TW: Domestic violence, mentions of suicide
Last week, Sher-E Punjab radio host Paul Brar went viral when he shared his views on domestic violence, and specifically the case of Mandeep Kaur.
For those not familiar with the story, Mandeep Kaur died by suicide after suffering years of abuse from her husband.
It’s hard to imagine that an issue such as domestic violence would be so divisive, yet Mr. Brar’s misogynistic and harmful rhetoric had viewers calling in to agree.
It was another blow to a community, specifically South Asian women, that lately seems to be taking one punch after the other.
For those who missed the segment, Mr. Brar suggested that Mandeep Kaur’s husband Ranjodhbeer Singh Sandhu, deserved to have his side of the story heard. The implication was that since he had not been charged with a criminal offence, that we needed to lay off of him.
Apparently, Brar either has not seen the videos of abuse posted by Mandeep or has seen them and decided that by hearing Ranjodbeer’s story, we might understand why she supposedly deserved it.
This type of conditioning and logic starts at home, and spreads through our airwaves.
Mandeep Kaur is just the latest woman to have died at the hands of her husband. This month we have also been grappling with the news of Kamaljit Sandhu also allegedly murdered by her husband in Abbotsford and Sania Khan who last month was killed by her estranged partner in Chicago.
What appals me the most isn’t that these views were shared by Brar and that members of the South Asian community phoned in to agree, but that nothing appears to change when it comes to the acceptance of harmful views regarding women and intimate partner violence in relationships.
The mentality in our community is ‘what happens behind closed doors should stay behind closed doors,’ and that we shouldn’t get involved in other people’s lives. This is still a dominant sentiment in our culture despite the continued violence against women.
As we witnessed during Paul Brar’s tirade on Sher-E Punjab radio, there is a community of men and women who continue to uphold misogynistic views and support the notion that what happened between a couple is a private matter.
So many people enable the mouthpieces of misogyny to gain a bigger platform.
This is why it’s not a surprise to see that there are Andrew Tates among the South Asian community. There are still many who believe that a woman should be seen and not heard and that a man can do what he likes to his wife because she is essentially property.
The story of the privileged brown man is one we have seen played out in our very own homes.
Raise your hand if you have heard some variation of the following viewpoints reiterated in your home and/or in the SA community:
- Women belong in the home and are the property of men.
- Rape victims and victims of abuse are partially to blame for what happened to them.
- Women are not equal to men and should not have the same rights.
- Women need to obey the men in their lives.
Do any of these sentiments sound familiar? Most of these have been echoed by Tate but are also familiar to many SA women who have grown up being made to feel less than because of their gender.
The Paul Brar and Andrew Tate’s of the world can be found in our own homes and they all share a similar sentiment on the place of women in society and in the home.
These men have learnt that misogyny and victim blaming are okay because we continue to coddle them. The uproar around Brar’s callous statements is warranted but let’s not pretend that he is the only one holding these views.
The real work begins in our own homes and the tough conversations we need to be having with the family members in our life.
Until we start calling out the misogyny in our own homes, how can we expect to hear anything different from members of the community? This isn’t a conversation that women alone need to be having especially since it’s not always safe for us to do so.
Men, it’s time for you to step up.
For the men who are wondering how they can be part of the solution here are some things to consider:
- Are you treated differently in the home? Call it out. We need you to promote gender equity in the home and be an ally to the women in your life. So tell your bibi you will make your own roti and put away your own dishes.
- Talk to the women in your life. Do you know how stories of abuse impact them? No? Then ask. Understand their perspective so that you can be more aware of situations where you can and should stand up for the women in your life.
- Do your friends make off-colour remarks about women? CALL THEM OUT. It’s not okay to talk down about the women in your life.
- Read a book or listen to a podcast written or produced by a woman. We’re used to the dominant opinion about everything coming from a man, if we want to change the status quo then it’s up to you to diversify where you are getting your information and whom you are learning from.
Change is possible but it’s time we took off our rose coloured glasses and acknowledged that men like Brar and Tate are a product of our community and in order to resolve the issue we need to take a good hard look at how we are still perpetuating gender norms and inequality in the home.
All hope is not lost but it is time to get to work. And in the meantime, Tate has been banned from major social networking platforms and Brar has since been suspended and an investigation is ongoing by Shere E Punjab.
Here's to hoping that taking microphones away from men who enable abusers will slowly chip away at some of these values and ideals
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