The biggest issue for our generation


by Sunny
28th September, 2006 at 1:59 am    

Over a year ago I asked – who killed Navjeet Sidhu? A year after she committed suicide by throwing herself and her two kids underneath a train in Southall, a court is holding an inquest to find the same [via SM].

Navjeet’s death was so traumatic that six months later her mother committed suicide at the same spot.

Notes from the inquest make depresssing but unsurprising reading:

She suffered from depression, which began when she gave birth to a daughter rather than a son. Her condition became worse after her husband, Manjit, who left her to return to his native India, said that he would come back home only if he did not have to do any household chores. The court was told how Mr Sidhu, who arrived six minutes after the incident at Southall station, walked past the bodies of his wife and five-year-old daughter, Simran, to pick up the body of his 23-month-old son, Aman Raj, and take him to hospital.

British Asian women are three more times than average to commit suicide. It is clear what is needed here – a grassroots campaign to challenge this all-pervasive and sickening sexism that claims the lives of women every year. But there seems to be paralysis on ground level and with politicians; how exactly is change brought about? Or is a matter of waiting for the older generation village-mentality people to die out? The politicians can’t even bring themselves to bring about tougher legislation against forced marriages.

Taking a campaign to places of religious worship could help but the management, while stating that the religious texts call for sex equality, want to avoid the issue. They would rather talk about injustices in far-off lands than women dying under their noses.

I’ve come to the conclusion that educating the men is a worthless idea. You cannot teach old dogs new tricks. The only way forward would be to find ways to empower women to find help and support when they are faced with such family hostility. Thoughts? Opinions?


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  1. Rakhee — on 28th September, 2006 at 3:16 am  

    =>I’ve come to the conclusion that educating the men is a worthless idea. You cannot teach old dogs new tricks

    What a cop out. So what, you’re suggesting that men should just carry on and we should just set up a few helplines and shelters for the women who have to suffer this?

    If you’re going to run a grassroots campaign, you have to get to the roots of the problem. The roots here are:

    - men thinking women are inferior
    - women not having the power or courage to fight back
    - suffocating cultural restrictions
    - women simply feeling like they have no choice / no way out

    Men/family have a huge role to play in this. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that asian men have a hell of a lot of blood on their hands which is why the suicide rate amongst asian women is so high.

  2. Douglas Clark — on 28th September, 2006 at 3:29 am  

    Sunny,

    This is also what Martin Amis alluded to in his ‘Horridism’ piece in the Observer. Although, as usual, he was better on the polemic than the solution. I’d be interested to know how the suicide rate relates to age and class, as educationally, Muslim young women are probably one of Britains major success stories. Many of those I have met seem, at least, semi-detached from their religion. Kind of like Catholics really, picking and choosing. Whilst I have no doubt that their are some with an almost Protestant belief in Apocolypse, I seriously doubt that they are more than the imfamous ‘tiny minority’.

  3. realitist — on 28th September, 2006 at 8:39 am  

    im not sure ‘something needs to be done’; 3 times more likely, but what is that exactly? suppose the average rate is 0.04%, and its 0.12% for british-asian-women, that wouldnt mean its a serious enough problem to worry about.

  4. realitist — on 28th September, 2006 at 8:43 am  

    but really, it better be a large enough number to justify the headline “The biggest issue for our generation” – otherwise sunny you are guilty of editorialising something out of nothing

  5. Galloise Blonde — on 28th September, 2006 at 8:46 am  

    At the ‘Honour’ Crime conference I attended last week, Anna from Jasvinder Sanghera’s KarmaNirvana said that there was now an offence relating to driving someone to suicide by illtreatment, and that she hoped to see more prosecutions under this. I do too. Waiting for the attitudes of the older generation to die is lazy and cowardly: without a grassroots campaign, how do we make sure the young dogs aern’t learning their tricks from the old ones?

  6. realitist — on 28th September, 2006 at 8:53 am  

    here we go, i can see this is going to be another ‘discussion’ where the friends-of-humanity look down on others and bask in their superior morality and pretend to ‘solve’ problems that dont even exist, save a few weirdos who do dodgy things.

  7. realitist — on 28th September, 2006 at 9:02 am  

    If you’re going to run a grassroots campaign, you have to get to the roots of the problem. The roots here are:

    - men thinking women are inferior
    - women not having the power or courage to fight back
    - suffocating cultural restrictions
    - women simply feeling like they have no choice / no way out (Rakhee)

    I love it when lefties talk about getting to the ‘root of the problem’, which means nothing more than departing from obvious facts about reality, in search for imaginary, not well understood, but nevertheless certain to be significant ’causes’ or roots, that must be the real problem. The root of the problem, sweet-heart, are the dodgy fuckers who do these things. Nothing more nothing less.

    - women are inferior to men (thats just reality)

    - women cannot fight back without getting fucked up (men are just stronger)

    - suffocating cultural restrictions (and yet the vast majority of people under these restrictions or behind them do not suffer similar fates)

    - women feeling like they have no choice/no way out (this is often the case for humans in general)

  8. Rakhee — on 28th September, 2006 at 9:19 am  

    => The root of the problem, sweet-heart, are the dodgy fuckers who do these things. Nothing more nothing less.

    The root mistake of your argument, honey, is that people are not born as ‘dodgy fuckers’ – something causes this and a lot of it is driven by upbringing, culture and ridiculous social boundaries.

    As for women being inferior to men? Come, don’t be scared now, take my hand, I’ll lead you in to the 21st century.

  9. Chairwoman — on 28th September, 2006 at 9:47 am  

    Excuse me butting in on something I am totally unqualifid to comment on, but did realitist actually say that women are inferior?

  10. nyrone — on 28th September, 2006 at 9:55 am  

    I’m with Rakhee on this…that was a real bone-headed reply realist. Saying that the problem is simply “dodgy folk” is about as simplistic as Bush saying at the UN “Syria needs to stop doin that shit” to solve the assult in Lebanon.
    Problems are usually left alone and never solved precisely because the issues are deeply-rooted and require an introspection on many levels to comprehend carefully and adequately.

    Your particular example about “humans often feel like they have no way out” smacks of severe apathy and is really just a completely cynical view of a problem that can be realistically tackled in this country with a series of policies that educate men and safeguard and empower women. Surely you are aware of the various struggles through history that have been won through attrition and effort?

    I also reject the idea that we can simply ‘give up’ on educating men about these problems. That’s just seems like a totally counter-productive measure, because this is a 2-way process and as socially constructed beings men have the same ability to emphasise as women do, they have mothers and sisters too right?. If anything, isn’t it more important to seek changes within men? precisely because they are so stubborn on this issue? I experiencied a lot of this mentality when I was in India, and guys I knew who I thought were totally great would suddenly usher me to sit down as they commanded the ‘woman of the house’ to bring us our food and tea..*snap snap* I thought it was wrong and much to their horror, told them that.

    The culture is allowed to breed and fester there practically from birth, but I think like most things, it can be changed with enough attention paid to it.

  11. nyrone — on 28th September, 2006 at 9:57 am  

    chairwoman/

    yes…but watch how he twists it in his next post to say ‘that’s not what I meant! You guys interpreted it wrong! what I meant to say was…..”

  12. Bert Preast — on 28th September, 2006 at 9:59 am  

    Good god. I’m shocked. I remember reading about this, but had no idea it wasn’t an isolated case.

    Being a born chauvinist I have to admit I also consider women inferior to men. Men are stronger, faster, and most have some sort of grip on the laws of physics. However, we’re also a lazy bunch of bastards and that more than puts the ladies on an equal footing. Without my wife around to kick me up the arse once in a while my house and everything in it would long since have fallen apart, just a PC desk in a pile of overflowing ashtrays and rubble.

    I’m very grateful to her for this, which may be a root of the problem. My English mother beat, starved or fined me until I tidied my room, mowed the lawn, hoovered the house, stripped the wallpaper or whatever else. My wife’s Spanish mother did everything for her kids, and the son while not the eldest was given preferential treatment. He’s now a fine man, but it doesn’t always turn out thus and Spain has a large problem with domestic abuse, most noticable in the areas where divorce is still not so socially acceptable. Many wives have to do literally everything around the house except maybe change plugs and lightbulbs.

    I’m not saying for a moment it’s the mothers’ fault here. If you treat someone decently and they bite the hand that feeds that makes them the bastard, not the feeder. Just as I am grateful for how my wife cares for me, a mother must make sure her son is grateful for the care lavished on him. Perhaps another root cause is that in England it’s usual for a young man to live the bachelor life for a few years before marrying, whereas in Spain the norm is to live with one’s mother right up to when you marry and live with one’s wife?

    Sunny is right in that the women need support, they may feel trapped but there is an open culture out there that can and will help them to gain independence. They have to know it’s there and how to contact it. Also, I suspect women feel looking for help outside their family means their society will view them as a failure as a wife, that idea needs to be stamped on. They need support from everyone around them.

    For the men, harsher penalties. A man who would beat his wife would beat a child, a dog, in fact almost anything except another man who might beat him back. He’s a bully, not a nice type. I’d say show leniency the first time, but the second he needs to go to jail and for enough time to be on the wrong end of a few beatings himself. Jail is not good for much, but it is good at teaching bullies a bit of humility. It doesn’t matter how hard you think you are, in there there will be someone much, much harder.

  13. realitist — on 28th September, 2006 at 10:27 am  

    The root mistake of your argument, honey, is that people are not born as ‘dodgy fuckers’ – something causes this and a lot of it is driven by upbringing, culture and ridiculous social boundaries.

    Yes mosters are created not made, blah blah. Sometimes this is true enough, i dont deny it. but i refuse your explanation that culture and ‘social boundaries’ are the ‘root cause’, because this is no good an explanation either. in a war torn country, those horrible conditions may have lead a man to become a monster, but the fact that he did, and others did not, shows that the monster is the problem not the conditions.

    many asians live comfortable within this boundaries, and culture, and socio-economic-whatever-the-fuck-liberal-favorite-excuse, but when they do dodgy shit, they’re the root cause, not anything else.

    why look for causes that are present all over the world, to all kinds of people, that do not spurn them to commit horrible acts, and yet when a person does, we do not say automatically that the ‘root cause’ will definitely bring this result about if a person is exposed to it.

    you play the same game looking for hidden causes of terrorists when this is counter-productive and pointless

  14. realitist — on 28th September, 2006 at 10:33 am  

    “Excuse me butting in on something I am totally unqualifid to comment on, but did realitist actually say that women are inferior? “

    women are at least physically and intellectually inferior to men.

  15. realitist — on 28th September, 2006 at 10:35 am  

    the ultimate root cause of islamic terrorists is islam. and the ultimate root cause of all evil men is humanity. so the solution is obvious, wipe out muslims to solve the problem of terrorism, and wipe out humanity to solve the problem of humanity. easily done.

    or accept that the root cause of terrorism is terrorist, and the root cause of beating-the-fuck-out-of-women is dodgy-men.

