story that is told among women is of an expat Indian man who returns to India to find a bride with help of family. He then goes back, while the wife languishes and remains in India, waiting, sometimes indefinitely, for a passport and visa to join her husband in a foreign country. Traditionally in India, a woman after marriage would live with her in-laws, even in her husband’s absence. It’s not always easy for the newly married woman adjusting to her adopted family, sometimes perfect strangers, especially if the household insists on molding her to fit age old concepts of gender roles. When she finally joins the husband in the foreign land, gets to the U.S., she often finds her husband preoccupied at work, struggling with new work and a social system. More often than not she finds him distant, negligent and demanding. Meanwhile, she navigates domesticity in a new culture, trying to please her husband and making excuses for his behavior. But if there is emotional or physical abuse, her problems escalate and she finds herself in a dangerous situation and isolated, with no recourse or help. Though women usually bear the burden of the housework, the benefits that a NRI man has of marrying an Indian woman is free domestic help that could be considered “modern slavery” or “modern trafficking”. The difficulties faced by the woman are the focus of an excellent article "Some Legal and Institutional Issues on Ensuring Protection of Women in the NRI Marriages" by Desai et al. (2022). It provides data from the Ministry of External Affairs and other sources on Indians living abroad and its efforts to help women. The authors also notes the difficulties women encounter in the Indian courts and how they need to work with international courts.
Want to be featured in the Awaaz Newsletter? Submit a short entry to firstname.lastname@example.org by the 10th of each month for the chance to be featured! Submissions can be kept anonymous upon request.
Georgia man traveled to Chicago and fatally shot ex-wife at Streeterville condo, then killed himself as cops arrived