Mourning the Loss of Mandeep Kaur

[CONTENT WARNING: abuse, suicide, domestic violence]

In the wake of Sania Khan’s murder and Mandeep Kaur’s recent death, we are continuing to grieve the pain of losing our community members to gender-based violence.

Our collective histories as gender-justice organizations tell us that experiences like Mandeep Kaur’s and Sania Khan’s are distressingly common. No culture or ethnic group has a monopoly on gender-based violence: the consequences of systemic oppression and patriarchy affect us all, regardless of our identity markers. Yet we also know that domestic and sexual violence occurs in South Asian communities at higher rates, and that such cases go underreported because of the failure of traditional social service systems to reach our community and the intense family and social pressure to preserve marriages. These realities play out every day in conversations between our organizations and the survivors we work with.

Mandeep Kaur was a resident of Richmond Hill, Queens, a neighborhood with a significant South Asian and Indo-Caribbean population. Recently, a video of Mandeep— in which she tearfully recounted feelings of hopelessness after being subjected to years of abuse from her husband— has been circulating online, further amplifying her story and the details surrounding her death.

Mandeep Kaur’s online videos, much like Sania Khan’s TikTok account, have reignited conversations about the ways in which gender-based violence manifests within the diaspora. As the #MeToo movement and other viral campaigns indicate, survivors often turn to social media as a source of community and healing. Yet in many cases, perpetrators of violence react to these public appeals for support by inflicting more harm. As Mandeep Kaur’s videos continue to capture attention, we feel the need to reaffirm that we as a community should not require the visual imagery of violence to prove one’s survivorship. Instead, we hope to actively honor Mandeep and Sania by centering their lives and the legacy they leave behind.

This is a moment of deep reflection for us all. As we mourn, we must turn to one another and commit to strengthening our communities. We must create the circumstances in which a survivor can readily reach out for support— and we must aspire to a future in which the underlying roots of this harm are altogether alleviated.

In Solidarity,

Sakhi for South Asian Women
Jahajee Sisters
South Queens Women’s March

If you and/or your loved ones are looking for support, we encourage you to reach out to the various organizations and resources listed below.

Local South Asian Organizations

Jahajee Sisters | New York City (Queens and the Bronx)
Call or Text: (347)-201-4931 (Weekdays, 9AM-5PM EDT)

Manavi | New Jersey
Call: (732) 435-1414 (24-Hour Hotline)

Sakhi for South Asian Women | New York City
Call: 1 (212) 868-6741 (Weekdays, 10AM-6PM EDT)
Text: 1 (305) 204-1809

South Queens Women’s March | New York City
130-01 Liberty Avenue Unit 1R
Richmond Hill, NY 11419
Call: 929-367-0010

Additional Resources

Suicide & Crisis Lifeline: Call 988 to be connected to trained counselors that can support if you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts or a mental health crisis.

NYC WELL: call 888-692-9355 for free, confidential, and 24/7 service that provides crisis counseling and suicide prevention counseling.

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Helpline: Call 800-950-NAMI (6264) for free, nationwide peer-support service providing information, resource referrals and support to people living with a mental health condition, their family members and caregivers, mental health providers and the public.

Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741 for free, 24/7 support from a crisis counselor.