  16. Kismet Hardy — on 28th September, 2006 at 10:40 am  

    It’s important to note that Navjeet Sidhu didn’t commit suicide because ‘typical Asian man’ beat her. She was suffering from depression.

    While domestic abuse in the Asian household has started to be tackled (although, according to my friends at Asian Women’s Aid, it takes an average of 35 beatings before battered women call the police and around 50 to file for divorce) with the police and community showing increased support for the welfare of abused women, depression remains a hugely ignored taboo in our community.

    We’ve all heard it: ‘She’sd making it up’, ‘She’s attention seeking’

    While the battered woman has physical brusises to cry for help, depressed women have only mental scars.

    Few people in the first generation know the difference between manic depression and mad as a fruitbat.

    Sorry to be serious and all, but some things need to be taken seriously

  17. nyrone — on 28th September, 2006 at 10:41 am  

    intellectually inferior? You really are a moran aren’t you?

  18. Chairwoman — on 28th September, 2006 at 10:42 am  

    Bert Preast – Being stronger, faster and with a understanding of physics doesn’t make you superior, just different. Women have a better instinctive grasp of language and interpersonal skills.

    So off you go, find something heavy to shift, then move rapidly to the lab, and knock up a nifty weapon of mass destruction before lunch. Then I will persuade you not to use it, and then negotiate on your behalf with the men you are at odds with before preparing dinner.

  19. Rakhee — on 28th September, 2006 at 10:45 am  

    => why look for causes that are present all over the world etc etc

    If you have a problem, you cannot solve it properly unless you find out what caused it in the first place. Think of it like this. If you have a headache, you take a painkiller to numb the pain. 4 hours later, the pain comes back because you haven’t got to the bottom of what’s caused it. In the same way, having this ‘just stick a plaster on it and it will go away’ mentality will not (and has not) got us anywhere.

    => Many asians live comfortable within this boundaries, and culture, and socio-economic-whatever-the-fuck-liberal-favorite-excuse, but when they do dodgy shit, they’re the root cause, not anything else.

    Experiences and incidences have different psychological impacts on people. The people who do ‘dodgy shit’ are the ones outwardly expressing the problems for sure, but what causes them to do this is surely a combination of who they are, what they’ve been exposed to, how they’ve been taught right or wrong, their religious and cultural beliefs and on top of that, what they believe themselves. You can’t just say ‘they’re monsters and thats that’. It isn’t as clear cut.

    => you play the same game looking for hidden causes of terrorists when this is counter-productive and pointless

    What would you suggest? Terrorists are dreadful people, but they weren’t born with bombs in their hands Realitist. Something triggers this all off – something causes them to act and think in the way they do.

  20. realitist — on 28th September, 2006 at 10:46 am  

    chairwoman, dont you know, friends-of-humanity dont care about particular cases – what are you doing talking about navjeet sidhu? Anyway, asian men are exposed to all of that shit too (social boundaries, pressures etc), if anything is to be concluded from this, its that women are poorer are to coping with life than men, and thats why they commit suicide

  21. realitist — on 28th September, 2006 at 10:48 am  

    i suggest we all rally behind mr bush as he unleashes his powerful resources on terrorists. but that would be too much to ask, for lefties prefer to talk about meaningless shit like ‘oh he lied about wmds’ instead of sorting out problems.

    i know what spurns mr terrorist to blow shit up, its just a desire to fuck up someone else. yeh there might be other reasons too, but the more you find out about them, the dodgier the terrorist seems

  22. Chairwoman — on 28th September, 2006 at 10:49 am  

    realitist – Gosh you are so right! We intellectually inferior women just don’t know our place.

    Bad Sonia, Bad Katy, Bad Bad me. Thinking we could play with the boys.

    Come on girls, back to the toy box. Where are those Barbies.

  23. realitist — on 28th September, 2006 at 10:53 am  

    dont take it personally hun. im sure you’re clever girls, even tho you probably carry too many deluded idealisms in your minds. its unreasonable to think men and women are perfectly equal. that they are unequal, and that men are inferior is a fact of nature, even if your imagination tells you otherwise

  24. Rakhee — on 28th September, 2006 at 10:53 am  

    => i suggest we all rally behind mr bush as he unleashes his powerful resources on terrorists

    *penny drops*

    Now I understand why you’re saying the things you are. It all makes sense now.

    Go ahead hon, follow the leader now, oh, and don’t forget to attach the puppet strings to your back.

  25. realitist — on 28th September, 2006 at 10:53 am  

    superior even

  26. Chairwoman — on 28th September, 2006 at 10:53 am  

    realitist – Actually the largest suicide group is young men between 16 and 30. How else did Morrissey become so popular?

    And I am not talking about Navjeet Sidhu, because as I said earlier, her experiences are totally out of my remit. I’m talking about you and your opinions.

  27. Bert Preast — on 28th September, 2006 at 10:55 am  

    Chairwoman – Can’t I just slob around on the sofa revelling in how big and strong I am?

  28. Kismet Hardy — on 28th September, 2006 at 10:55 am  

    Realist, I’m trying to work out how you’re linking abused women with global terrorism, but I’ve found it:

    The greatest trick men ever pulled was to convince women they needed the protection of men to survive. Like women would be afraid to walk the streets if there weren’t any men around…

    The greatest trick America pulled was to convince the world they needed the protection of the US to survive. Like they’d be afraid to walk the streets if America hadn’t armed everybody else…

  29. Arif — on 28th September, 2006 at 10:56 am  

    Just want to suggest to realitist that just because he does not have the energy to look for complex causation, does not mean that causes are not complex. Also, whatever the cause is, there are likelty to be other ways to deal with it than wiping people out.

    So why is such and such a man dodgy? You can say he just is, and forget it.

    When a plane crashes we can just say it was dodgy too, and not look for further causes.

    But maybe the effort to understand can help avoid some suffering.

    If, for example, someone did not see anything wrong with their behaviour it might be because they are psychopathic (in which case perhaps experts in personality disorders need to make more effort to finding out how such people can be rendered harmless without causing harm themselves).

    It might be because of their upbringing (in which case we can consider what it is to at least make a better effort with our own children).

    It might be because of dynamics in his culture or subculture, in which case we can work out how to intervene in the best ways, or offer the best escape for people in danger.

    It does not mean we destroy the individual or the culture. But it does mean we might have to be patient, think a lot, do some heart-searching and all sorts of things that might irritate you about inferior liberal types.

  30. Kismet Hardy — on 28th September, 2006 at 10:57 am  

    Chairwoman: naughty corner. Morrissey is not suicidal, nor are his fans. It’s a common misconception. The Mozza is, and has been, always extremely positive in his habit of wallowing in the gutter. He puts a smile on the face of the depressed by showing empathy and giving hope. For slit your throat music, you want to look more closely at Joy Division, Leonard Cohen and James Blunt

  31. realitist — on 28th September, 2006 at 10:57 am  

    kismet, what mate, women if they wrent protected by men they’d get owned by evil men (rapists, pimps etc). are you serious?

    a stable middle east, stable oil producing nations means stable world economies. unstable oil prices lead to unstable world economies. bush is trying to make things stable, its an admirable goal of his, and sane men ought to support him

  32. Chairwoman — on 28th September, 2006 at 10:57 am  

    Bert – Oh, go on then. Revel away.

  33. Kismet Hardy — on 28th September, 2006 at 11:00 am  

    Realist, the rapists and pimps you speak of are men, no?

    Men ain’t nothin’ but trouble and you know it

    It’s all to do with our deep-rooted envy towards women because they can create life and we spend the entirety of ours trying to find a point to it

  34. realitist — on 28th September, 2006 at 11:00 am  

    Mate Arif, if friends-of-humanity wish to look for ‘root causes’, then its up to them to demonstrate how these spurned ordinary men to such horrible things. but everyone else is content to take superficial, yet obvious explanations and move on with things. looking for deeper and deeper causes is a vice of liberals, but it is not even a useful undertaking. for as i said, the root cause of islamic terorrism is islam, and the root cause of female abuse is men; but how is this at all helpful? it simply is not.

  35. realitist — on 28th September, 2006 at 11:01 am  

    kismet, yep, they are. look dodgy men do dodgy things. why look any further than this if it takes the attention of dodgy ppl?

  36. Arif — on 28th September, 2006 at 11:02 am  

    Maybe if Bush could consider complex causation, he would be better able to help create a stable Middle East.

    Instead I see a clash of civilisation being engineered. More terrorism, more wars. But at least it means we don’t have to worry about the causes of our behaviour, just feel the self-righteusness and kill kill kill.

  37. Kismet Hardy — on 28th September, 2006 at 11:05 am  

    “the root cause of islamic terorrism is islam, and the root cause of female abuse is men; but how is this at all helpful?”

    actually, the root cause of terrorism is to do with how Muslims felt wronged

    the root cause of female abuse is to do with how these men were raised

    If you want to follow the root all the way down, you have to identify the seed that made them this way in the first place

    Only then can you hope to unroot it

  38. Arif — on 28th September, 2006 at 11:05 am  

    Realitist, please explain your theories of how the cause of terrorism is Islam and the cause and the cause of violence to women is men.

    Are you suggesting all Muslims are terrorists and all men abuse women?

    Or only some?

    In which case what makes the difference between those who do and do not?

  39. realitist — on 28th September, 2006 at 11:06 am  

    arif, take it easy. when one has his self interests at heart he is more likely to find the best understanding of phenomenon. bush has his self interests at heart, and those of his country, and those of his friends. he understand the complexity better than his detractors, who are the ones who fail to understand these complex issues, and in failing, they resort to conspiracy theories about clashes of civilization, and so on.

  40. Chairwoman — on 28th September, 2006 at 11:07 am  

    Totally off subject (proves my intellectual inferiority, no doubt), Richard Hammond has left hospital.

  41. Arif — on 28th September, 2006 at 11:07 am  

    Maybe the cause of terrorism is the desire to simplify the reason why people do bad things by saying they are just dodgy and then decide to wipe them out.

    Should we wipe such people out realitist, mate?

  42. Kismet Hardy — on 28th September, 2006 at 11:08 am  

    The root of Richard Hammond’s ailment in racing cars. Abolish them

  43. realitist — on 28th September, 2006 at 11:09 am  

    “actually, the root cause of terrorism is to do with how Muslims felt wronged”

    muslims felt wronged? human history has seen enough wrong commited by muslims. its just karma. but i think you are right about this in a different way. muslims feel their pride attacked when they think there are non-muslims in control of their land and shit.

  44. realitist — on 28th September, 2006 at 11:11 am  

    Arif simple explanations are more likely to be right, simply because they claim less than complex ones. have you heard of occams razor? its been adopted by the scientists who are pretty good at this reasoning/logic thing.

    simple sounding explanations can be very correct, and complex elaborate explanations (which approach conspiracy theory), can be very wrong.

