The suicide of Mandeep Kaur caught the eye of individuals world wide. Kaur, a girl of Sikh heritage from Utter Pradesh in northern India and dwelling within the US, posted a video on social media that later went viral, during which she claimed to have been abused by her husband for years (he denies the allegations).
Nonetheless the outpouring of on-line sympathy for this girl belies how the problems of home violence and abuse and psychological well being are perceived in Sikh communities, notably within the diaspora. As our literature evaluation within the UK has highlighted, there’s quite a lot of disgrace hooked up to girls of Sikh heritage experiencing home abuse and subsequent psychological well being issues.
Because of this, these points are not often correctly acknowledged as even being a Sikh healthcare problem and the ladies affected fairly often don’t get the assistance they want. This was notably the case throughout the pandemic. You’ll be able to even see that is in the best way such incidents of home abuse that do obtain publicity are sometimes categorised informally as referring to broader teams corresponding to Punjabis and even South Asians typically moderately than Sikhs particularly.
Analysis has lengthy recognized that suicide amongst girls of Sikh heritage within the UK is linked to the actual downside of home abuse and violence. There are additionally different cultural components which were linked to this deeply entrenched problem.
These embrace the monetary calls for positioned on newlywed girls by the apply of paying a dowry and protracted patriarchal attitudes that result in tolerance of abuse and violence by dad and mom of males. Unfulfilling expectations from marriage and lack of know-how and help from the family and group can be issues.
On the similar time, Sikhs usually face cultural obstacles to accessing psychological well being companies. Analysis has proven some Sikhs could understand themselves as warriors who ought to have the ability to overcome and psychological misery by themselves, not as victims of psychological in poor health well being.
Sikhs dwelling in western international locations may additionally really feel medical companies don’t perceive their tradition. And so they can concern that reporting home abuse may very well be adopted by breaches in confidentiality that will expose their points to the remainder of the group.
Discussing psychological well being points publicly is commonly thought-about to deliver behzti (dishonour) to the household. Analysis exhibits that first era immigrants and older generations exhibit a selected lack of know-how of their youngsters’s psychological well being wants on this respect.
One resolution to this downside could be for psychological well being companies to recruit extra Sikh employees who’ve the cultural information to cope with the community-specific points, notably these created by stigma. Medical suppliers may also work with native temples to achieve out and provide such companies.
However we shouldn’t assume that each Sikh girl needs a Sikh therapist, or perhaps a South Asian therapist. The truth is, concern of publicity would possibly really imply Sikh girls would moderately communicate to somebody outdoors of their tight-knit group. What is crucial is that girls are given the selection, can communicate to therapists in their very own language and are reassured that companies are confidential.
Such options can solely go to date, nevertheless. Solely by recognising that there’s a problem with home abuse and subsequent psychological well being points that must be addressed can the Sikh group work nearer with healthcare suppliers to stop girls turning into victims once more
Non secular locations ought to be a key level of help for Sikh girls, and there at the moment are spiritual Sikh organisations working to make sure girls keep secure in these areas. If temples and accredited psychological suppliers working collectively in an atmosphere freed from disgrace and denial can grow to be the norm, then girls of Sikh heritage usually tend to obtain the help they want earlier. And maybe instances like that of Mandeep Kaur will grow to be much less widespread.
Harjinder Kaur-Aujla is affiliated with UCU Union as Department President. Co-founder of Shabd, UK. She wish to specific gratitude to: Dr Christopher Wagstaff and Dr Tarsem Cooner (College of Birmingham) for general tutorial mentorship.
Members from Sikh Tutorial and Researcher Community, (SARN) for empowering and self-less service; Sikh Scientists for spiritual insights and exterior mentorship; Professor Farzana Shain and Dr Kate Lillie preliminary formulation and PhD recommendation;
Stephen Harris (The Dialog) for his persistence and enhancing recommendation.
Christopher Wagstaff and Kate Lillie don’t work for, seek the advice of, personal shares in or obtain funding from any firm or organisation that will profit from this text, and have disclosed no related affiliations past their tutorial appointment.