  45. Bert Preast — on 28th September, 2006 at 11:11 am  

    “Totally off subject (proves my intellectual inferiority, no doubt), Richard Hammond has left hospital”

    As he’s actually just been moved to another hospital, you are right and you are wrong.

    1 – 0

  46. realitist — on 28th September, 2006 at 11:13 am  

    Arif my point is that a search for root causes if taken honestly leads us to answers that are obviously unhelpful. So why commit one to such a search? For if you take it too seriously it tells you absolutely nothing.

  47. Sahil — on 28th September, 2006 at 11:13 am  

    Some of my friends were telling me that there still exists some guys who revel in their sexist attitudes. I thought it couldn’t be possible, which guy would be stupid enough to be so blatantly sexist: guys who can only get woman be shag them by arranged marriages. By an chance realist, are you all for arranged marriages?

  48. Arif — on 28th September, 2006 at 11:14 am  

    Good point realitist (#44), but looking for root causes is also a form of simplification of complexity into those causes which are necessary and sufficient.

  49. Bert Preast — on 28th September, 2006 at 11:15 am  

    Sahil – some of us are just so devilishly handsome we can get away with it.

  50. Chairwoman — on 28th September, 2006 at 11:16 am  

    Bert – They didn’t mention that on the news bulletin I’ve just listened to. News not as good as I’d hoped.

  51. Sahil — on 28th September, 2006 at 11:16 am  

    LOL

  52. realitist — on 28th September, 2006 at 11:18 am  

    sahil, believe it or not, but i used to be a feminist. but luckily i snapped out of it and realised what a waste of time it all is. I got sick of listening to women complain about being held back, instead of just doing whatever it is that their being held back from. now i no longer carry those idealistic delusions. women and men are obviously unequal, and to deny this is to lose ones grasp on reality.

  53. Sahil — on 28th September, 2006 at 11:20 am  

    Yes you are a realist now, right?

  54. Robert — on 28th September, 2006 at 11:21 am  

    Thing is realitist: you’re really boring. You may think your simplistic opinions are some how ‘radical’ and that by trolling them here at PP you’re somehow rocking the leftist boat. But all that’s happened is the tongue-in-cheek replies from the other commenters expose your own, immature thinking.

    As it happens, this subject is controversial and the reasons for a higher rate of suicide in these communities are by no means obvious. Not being Asian or a woman myself, I’m perhaps not in the best position to offer an opinion, so I was hoping to read an interesting debate here. Instead I got you and your distractions.

  55. realitist — on 28th September, 2006 at 11:22 am  

    yes sahil.

    “What were the real reasons behind the popes comment?”
    another example of the futile task of looking for “root causes” when there is no need

  56. realitist — on 28th September, 2006 at 11:25 am  

    robert, im really sorry about denying you your interesting debate. the thing is, you are unlikely to get it here. what you have is liberals who are so convinced asian culture is so evil (against women, gays whatever), that they lose site of the immediate problem, and instead smuggle in their agendas. any problem amongst asians is means for them to push their reforms. but you wont get to the reality of the matter, because as i saw, these people simply do not understand asians. they dont even understand the concept of ‘honour’, they mock it, and dismiss it, so how are they going to come any real understanding of a real problem? they dont even understand it!

  57. Kismet Hardy — on 28th September, 2006 at 11:29 am  

    Wahey, I’ve found the link: Feminists give women a bad name, terrorists give muslims a bad name

  58. Sahil — on 28th September, 2006 at 11:31 am  

    Look, as much as you may think this place is full of liberals who don’t understand ‘reality’ or ‘self-interest’ or ‘logic’ in general, that’s not the case. Yours truly studied economics (yes there is a lot there about self-interest and reality), and think your analysis is stupid and simplistic. As for the concept of ‘honour’, that term varies radically across cultures and even within cultures. Do you believe it is honourable to kill your own sister or daughter because she was dating some guy you didn’t approve of. Look at the bloody Mullahs issuing Fatwas, that prohibit muslim girls from interacting with Hindu boys for 5000 rupees, because some guy didn’t want his daughter ‘soiling’ his honour.

  59. sonia — on 28th September, 2006 at 11:34 am  

    There’s a serious problem clearly. Sunny’s definitely right there. chauvinistic patriarchalism.

    I agree with Rakhee right up at the top.

    ‘educating the men is a worthless idea’ -?
    {it’s difficult – how is it ‘worthless’? educating women is also pretty difficult. generations of women have internalized the fall-out from such patriarchalism, trained their daughters to do the same, trained each other to do the same. Changing anyone’s social attitudes is pretty difficult.}

    There lies one of the most significant aspects of the problem!

    Sunny i’m sorry but by saying that effectively you are sending a message out to men that’s its fine – perfectly fine – to carry on – if they’re behaving chauvinistically. and that they don’t have to take any responsibility. and how on earth are the women going to be empowered if they’re lumped with neanderthal men?!!Or have them around to crticize them? It will certainly be a big hindrance – as it is already. Effectively it implies that what are the women to do when they are empowered? not marry british asian men because they won’t change? so they have to avoid their community or something? I think we all know community dynamics have a big part to play – i fail to see how ‘educating’ women is going to be much good if they’re going to end up being socially ostracized. it’s not as if women aren’t educated is it – so many women who’ve been to unversity etc. and who one would assume are ‘empowered’ are not able to turn their backs on their families ( guilt – conscience etc.) and end up in certain situations. Basically the way i’ve seen it for a lot of women – the way their life will turn out will depend on the type of man they’ve married. How can we ignore that? Oh yes we can say the woman ought to be independent – sure, and how is she going to cope with a traditional communities demands and social pressure?

    as a man saying this it looks particularly dodgy: it looks as if it’s a case of men shifting the blame on to someone else – like the government. you’re leaving yourself open to serious criticism. any serious social worker/theorist will be able to see straight away that changing legislation and not encouraging different attitudes is problematic. Apart from some men in jail – and possibly more censure heaped on the women – what will change? Unless attitudes change? People will ask why you wouldn’t go for a two-pronged approach.

    Changing social attitudes takes a long time – it’s a long term solution and i can see why people may not be keen on it. A struggle like this takes a loong time and people had better be prepared to get stuck in. it appears to be particularly complicated by the wish to hang to what are viewed as cultural traditions and not lose this, so normal change is stunted to some extent, or is viewed with more suspicion and labelled as ‘oh you’re losing your indian-ness and becoming ‘white’ or something like that. i’ve heard this said by lots of people! and i think this is a particular problem given the diasporic context -across the Indian subcontinent people don’t have to worry about ‘not being Indian’ because obviously they are. In any case, it adds to the complexity of the situation and needs taking into consideration.

    And this business about the ‘older generation dying out’ is frankly bollocks because there are plenty of people who are about 5 years older than me who seem to have retained similar attitudes – and that’s hardly a suprise is it. People learn from their environments! if you saw your dad treat your mom a certain way then you might feel justified in treating your wife that way.

    and finally – you cannot teach an old dog new tricks – How Defeatist. Yes we can, and if we can’t we still damn well ought to try.

  60. realitist — on 28th September, 2006 at 11:38 am  

    “..they’re behaving chauvinistically. and that they don’t have to take any responsibility.”
    -sonia

    we real men have plenty of responsibilities too. even though we dont believe we should make our women our equals.

  61. realitist — on 28th September, 2006 at 11:39 am  

    i’ll outline these responsibilities. keeping our women safe, happy, giving them opportunities like studying and careers, making sure they respect family values, shit like that.

  62. Rakhee — on 28th September, 2006 at 11:43 am  

    Oh so now you’ve put us women in our place, you want to keep us warm and safe? Purlease.

  63. Chairwoman — on 28th September, 2006 at 11:44 am  

    Keeping, Giving, Making, Shit.

    Indeed

  64. realitist — on 28th September, 2006 at 11:44 am  

    hey, are you complaining because im not living up to your stereotype? should i beeat you or something?

  65. sonia — on 28th September, 2006 at 11:46 am  

    Good point Galloise Blonde – old dogs are teaching the younger dogs their tricks! Absolutely. Getting legislation in – well i have nothing againstthat – but it’s not the end of the campaign is it? it’s one part of it. clearly a wide-ranging problem isn’t going to be tackled by one approach.

    realitist is doing a fantastic job of highlighting the problem in person. well done you! now we have some male chauvinism documented. Same goes for Bert Preast. :-) they’re doing us a big favour..

    nice one rakhee ;-)

  66. realitist — on 28th September, 2006 at 11:47 am  

    i dont even know what that word chauvinism means?

  67. Queen Bee — on 28th September, 2006 at 11:51 am  

    A few brief points, because I am short of time, but I will return later:

    (a) A demographic, ethnic, geographical and religious breakdown of suicides should be possible to do for the basis of collating data for effective targeting of services.

    (b) Sunny, one thing about religious institutions – there is a tension here between what people expect a local institution can physically achieve, even in the best of circumstances, and also the role they actually do play in community life which is, in varying degrees, and dependent on the religion and circumstance, vastly overplayed. I will post more on this point later when I get the chance, but even if they were wonderfully sensitive to the issues, it is wrongheaded to even consider them primary players in these solutions.

    ( c) This is about extended family, the pressures and expectations of extended families. How will it change? It already is changing. I will find reports on employment levels amongst different groups of Asian women indicative of the loosening of constricting family ties. Employment will set women free. See point (a).

    (d) Rakhee, your final piece of rhetoric in post number 1 was wrong. My husband, brothers, father, grandfather and male Asian friends do not have blood on their hands, nor does Sunny, or other people who hang out here like Jai, Sid, Kulwinder, nor do most Asian men, who are good, kind, sensitive people, who already suffer prejudice and issues, without further ascription of collective guilt on their shoulders. The sooner we can be clinical about these matters the better – because in my opinion there is a serious lack of clear sighted vision on this, and a great amount of derailing agendas and issues at play from many different angles. Everybody here knows I am a militant on these issues, but I was offended by your comment, and you totally misinterpreted what Sunny is saying. The most he can be faulted for is rashness of expression. But he is a good man, like the majority of men are, often victims and complicit in systems themselves, and willing to help too given guidance and opinion.

    More later when I have the time.

  68. sonia — on 28th September, 2006 at 11:52 am  

    yeah if realitists mother/wife/partner stops feeding him – oh the poor thing – such a dependent!

    anyway why focus on the suicides or the higher rate of suicides? While that’s crap, it may imply that the women who are ‘alive’ are fine and we don’t need to worry about them – as long as they aren’t displaying signs of depression or suicide. there are loads of strong women who’ve dealt with this for their whole life – we need to focus on that.

  69. Sahil — on 28th September, 2006 at 11:52 am  

    Sunny:

    “I’ve come to the conclusion that educating the men is a worthless idea. You cannot teach old dogs new tricks. The only way forward would be to find ways to empower women to find help and support when they are faced with such family hostility. Thoughts? Opinions?”

    We need to educate men Sunny, there’s no two ways about it. If institutional sexism is to be tackled you need to address those with power i.e. men. What’s also interesting is that a child’s mother’s education is highly correlated with the child’s own education level. So we have a bit of a chicken and egg situation.

  70. soru — on 28th September, 2006 at 11:54 am  

    ‘suppose the average rate is 0.04%, and its 0.12% for british-asian-women, that wouldnt mean its a serious enough problem to worry about. ‘

    Presumably, for every one who actually killed themself, there are dozens who have a life that sucks just slightly less.

    If the plight of strangers is not enough to concern you, remember it could be your wife, sister, mother or cousin that is suferring that way, and if you understand the problem, perhaps there is something you personally can do for them.

    Personally, I’d like to understand the issue more. For a starter, is the difference in observed suicide rates caused by:

    1. BAFs are more likely to have sucky lives.
    2. BAFs are more likely to get clinically depressed given an equally sucky life.
    3. BAFs are more likely to commit suicide given an equal level of depression.
    4. something else.

  71. realitist — on 28th September, 2006 at 11:58 am  

    queenbee good post.

    sonia because the problem, presumably, is the women who’re depressed and suicidal?

    lol. you are such a typical liberal. not content to solve the problem itself, you must have a wider, more drastic change of the whole society. i cant take you seriously, and i dont want your solutions.

    soru my sister and mum are fine, but they’ve not always had a rosy life. their strong women who i admire and love greatly

  72. sonia — on 28th September, 2006 at 11:59 am  

    Sorry Queen Bee – rhetoric isn’t ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. Employment will ‘set’ women free? A lot of women are employed and that doesn’t change the fact that they want to emotionally please their family. they may not be dependent on them financially but there’s an emotional component that’s significant. Your reasoning seems a little bit deterministic if you don’t mind my saying so. It’s hardly as if people ‘depend’ on families just for money is it now?

    I can see that Sunny is very keen on legislation – fine – but it doesn’t take much to add on how it is also important for men and the wider familial context to change. Unless of course Sunny just wanted to rile all the ‘feminists’ out there – Well he’s done a good job there and frankly i can’t see how that’s going to help the matter at all. And if it is the biggest issue for our generation it seems a rather unwise approach. Of course we can alwasy assume that Sunny being a man is suffering from the ‘well it hasn’t got anything to do with us men’ business. Which won’t do this ‘campaign’ much good at all!

  73. realitist — on 28th September, 2006 at 12:00 pm  

    but i also want to understand the situation better before offering a ‘solution’, which might miss the mark. soru, also, ordinary, typical asian society has means for solving these problems. i know that if this navjot dude had done what he done in my community, ppl would look down on him, and he’d be considered a murderer. its not like we condone shit like that, none of us do. and yet are we not going to take sonias reforms and just change our social and cultural fabric so drastically. be reasonable.

  74. sonia — on 28th September, 2006 at 12:00 pm  

    See how this focus on suicides has railed the issue at hand. EVEN IF NO ONE COMMITTED SUICIDE this problem still remains and is a big problem!

    Goodness.

  75. Kismet Hardy — on 28th September, 2006 at 12:01 pm  

    ‘i dont even know what that word chauvinism means?’

    it’s a bit like chavinism, but instead of hating men in shiny gold trackies you hate men that think women are somehow lesser

  76. nyrone — on 28th September, 2006 at 12:03 pm  

    *wheels on the truck go round and round
    round and round
    round and round*

  77. Kismet Hardy — on 28th September, 2006 at 12:03 pm  

    “Her condition became worse after her husband, Manjit, who left her to return to his native India, said that he would come back home only if he did not have to do any household chores.”

    I know men are prone to sulking but this is ridiculous…

  78. Rakhee — on 28th September, 2006 at 12:03 pm  

    Queen Bee, apologies, I should have contextualised this comment.

    I didn’t mean Asian men across the board – it would mean I was insulting my own father, brothers and many male asian friends (inc Sunny) who are as you say, are kind and sincere. What I meant was when it comes to asian women who are depressed and exist in a strict cultural or religious environment, men can play a very significant role in further driving women to submission and feeling as though they are worth nothing. This is in extreme cases but then again, there’s nothing more extreme than suicide.

    I didn’t mean to cause anyone here offence with this comment and apologise if I did.

    I stand by my original first point though – just accepting that (some) men won’t change is not, in my opinion, a progressive way of thinking at all.

  79. Sahil — on 28th September, 2006 at 12:04 pm  

    “I know men are prone to sulking but this is ridiculous…”

    LOL, exactly, stroppy boy!! And women are supposed to be emotional!

  80. realitist — on 28th September, 2006 at 12:05 pm  

    yeh, he doesnt sound like a very good man to me. what kind of ‘chauvinist male’ washes the dishes anyway? thats what women are for innit

  81. Queen Bee — on 28th September, 2006 at 12:06 pm  

    Sonia

    Get women out of their reliance on oppressive extended families so they have options is not being deterministic. It gives women OPTIONS. It is practical. It means you don’t have to depend on other networks in order to provide for yourself, you can access and create your own networks. It is this that more than anything else will change the practical conditions of Asian womens lives. Combined with legislation, activism, and a programme of targetting of services through nuanced demographic profiling and research — these are the things that will make a difference.

    Realtist – thanks for the compliment, but unfortunately I cannot return it for your own posts.

  82. realitist — on 28th September, 2006 at 12:07 pm  

    “men can play a very significant role in further driving women to submission and feeling as though they are worth nothing. This is in extreme cases but then again, there’s nothing more extreme than suicide”

    true, ive seen this happen quite a bit. women like that need friendship and ppl to listen so they can bear things out until they get better.

  83. Kismet Hardy — on 28th September, 2006 at 12:07 pm  

    realitist, you know the best way to a woman’s heart

    buy her a dishwasher

    (I feel dirty now)

  84. Bert Preast — on 28th September, 2006 at 12:09 pm  

    Sonia #65 – I’m always glad to give the little ladies a helping hand. :D

  85. realitist — on 28th September, 2006 at 12:09 pm  

    what? buy another woman? i thought they hated competition. we gotta exchange notes kisma

  86. Kismet Hardy — on 28th September, 2006 at 12:11 pm  

    Men tend to commit suicide because a woman left him or is in the process of doing so

    Women commit suicide because the man left her no choice

    Navjeet Sidhu’s case is particularly tragic because she took her children with her. It’s usually men who do that (to get at the woman) while women die quietly and alone

  87. Rakhee — on 28th September, 2006 at 12:15 pm  

    An Asian woman killed herself with her 2 babies, the mother followed shortly and here we are exchanging jokes about a bloody dishwasher.

  88. realitist — on 28th September, 2006 at 12:17 pm  

    rakhee what should we feel outraged about here? please help me out because i dont want to be outraged about the wrong thing. its the right of the woman to abort her baby right? her choice?

  89. sonia — on 28th September, 2006 at 12:19 pm  

    realitist aren[‘t you nice and chicken and not leaving your own blog details – why don’t you have one? :-)

  90. Sahil — on 28th September, 2006 at 12:20 pm  

    Realitist, you’re foaming at the mouth, stay away from children and water.

  91. Rakhee — on 28th September, 2006 at 12:20 pm  

    Realitist, you couldn’t possibly feel outraged -it would mean you had some level of emotional sensitivity.

    Nice try to drag me in to an abortion debate so that you could air your pompous opinions again, but sorry honey, I’m not going to bite.

  92. sonia — on 28th September, 2006 at 12:20 pm  

    Pert Breast – :-) how sweet of you to bother! but you needn’t worry my old friend, there’s enough chauvinism out there in the world without ‘us’ needing you. Ha ha.

  93. sonia — on 28th September, 2006 at 12:21 pm  

    options – i agree Queen Bee – I already said that didn’t I? But it doesn’t change the attitude of the wider family – that’s the problem.

  94. realitist — on 28th September, 2006 at 12:22 pm  

    which attitude?

  95. sonia — on 28th September, 2006 at 12:23 pm  

    Good for you Rakhee – this realitist person -man or woman is clearly just out to bait people. i suppose if it is a he he’s probably hen-pecked at home and feels the need to come to an internet forum to express his so-called superiority to women. Ha ha.

  96. sonia — on 28th September, 2006 at 12:23 pm  

    78 – i agree Rakhee.

  97. Bert Preast — on 28th September, 2006 at 12:26 pm  

    Rats, I never manage to pull.

  98. sonia — on 28th September, 2006 at 12:27 pm  

    oh you know the attitude Realitist – why you spelled it out yourself – scroll up and see. i sum the attitude up n one word: CONTROL

    an attempt to:

    - control what the child will study in the future
    - control who the child sees
    - control what the child wears
    - control who the child when they grow up marries
    - control the child’s religious attitudes and beliefs

    so by the time they grow up…

  99. PFM — on 28th September, 2006 at 12:27 pm  

    by empowering women you will cause a backlash.

    sons will always do as fathers. its a difficult situation.

  100. realitist — on 28th September, 2006 at 12:28 pm  

    sonia ok fair enough. i agree with some of those things, and only to a certain extent, but im sure thats universal, and even you will do it, to some extent.

  101. sonia — on 28th September, 2006 at 12:30 pm  

    realitist of course it’s universal – who says it wasn’t? the victorian family condition was much the same. that’s why everyone had double lives….

  102. sonia — on 28th September, 2006 at 12:31 pm  

    Maybe i will..maybe i won’t.

  103. sonia — on 28th September, 2006 at 12:33 pm  

    Yeah Pert Breast, you might want to change your attitude towards women if you want to attract them :-)

  104. Bert Preast — on 28th September, 2006 at 12:36 pm  

    But I’m devilishly handsome. There must be something wrong with the women here, I reckon.

  105. Sahil — on 28th September, 2006 at 12:37 pm  

    DId your mummy tell you were pretty? Beware ;)

  106. sonia — on 28th September, 2006 at 12:37 pm  

    Anyhow: ignoring the men + family has the following consequence:

    plenty of british asian women are empowered. so who do the men want to marry then? the british asian empowered women? maybe not – maybe that’s why they ( + parents) insist on marrying some girl from village back home.

    So – what then? Same problem ensues. So it turns into a nice cycle. You empower the women over here, men marry women from over there.

  107. sonia — on 28th September, 2006 at 12:38 pm  

    Maybe Pert Breast the women have already found themselves some lovely unchauvinistic men? :-) If you didn’t link to yourself as http://deleted ( what’s the point of that?) we could have a look

    ( and probably a giggle)!

  108. Sahil — on 28th September, 2006 at 12:40 pm  

    “plenty of british asian women are empowered. so who do the men want to marry then? the british asian empowered women? maybe not – maybe that’s why they ( + parents) insist on marrying some girl from village back home.

    So – what then? Same problem ensues. So it turns into a nice cycle. You empower the women over here, men marry women from over there. ”

    Very true, I’ve heard so many WOMEN tell their nephews not to marry some ‘city girl’ as they’re too independent and will not cook rotis at home. Guys need to make a stand, and acknowledge their laziness and chicken attitude when it comes to choosing their partners. Get rid of the aunties!!

  109. Bert Preast — on 28th September, 2006 at 12:40 pm  

    Sahil – Nah, my mummy told me I was an arse.

  110. Bert Preast — on 28th September, 2006 at 12:42 pm  

    Hang on Sonia…

    http://thumbs.fotopic.net/083015000353.jpg

    Make sure you’re sitting down. Swooning guaranteed.

  111. Sahil — on 28th September, 2006 at 12:42 pm  

    “Nah, my mummy told me I was an arse.”

    Same here :( Nonetheless that gave me the impetus to hone my other skills to impress chicks. Hell I can even bake!

  112. Kismet Hardy — on 28th September, 2006 at 12:44 pm  

    I think this is a good moment to talk about cunnilingus.

    You see, like many foolish boys, I thought of it as a dirty thing

    Then, as an adult, realising the bartering power that gave me when it came to fellatio, I tried it

    At that precise moment, I became a better man

    To this day, I make my lady feel more womanly and not ‘dirty’ by pulling her tampon string out with my teeth

    The result: I get a BJ even when she’s on her period

    A lesson there, chaps :-)

  113. Bert Preast — on 28th September, 2006 at 12:46 pm  

    You end up looking like those little men in the Ribena adverts.

  114. Kismet Hardy — on 28th September, 2006 at 12:50 pm  

    Some women taste delicious when the painters come to town. Mmm more ketchup on your beef curtains, more blood on your gaping axewound sir?

  115. Jai — on 28th September, 2006 at 12:54 pm  

    Sunny, get rid of the troll. This thread has already been derailed enough.

  116. Jai — on 28th September, 2006 at 12:58 pm  

    ^^^I was referring to “Realitist”, in case there is any confusion.

  117. raz — on 28th September, 2006 at 1:03 pm  

    She didn’t just commit suicide. She KILLED her two children as well. How is this any different from that guy that jumped off a hotel with his kids recently? He has been vilifed as a murderer, and yet people are trying to feel sorry for this woman. Why the double standards? I have a lot of sympathy for people who commit suicide. I can’t feel the same way about those who murder children.

  118. Sunny — on 28th September, 2006 at 1:09 pm  

    Realitist – please kindly fuck off. I don’t want threads such as these derailed by ignorant, annoying and chauvinist trolls as such as you.

    The rest of you, please ignore him from now on. End of. I was hoping to come back to an interesting and engaging thread and instead its been spoilt by this idiot and everyone replying to him.

    But a few points have been raised and I will address them shortly.

  119. Sunny — on 28th September, 2006 at 1:26 pm  

    1) Is this the biggest issue of our generation? I think it is, when 50% of our community is forced to play second fiddle to the wishes of men. I’m not saying this applies to everyone but patriarchy / sexism remains endemic and it has extreme consequences (like suicides) to the less extreme such as domestic violence, verbal abuse, depression and much more.

    I refuse to pretend this is not a serious problem – I’ve got too many friends who have at times been reduced to mental wrecks because of enormous family pressure over marriage.
    This also then feeds into other social problems.

    2) On absolving men of guilt. That is absolutely not what I’m saying here. I think this response is typical and idealist.

    We are talking about limited resources here – time and money. Let’s say we had a bunch of money or some time to help to improve things. What would be more effective, trying to find ways to empower women or ‘educating men’. In an ideal world both but I believe faster change would come through when women are given the tools to initiate change themselves.

    The former simply plays to the man’s guilt. The latter forces him into a different situation and suddenly he has more incentive to behave properly (or she is off) than in the former situation.

    You have to think about incentives here people, people only change when they are faced with a different set of incentives.

    3) On religious insitutions. I’m not saying they are the only way forward. But given that a sizeable percentage of the older generation regularly attend it is the fastest way to get a debate going and agitate for some change I’d say.

    But they can never be the only part of any solution. Just one part I’d say.

  120. sonia — on 28th September, 2006 at 1:51 pm  

    typical and idealist :-) please see my comment #106

    and how is it the biggest issue of ‘our’ generation – whose the ‘our’ if men aren’t included? It becomes one of those things ‘oh its women’s issues’

    and in any case if one wants to do something about the familial context ( as you say yourself so many of your friends have been reduced to wrecks over family pressure) how is this going to change if one leaves the men out?

    sorry sunny not good enough – if it is indeed the biggest issue then it has to look at that, and the limited time money excuse – if it’s that important then it has to be a long term campaign – and money will have to be found. How is it so much cheaper to lobby the government for legislation? that’s more concrete but no less of a long-term solution.

  121. Rakhee — on 28th September, 2006 at 2:02 pm  

    Sunny, this can’t be viewed in a typical economist manner i.e. greatest return in shortest time.

    It isn’t about how QUICKLY we make change but about ensuring that in the long term, changes are made which will ultimately help many many more people and save many many more lives. I thought that was what we mean by being ‘progressive’.

    In answer to your question – What would be more effective, trying to find ways to empower women or ‘educating men’ – I would argue they are both equally as important. Why does it have to be either/or.

  122. sonia — on 28th September, 2006 at 2:02 pm  

    Sahil – yeah the ‘aunties’ play a big part in keeping up these patriarchal traditions. a lot of them seem to think since they weren’t given any independence/choice neither should any modern girl! passing the buck on. Same goes for the ‘vicious mother-in-law syndrome’ – guaranteed most of them will have been oppressed as a daughter in law and then pass on the behaviour.

  123. sonia — on 28th September, 2006 at 2:07 pm  

    121 – Rakhee spot on. who has any money now anyway? it’s hardly as if ‘empowering women’ is so cheap! As Rakhee says why the either/or. the same campaign can aim to have different outcomes.

    One can’t really think it’s that important or the biggest issue if one leaves the men out- sorry but that’s how it comes across. Call me idealist if you like – I bet a lot of the men will be saying that about your ideas to introduce legislation and empower women – does that mean that they’re not valid points? :-)

  124. Sahil — on 28th September, 2006 at 2:12 pm  

    Totally agree Sonia and Rakhee: men only need to spend time looking at their attitudes. WHilst lost time might be lost money, one can certainly spend a few seconds, checking their behaviour. Simply put, the level of effort men are putting into changing their sexist attitudes is not enough. Lazy thinking is easier. This needs to change, otherwise any legislation is meaningless. Just look at the glass ceilings present in so many fields and insititutions.

  125. Sid — on 28th September, 2006 at 2:18 pm  

    Notwithstanding patriarchalism, chauvinism, and bollock-stupid husbands, fathers etc, surely there are not enough safety-net organisations that can help these women. Or there are enough but they are failing.

    I don’t work in social services, so I wouldn’t know. But if the rate of suicide of Asian women is 3 times xxxx (what, I don’t know, Sunny didn’t specify – but I’ll assume he meant non-asian women suicide), then surely there are not enough services to monitor “cries for help” from Asian women that understand the dyanmics that are peculiar to the Asian scene.

    Supply women the means and the freedom to walk away from violent partners/households and educate them of their rights.

  126. Sid — on 28th September, 2006 at 2:20 pm  

    I’m so relieved that at least somebody (Queen Bee in this case) recognises I have no blood on my hands. This is just a paper cut.

  127. sonia — on 28th September, 2006 at 2:29 pm  

    Sid – :-) Sorry if i come across as blaming ‘all men’ – that’s not what i mean but definitely there are some men ( and women!e.g. some of the aunties..)who are fond of keeping up a patriarchal system.

  128. Sunny — on 28th September, 2006 at 2:39 pm  

    So – what then? Same problem ensues. So it turns into a nice cycle. You empower the women over here, men marry women from over there.

    That is only a problem if you think Asian women here marrying non-Asian men is a problem. I don’t. I think its good that if Asian women here do not marry a pindu from Southall then they find someone who values them for being independent.

    I think its quite idealistic to say that money will come and that educating men is also an important part of this. Where will the money come from? Where will the time and effort come from? What exactly will you do? This is just silly idealism in my opinion. The west has transitioned to a more egalitarian society because the women have empowered themselves by becoming financially independent and with support from the govt.
    Not much of this has happened by ‘educating’ men – that has happened naturally as social norms have changed and the new values are reflected in the media.

  129. sonia — on 28th September, 2006 at 2:58 pm  

    “That is only a problem if you think Asian women here marrying non-Asian men is a problem’

    well i dont think it’s a problem. but that wasn’t the point! i fail to see the connection and i think you fail to get my point. if some of the women who have come to live here with their husbands are mistreated and are unhappy and commit suicide = then what? is that not part of the problem?

  130. Rakhee — on 28th September, 2006 at 3:03 pm  

    => the women have empowered themselves by becoming financially independent and with support from the govt.

    Women have empowered themselves. Yes.
    By becoming financially independent. Yes.
    With support from the gov’t? Um, hang on.

    Asian women in particular hold, in general, a high regard to their families and immediate loved ones.

    You’re telling me that if you’re a woman whose husband doesn’t believe you should work, that the gov’t is going to come and save the day to empower you?

    It’s slightly different but I for one would never be in my job today if my father had raised me to believe that all my role in life is to cook and clean for a man! And I know for sure that even if I’d have wanted to have a career and my father forbade it, I probably would not have argued back when I was younger as I respected his wishes.

    It’s all about control – some asian men need to learn that women do have an equal right to live their lives the way they want to.

    It isn’t idealistic to believe that people’s opinions can be changed. I think it’s a complete cop out actually to think that they can’t.

    I’m flabbergasted some might think that men should just be allowed to be the way they are without challenging this at all.

    Go ahead, find a quick fix solution (which is what, by the way?) Let’s see how much that changes the lives of people in the generations to come.

  131. sonia — on 28th September, 2006 at 3:04 pm  

    well sunny i ask you back the same questions –

    where’s the money coming from to empower women? who has the time to do that? what exactly will you do?

    my point is wherever you think the money will come from to educate the women, you can try and use that campaign to kill two birds with one stone. Or time etc. As Rakhee pointed out – why the either/or?

  132. Sunny — on 28th September, 2006 at 3:05 pm  

    If some of the women who have come to live here with their husbands are mistreated and are unhappy and commit suicide = then what? is that not part of the problem?

    That is absolutely part of the problem and we have to find a way to empower all women who come into this country or grow up here.

  133. Kismet Hardy — on 28th September, 2006 at 3:06 pm  

    You can’t educate men

    You can, however, educate boys

    My 2-yr old fella loves girls, my 9-yr old daughter likes boys

    The future looks good :-)

  134. sonia — on 28th September, 2006 at 3:06 pm  

    Well said Rakhee.

  135. sonia — on 28th September, 2006 at 3:09 pm  

    I’m pretty flabbergasted I must say as well.

  136. Sunny — on 28th September, 2006 at 3:13 pm  

    With support from the gov’t? Um, hang on.

    I mean in terms of providing money for refuge centres, social services, helplines etc.

    This is what I mean by external support. Educating men will happen as time goes on.

    Ok let me put it this way. If I had a £100 pounds to spend, I would spend that on support services such as those mentioned above. Would I spend that on an evening class designed to ‘educate men’ or an ad campaign designed to do the same? I don’t think it would work.

    That is what I mean by spending money properly. If you have any counter-suggestions on spending it go ahead.

    Second point – It is not just men here at fault. Half the culprits are usually women who believe the right place for their daughter is only to sit at home and be a good wife. Will you be spending money educating them too? And how do you intend to change those ingrained attitudes?

  137. sonia — on 28th September, 2006 at 3:18 pm  

    If it’s idealistic to think men’s opinions can’t be changed then why is it any less idealistic to think women’s opinions can be changed? Empowering women who may currently think they have to listen to their husband and family and that societey knows best – well that’s not an exactly easy quick task is it now?

    Anyone who has worked with battered women or someone in an abusive relationship, knows how hard it is to instil self-confidence and the ability to have a good enough opinion of themselves to stand up and defend themselves, walk out etc. It doesn’t change overnight – and abusive relationships are a vicious cycle. People feel trapped and that they aren’t good enough to ‘deserve better’. If anyone thinks that’s going to be changed ‘quickly’ or ‘easily’ – well…

    None of these issues talked about here are easy ones to deal with. ( so that makes all of us idealists by that standard) The easiest in fact may be pressuring political parties and governments re: legislation.

  138. Chairwoman — on 28th September, 2006 at 3:18 pm  

    Kismet – your #86 makes up for your #112

  139. sonia — on 28th September, 2006 at 3:19 pm  

    Absolutely half the people – women are culprits. The point is that societal attitudes need changing. ANd please don’t throw the questions back – how were you suggesting women be ‘empowered’ without changing any social attitudes? And what funds were you going to use and whose time?

  140. sonia — on 28th September, 2006 at 3:20 pm  

    questions are about why an either/or -and not both. it’s an issue for both men and women, young and old. Sorry Sunny but you started this by saying you wanted to leave the men off.

  141. sonia — on 28th September, 2006 at 3:25 pm  

    anyhow, i’m not saying any more now – i’ve said plenty – apart from you find Sunny when you or whoever sets off to ‘empower women’ that they’ll demand the oppressive men need some ‘education’ too. or demand it once they’ve been magically empowered.

  142. Sunny — on 28th September, 2006 at 3:49 pm  

    I’m flabbergasted some might think that men should just be allowed to be the way they are without challenging this at all.

    No one said that! Both of you, Sonia and Rakhee, are not reading what I’m getting at. Absolutely men’s opinions need to be challenged. But you keep going on about educating men as if its a magic wand. What exactly does this mean in practice? Tell me.

    We’re talking about what will work, not what you’d like to see happen. I’m just saying that in a power relationship where one side is clearly more powerful, it is naive to think they can be ‘educated’ to give up that power. No, you have to take it away from them and that is what I’m talking about here – investing in places, support groups, and other measures that provide support to women. I think that is more effective.

  143. Surrealist — on 28th September, 2006 at 3:55 pm  

    Dear Progressive Generation, may I say: my only hope after reading Realist’s stale offerings lies in Iran where, apparently, the men are now so secure in the kind of gender/intellectual/muscular/god-given supremacy he wears so charmingly, many are neglecting to bother to get an education and instead gazing at their navels (or below) in narcissistic awe while the women (veiled of course) sneak into colleges, get qualified and come out to run the homes AND the businesses. Cheeky minxes. No wonder they’re keen on beating up any of them who aren’t putting family values first – otherwise they’d be taking over.
    Reminds me of that other progressive culture where China boy is lonely, looking for China girl (these days she has to be forcibly kidnapped and raped in rural areas so he can get married and breed more boys) because there are so many more males than females, owing to single child policy and the – regrettable – resulting
    ‘disappearance’ of millions of girl babies.
    In this insane world of values, virtues and verities (ie; “Realities”) set up by the likes of Realist to measure us by, there is nothing on the spectrum from patriarchal fascist to patriarchal liberal ideals that hasn’t resulted in putting those greatest of creators, women, a little below cattle on an honest man’s tally sheet.
    How delightful that multiculturalism seems to be re-opening the door in Briain to the gender stone-age we’d barely escaped from. Except, I suspect, the old hunter-gatherers had more charm than today’s chauvinist (a polite word for misogynist – for which our male centred language has no mirror equivalent)
    But hey, girls – not to worry: he loves his mum.

  144. sonia — on 28th September, 2006 at 4:01 pm  

    Sunny I think you’re not reading what we’re getting at!

    In terms of setting priorities, one always hears from funders – we haven’t got enough money for x but we have for y, because we have limited resources. fair enough there aren’t enough resources – there never are. but it’s a matter of setting priorities isn’t it.

    why don’t you set forth what your idea in practicality was? All I was saying ( and I imaging Rakhee too) was that you include in your priority what you said was ‘worthless’. Clearly no one has gotten to the stage of talking practicalities – you didn’t mention it in your email – so please stop throwing questions back. the statement that ‘its worthless educating men’ is a strong one, and possibly a lot of men would take offence at that! In any case i think its pretty clear what we’ve been saying. IF you don’t agree you don’t agree. that’s quite another matter. But please don’t suggest our concerns are not valid.

  145. Kismet Hardy — on 28th September, 2006 at 4:04 pm  

    I’d like to be educated

    Some of my best education came from women

    Let’s face it, if women didn’t teach us, we’d all be useless in bed

  146. nyrone — on 28th September, 2006 at 4:14 pm  

    LOL!

  147. nyrone — on 28th September, 2006 at 4:15 pm  

    It’s funny because it’s true…

  148. Kismet Hardy — on 28th September, 2006 at 4:15 pm  

    homer!

  149. nyrone — on 28th September, 2006 at 4:34 pm  

    This is one of the best threads I have read in a while….
    Not because it presents a melee of textual gymnastics or incredible links from off-key nutters, but because the arguments and points put forward by all opposing parties are all smart, passionate, well thought-out and essentially want to achieve the same results through different means.

    Perhaps Sunny should be commended for wanting a real-world ‘we can do this today’ change that is both pragmatic and possible. People writing on blogs often forget the fact that in the cruel real world, it’s not enough to simply come to the table with a handful of criticisms and suggestions…real hands-on change requires prioritization and a practical plan of action to tackle what is largely perceived to be a root issue.
    This might be an awful example, but doctors in third world countries need to start providing medicine to children that they think have a realistic chance of survival, regardless of the fact that hundreds of children desperately need it.
    It’s not something I like thinking about, but it’s true.

    However, while I completely appreciate and understand this view, I disagree with it in this instance. Why should men just have to do nothing? Why can’t it be the other way round? If we get into a situation in which only the empowerment of the woman stops the guy acting like Pindu, what if he just takes his act on the road and treats other women in other countries the same way? Besides…disciplining a man by empowering the woman may have a reverse effect in which the relationship just becomes a ‘fear or love’ relationship…surely that’s not honest? It’s a power struggle.
    Surely by changing the perceptions of the man (through a series of measures) a life-long discipline born of respect rather than fear can take hold of the man and possibly lead to the betterment within his culture.

  150. nyrone — on 28th September, 2006 at 4:36 pm  

    ..and his life

  151. nyrone — on 28th September, 2006 at 4:39 pm  

    Kismet/

    Best Homer line? “Marge, do you have that thing..that you use…to dig food..?”

    Marge: You mean a spoon?

    Homer: Yeah, yeah, yeah…

    I split my gut!
    It was like looking in a mirror.
    That happens to me about 15 times a day.

  152. sonia — on 28th September, 2006 at 4:50 pm  

    yep nyrone. good points.

    it’s fair enough that Sunny wants to focus on something concrete and he feels that wider societal attitudes aren’t something to focus on now. Emphasis on now i guess. different people have different ideas of priorities, that much is clear. Definitely there isn’t anything ‘quick’ to change societal attitudes. it appears that most people are agreeing about underlying problems.

    we’ve all obviously got different ideas on how to get there etc. etc. i would imagine that ‘empowering’ people involves changing attitudes but i get that sunny’s talking about a specific aspect of empowerment, rather than a general one.

    changing social attitudes long-term campaigns – how is this done? good question. it’s not as if there are any easy answers unfortunately, let’s be honest. they’re quite complex and will naturally depend on the exact nature of the various ‘communities’ and people ‘targeted’ – as it’s all based on the social psychology there’s no one measure fits all. it depends on the social context. But think about this – about 50 years ago people would have thought trying to changing attitudes to smoking would never work. there’s been a lot of work over many years trying to change things – and you can see the difference when you go to different cities and countries.

  153. Abhi — on 28th September, 2006 at 4:52 pm  

    Its a cultural disaster for the Punjabi Asians in particular, Sikh and Muslim in particular, need to sort out the old ways and attitudes still intact until today.

    Freshy Pendoo mindset needs to be chucked, rise all educated and articulate people and cleanse this from your communities.

  154. Galloise Blonde — on 28th September, 2006 at 5:14 pm  

    Hi, back from work — today we were talking about holding events to identify families within our target communities who are prepared stand up against male dominance and the ideology of ‘honour’ and for these families to become involved in mentoring young people. Evening classes on respecting women are obviously on a hiding to nothing, but personal mentoring, from other members of the community is a different kettle of fish. And cheap too.

  155. Rakhee — on 28th September, 2006 at 5:15 pm  

    Sunny, I’m sorry but you’re completely confusing me and I think yourself.

    For example, you say:
    =>I’ve come to the conclusion that educating the men is a worthless idea. You cannot teach old dogs new tricks
    vs
    => Absolutely men’s opinions need to be challenged

    => We are talking about limited resources here – time and money
    vs
    => I think its quite idealistic to say that money will come and that educating men is also an important part of this. Where will the money come from?

    =>Educating men will happen as time goes on
    vs=>
    => you keep talking about educating men as if its a magic wand

    I don’t normally disagree so strongly with your views Sunny, forgive me for being blunt, but applying a scenario of sharing £100 for funds to ‘fix the problem’ is more idealistic than anything I believe I’ve said and importantly. doesn’t get to the root of the problem which you reference in the first instance.

    I’m not saying that I have all the answers, but I do strongly believe that any solutions posed need to address the fact that (asian) women who are suffering from depression and thinking of committing suicide are probably:

    a. heavily influenced by their families and partners in their lives
    b. feel cultural suffocation
    c. feel very alone or worse, the people that should be supporting them have abandoned or hurt them physically or mentally.

    I don’t understand your argument about empowering women because women don’t work in isolation. There’s an intrinsic link there.

    The impact of men and families on asian women is MASSIVE.

    Please make me understand if I’ve completely got you wrong.

  156. Kulvinder — on 28th September, 2006 at 5:19 pm  

    At the ‘Honour’ Crime conference I attended last week, Anna from Jasvinder Sanghera’s KarmaNirvana said that there was now an offence relating to driving someone to suicide by illtreatment, and that she hoped to see more prosecutions under this. I do too.

    Assuming you mean ill treatment in a physical sense; theres always been legislation for that. The fact you don’t hear of many cases is perhaps because people are rightly cautious about bringing such prosecutions too quickly and because there aren’t as many instances of those situations occuring as many would believe.

    I suspect you may have heard of a recent case where the husband couldn’t be tried because psychological injury not ammounting to psychiatric illness can’t be seen as part of a ‘causality link’. I haven’t heard of that being changed and would be suprised if it had been. Not being culpable if no recognised psychiatric illness/injury is present is consistent with the view taken in civil courts regarding compensation.

    As for sunny’s idea about another campaign…well as good as the intentions might be it won’t work. Everyone will just roll their eyes as another ‘campaign’ is brought out. Much like drugs education. Changing peoples opinions isn’t an easy thing and i don’t like quick fix ideas of tougher legislation or new campaigns. Steady and constant education over a period of decades is the only way to achieve lasting success.

  157. Galloise Blonde — on 28th September, 2006 at 5:40 pm  

    No, we mean psychological ill-treatment.

    Women are dying. We don’t have decades. We need fixes. And I dispute your statement that change must be organic and gradual; the idea of some sort of natural meliorism is a broad and distant view of history. In fact, when you look at social change closely, it often comes about through the legislature and through concerted efforts to change public opinion. The countries which have mananged to eradicate or reduce FGC have done so by just these methods.

    Sunny has not even suggested a campaign, all he has suggested is prioritising the existing underfunded support structures and awareness raising for women at the expense of efforts to re-educate men. It’s a point of view (not that I’m aware of huge sums being dedicated to this in any case).

  158. Kulvinder — on 28th September, 2006 at 5:48 pm  

    No, we mean psychological ill-treatment.

    So what changed between may and now?

    Women are dying. We don’t have decades. We need fixes. And I dispute your statement that change must be organic and gradual; the idea of some sort of natural meliorism is a broad and distant view of history. In fact, when you look at social change closely, it often comes about through the legislature and through concerted efforts to change public opinion.

    Well quite, still i point to ‘drug education’ and its lack of success.

    Sunny has not even suggested a campaign, all he has suggested is prioritising the existing underfunded support structures and awareness raising for women at the expense of efforts to re-educate men. It’s a point of view (not that I’m aware of huge sums being dedicated to this in any case).

    yeah sorry i was using the word campaign as any sort of ‘new directive’

  159. Galloise Blonde — on 28th September, 2006 at 5:56 pm  

    I don’t know to be honest, just going of what Anna said. Drug education didn’t work maybe, but what about drink driving, seatbelts?

    Have to go, daughter 1 wants the computer.

  160. sonia — on 28th September, 2006 at 6:07 pm  

    G Blonde 154 – really good example of community action and involving families.

    good post rakhee 155

  161. g — on 28th September, 2006 at 7:49 pm  

    why does a thread about sikh women descend into a thread about muslim women? any time either the sikh or hindu community is criticised, someone has to bring islam into it.

  162. s — on 28th September, 2006 at 8:30 pm  

    The article is more interesting than what I’ve read in the mainstream press about this story because it actually considers what would drive an asian woman to through herself and her two babies in front of a train. I used to work as a domestic violence caseworker in Southall and am well aware of the subtle forms of abuse that can cause psychological damage and could, in extreme cases, drive a woman to kill herself (or in many many other cases, self-harm in numerous ways). I’m glad someone’s addressed the clear link between sexism (at the very least without violence), social pressure on Asian women to remain within confining, limiting and damaging roles (good wife, mother, daughter etc). However, the comment about the government failing to legislate against forced marriages was ill informed. Most women’s organizations working on forced marriage cases actually were against bringing in such legislation, on the grounds that existing legislation under which perpetrators could be prosecuted exists (ie. around sexual assault, rape, kidnap, abduction, false imprisonment etc) and some saw this attempt by the goverment as a simplistic bandaid solution which would give the impression that they were acting on the issue without infact directing any real resources towards assisting women at risk of forced marriage (ie. housing, specialist assistance with police and social services, benefits, education, etc). Also, I agree with Rakhi – the comment about not educating men is a cop out, though I understand why it was made. I think many people are generally well educated enough to condemn forced marriage (when they may actually support it) because they know it’s not acceptable to most people. What’s needed is not education – it’s a serious, targetted crackdown on those who perpetrate violence against women in every form, and the will and resources for that don’t exist at any level. As for some of the comments about this article – some of you are just pathetic and really should get a life and a brain.

  163. Sunny — on 28th September, 2006 at 9:00 pm  

    G – religion is irrelevant really, the problem is more that Sikh, Hindu and Muslim women are all being abused. I don’t want to get into a match over which religion is the best. This is a thread about women – their religion is irrelevant.

    Rakhee, let me put it this way. There is a the issue of allocating resources, time and effort and asking for specific legislation.

    That is different to making statements or writing articles engaging people and appealing to their sense of what is right or wrong.

    Please make the distinction between the two because what I mean is that I’d like to allocate resources to the former – practical ways to empower women. These already exist: leaflets letting them know of support services, money towards safe houses, social services support etc.

    I have repeatedly pointed out worthwhile efforts that money can be poured into, to support women who are being abused. This is a power relationship problem where the women are denied access to power and resources. So we must first work to alleviate that – to give them options when abused or when they have nowhere else to turn.

    So my point is that while we should not tolerate chauvanism or atleast condemn it in our discourse, on a practical level resources are better of being dedicated to empowering women.

    I cannot think how resources can be allocated towards ‘educating men’ in a way that will be effective. Do you think that there have been classes for men in this country to help them get over their chauvinism? No. They have had to come to terms with the changing power relationship.

    I’m advocating the same here.

  164. Sunny — on 28th September, 2006 at 9:04 pm  

    Hi S :

    However, the comment about the government failing to legislate against forced marriages was ill informed.

    I’ve linked to an article I wrote previously on PP. I also wrote another piece for the Guardian website explaining why I think legislation was important:
    http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/sunny_hundal/2006/06/the_government_has_betrayed_as.html

    I’m still to be convinced that legislation will have no positive impact. On why trying to ‘educate men’ is futile, I have laid out my reasons above. That is not to absolve them of their responsibility but to accept the resources are better spent on worthwhile projects.

  165. Vikrant Singh — on 28th September, 2006 at 9:33 pm  

    I’m glad someone’s addressed the clear link between sexism (at the very least without violence), social pressure on Asian women to remain within confining, limiting and damaging roles (good wife, mother, daughter etc).

    My mum walked out on such a marriage… and i’m proud of her.

  166. Clairwil — on 28th September, 2006 at 9:53 pm  

    Abusive men like all bullies only behave as badly as they are allowed to and I think empowering victims is the way forward. Women realising they do not need to accept abuse, may well be all the education men need. I wonder if some of the money presently spent on mainstream anti domestic abuse campaigns could be targetted towards Asian women. Would this be helpful? GB,Queen Bee and many others raise good points above. I wonder though if it would be worthwhile targetting some resources towards men who are aware of abuse taking place within their families or communities but aren’t sure how to tackle it or are concerned about involving police, social services etc.

    As for what’s to be done, I suppose it comes down to keeping the issue in the public eye and keeping the pressure on those holding the purse strings. From the point of view of what bloggers etc can do on a voluntary basis, I wonder if if it would be possible to compile a directory of useful resources and contacts on this issue, in a number of languages etc which could be accessed for printing and distrbution by interested parties.

  167. Galloise Blonde — on 28th September, 2006 at 10:10 pm  

    Educating men might be futile but educating boys stands more of a chance. In Sweden, there is a ‘Generation Clash’ project where men with progressive ideas run activities and clubs for boys and at the same time try to expose them to different ideas about life and relationships. This is the kind of idea we’re working on with our family mentoring schemes. Because it’s voluntary, the costs will be minimal, we think.

  168. Rakhee — on 28th September, 2006 at 10:47 pm  

    => My mum walked out on such a marriage… and i’m proud of her.

    Vikrant, your mum rocks!

    In fact, this has made me think of whether there’s something which can be done through Asian mums, of all ages, young or old, who might have encountered problems in the past which relate to our discussions here.

    They can be powerful ambassadors of not only sharing their experiences but pledging to raise their sons to never make the same mistakes their fathers did. After all, we all know how close the relationship is between mother and son, especially amongst asian families.

    It could be anything like a website which brings mums together through discussions or news, or on a grassroots level, small groups of mums who promote their cause or even do fundraising to support shelters etc.

    This might be one way, Sunny, of educating some men that things are changing but also helping women at the same time, in a progresive manner.

    I don’t know – a starter for ten i guess….

  169. Clairwil — on 29th September, 2006 at 12:21 am  

    Vikrant’s mum does indeed rock. I think Rahkee might be onto something with this. I think it would be useful for women to see how ex-victims have coped after leaving.

  170. Amir — on 29th September, 2006 at 1:16 am  

    Up until now, I have thoroughly enjoyed the contributions submitted onto this thread; especially those of Rakhee and Sonia. I had no idea this was such a big problem in the Asian community. It’s quite shocking.

    If any of you doughty feminists want to expand your provincial perspective into a global one, may I recommend this classic text: Women and Human Development by Martha Nussbaum. You can read the first few pages on Amazon.co.uk if you follow the link I have provided.

    Peace,
    Amir

  171. sonia — on 29th September, 2006 at 12:25 pm  

    :-) Amir: you might want to read Nussbaum’s Patriotism and Cosmopolitanism – her idea of concentric circles of humanity is one i have always found interesting and worth taking further.

    cheers

  172. sonia — on 29th September, 2006 at 12:32 pm  

    i second that – Vikrant’s mum rocks!

    168 – Rakhee that’s a great point. the more people in need can draw on other people’s experiences (who’ve been in similar situations in the past) – the better it is, often it seems like you’re the only one going through something, it really helps that others have been through it and have ‘survived’ and moved on etc.

  173. Sunny — on 29th September, 2006 at 1:21 pm  

    I think there are already lots of local womens groups all over the place, though it’s not an area I know too much of. Though I do believe Arif knows more here.

    A website, I’m not exactly sure either. Do lots of older generation Asian women use the internet? How would they find the website and what would it contain? And more importantly who would run it (don’t look at me!)?

    Galloise Blonde – any luck with that piece on the Forced Marriages conference?

  174. sonia — on 29th September, 2006 at 2:39 pm  

    An inspiring network of networks: the Women’s Learning Partnership which focuses on leadership and empowerment for women.

    http://www.learningpartnership.org/about

  175. nyrone — on 29th September, 2006 at 2:40 pm  

    I also want to recommend a book I have been reading on this issue.
    The subjection of women by John Stuart Mills.
    Read it here:

    http://etext.library.adelaide.edu.au/m/mill/john_stuart/m645s/

  176. Rakhee — on 29th September, 2006 at 2:46 pm  

    If you want to get down to the nitty gritty Sunny of who what whys and whens, it might be worth getting a handful of people who really engage in this matter in a room to talk about it and come up with small but effective tactics.

    If we believe this really is the biggest issue for our generation then it’s going to take time and commitment to drive changes forward. I think PP is a great place for some ideas and discussion, as we saw from a previous forced marriages discussion, but converting these thoughts in to fruition is a whole other ball game.

    To your question, Asian mums doesn’t just mean over 60s who don’t use technology. There are plenty of young asian mums out there that are facing these problems. I think it would be good to have a collective group of mums from across the UK to form a foundation to address this issue (and others), that face asian women today.

    What we actually do with them, well, that’s a whole other story!

  177. DAtley — on 30th September, 2006 at 5:51 am  

    Why in the indian diaspora this kind of scenario is
    higher in UK vs US.
    Canada would fall somewhere in the middle.
    I would invite all viewpoint on this?
    I am puzzled by this…
    Again folks I’d request that you look at the forest
    and not the leaves, for i’m sure if you start looking
    for leaves you would find a leaf in california and say
    well look at mr X, to which one would have to recite
    the alphabets of a roman script proliferated globaly by the islanders refering in this case to those who(or whose parents) chose to be islanders.

  178. Desi Italiana — on 1st October, 2006 at 12:37 am  

    Very interesting discussion here which raises a lot of issues:

    1. Many of the comments here give the impression that men as a monolithic are single-handedly responsible for the oppression of women and women, by default of being women, are under the unforgiving clutches of men. I’d like to tell a couple of stories here to illustrate why I think this type of conceptualization is flawed:

    a. When I was home during Christmas, Mathia Aunty and I were preparing food in order to recieve a guest from India. We spent the entire day in the kitchen, me making rotis, stirring various subjhis and daal and whatnot, while Aunty did the more substantial part of the cooking. As if on cue, an hour before our guest arrived, her husband waltzes in, pours himself a gin and tonic and sits his ass on the couch to watch the football game. As usual, not once did he offer to help. He did get up, though, to ask Aunty to serve him a couple of rotis and some subjhi. Pissed off, I leaned over to Aunty and whispered in her ear “Make Uncle serve himself, and tell him to help you!” And you know what she said? ” Noooooo beta– Uncle is from England.”

    OH EXCUSE ME, Uncle is from ENGLAND!!! I didn’t know that that meant he could be a lazy ass sexist wanker! Coming from England excuses him from all sorts of cordialities and understanding– Uncle is from England, which is apparently tantamount to him being from India , and “Indian men” are like that, in her mind. And why, why, why, does she continue to obediently serve him and take on the brunt of the work? Here she is slaving over the stove making kheer, laddoos from scratch, and NOT ONCE does she demand him to GET UP. She could very well say, “You don’t want to help? Then make whatever you want to eat yourself.”

    Guest arrives, Aunty Mathia and I are sweaty, grungy, and tired, covered in whole wheat flour, while all the other Uncles arrive shaved, showered, and cologned, holding their plates to us so that we could plop down food.

    Moral of the story: some women go on perpetuating these gendered roles. In some ways, they may be impelled to do so (ie dealing with implications that could turn violent; fucked up mother in laws, etc)

    2. Same Christmas vacation, same wanker Uncle From England:

    I’m sitting down on the couch enjoying my food and chit-chatting about the Hurricane Katrina with another Uncle. Uncle From England comes and stands right in front of me. I ignore him. A Desi friend–in her late 30′s who is a financial consultant, has a fiery personality– suprisingly tells me, “DI, get up and sit here so that Uncle can sit down.” I just glared at her.

    Again, another woman who willingly tells me to adapt to this retarded hierarchy (I’m young AND a female, therefore I should get up and concede my seat to Uncle From England)

    c. I’m watching a lame yuppie Indian soap opera on Zee TV where the lady of the house, pretty in pink, irately tells her husband when he arrives home asking for tea, “I’m not your nokar (slave]!” I said jokingly, “That’s right.” An aunty shoots a glance my way, and tells me, “Don’t put stories into Sarita’s head.” Sarita is the her newly arrived daughter in law and she is sitting there right next to me.

    These all seem like banal stories, but it’s exactly the everyday things like these, that after years and years, can drive anybody crazy. How do you tackle something like abuse when there’s a whole slew of underlying forces that are intertwined?

    d. A news item from Canada a while ago informed me of an “honor killing.” A Canadian born Punjabi Sikh young lady (23 yrs. old, I think), on a trip to Punjab, met a man with whom she fell in love with. But he was of the wrong “caste,” and her mother had someone else in mind for her. The woman decided to elope and the two got married. Her mother asked her brother (so the girl’s uncle) to KILL HER. So even though the murder was carried out by a man, it was at the request of a woman–her mother.

    My point with these stories is that there are instances where some women voluntarily impose the type of mentality that some of us are criticizing. I don’t want to give the impression that women are behind all of the atrocities that happen. I don’t want to give the impression either that these things are simple and clean cut– men oppress women, and women are the victims. I’ve seen, from personal experiences, too many incidents that lead me to think that sometimes, women are the worst enemy of women.

    2. There is the tendency to think that the oppression of women is a cultural thing– that oppression is in Desi culture, and so women are oppressed by their men. But there are other factors that weaken the power of agency of a women and/or make women feel depressed. For example, think about a woman who lives in a foreign country as a wife: language may be a problem; a supportive network may be lacking (such as family and friends); and the sense of loneliness that arises in living in a foreign country. I have seen this as well.

    3. “I’ve come to the conclusion that educating the men is a worthless idea. You cannot teach old dogs new tricks. The only way forward would be to find ways to empower women to find help and support when they are faced with such family hostility. Thoughts? Opinions?”

    Sunny, as much as I love you, this is bullshit. So assholish men can continue to be assholish men while women strive to overcome these assholish men. No. The “only way forward” is not to simply “empower women” without attempting to change the attitudes of some men. If this is the only way, it is simply a band-aid remedy to an problem that is very deep seated which requires both sexes and genders to be involved.

    Apologies for the long comment! :)

  179. Desi Italiana — on 1st October, 2006 at 12:47 am  

    Another thing–

    One place where change can occur is at home. Parents need to think long and hard about what kind of upbringing they give their children. Many men and women have grown up seeing a sexual division of labor and tend to reproduce these gendered norms.

    Parents should start teaching their betas (m) and betis (f) differently, as well as setting examples and serving as role models.

    Um….it’s starting to occur to me that maybe I am going off topic. Am I?

  180. Desi Italiana — on 1st October, 2006 at 12:53 am  

    Just read some comments–

    For those of you who think that class has something to do with it– ie “Pindhu” mentality vs. “educated” mentality– I personally don’t think that you can tag mentalities as “village” vs. “educated.” PLENTY of “educated” people who reproduce gendered norms. And there is violence even in middle class and upper middle class households (assuming that those folks are “educated”– ie have had education. And if British Desis are anylike like their American Desi counterparts, chances are that “education” means something hard science focused and/or professional, which doesn’t leave much room for education having to do with life, society, politics, etc)

  181. Desi Italiana — on 1st October, 2006 at 1:09 am  

    To elaborate comment #180:

    From a diasporic location (the US), I’ve noticed a middle- class -New Delhi- wife- of -an -urbanite model taking hold. Here, the wife may be “educated” ie has degrees, but dresses up in chiffon and silk salwaar kameezes and serves tea and sweets to her husband’s friends and finds herself more or less in the same gendered framework, albeit with a little more room for mobility, but always within the same framework. And, there is room for depression, violence, pressure of social forces which function as unwritten laws, etc.

    Really do not know if I have effectively veered off topic and jacked the thread…

  182. Desi Italiana — on 1st October, 2006 at 1:18 am  

    Oh, I see Amir recommended a book–

    I also would like to suggest a book:

    Feminism Without Borders by Chandra Talpade Mohanty

    I’ve never called myself a “feminist.” And I was suprised and pleased that this writer addresses the very reasons why I shirk from mainstream feminism. She focuses on issues specific to South Asian women.

    Another book, which deals with violence and South Asian women:

    Our Feet Walk the Sky

    This book includes interviews with female victims of violence.

  183. Sunny — on 1st October, 2006 at 4:01 am  

    Desi, to address some of your points.

    1) I do think much of the patriarchy is perpetuated by women, so I don’t tolerate their sillyness as much as I don’t tolerate male chauvinism.

    2) I’ve never actually denied this is a joint problem and that men also need to change their attitudes. But other than state what I have already stated, you haven’t actually given practical examples of how men can be ‘educated’. I keep asking for this and all I get in return is more horrified replies saying that I’m somehow absolving men of blame or saying they can carry on behaving how they want to. They absolutely cannot.

    But please, try to understand: I’m suggesting that we force them to change their ways (by empowering women) than appeal to their conscience (which is essentially what ‘education’ entails). Yourself, Rakhee and Sonia don’t seem to understand the point I’m trying to make here.

    As someone famously said, if feminism means not letting women be used as a doormat, then I’m a feminist. Labels are unimportant.

    And lastly, on action – what can we do. Firstly I think discussion is part of the process. I think writing articles and lobbying for change (for example on forced marriages legislation) is also part of the process. I am considering other practical ways forward but the problem is I am one man. I need to find ways to delegate or get others to be involved, or be part of a different network. It’s not easy…. but suggestions are always welcome.

    Meanwhile, I think it’s important to have these discussions and figure out what is the right way. This is absolutely the biggest issue for our generation.

  184. Desi Italiana — on 1st October, 2006 at 6:49 am  

    Sunny:

    “1) I do think much of the patriarchy is perpetuated by women, so I don’t tolerate their sillyness as much as I don’t tolerate male chauvinism.

    2) I’ve never actually denied this is a joint problem and that men also need to change their attitudes. But other than state what I have already stated, you haven’t actually given practical examples of how men can be ‘educated’. I keep asking for this and all I get in return is more horrified replies saying that I’m somehow absolving men of blame or saying they can carry on behaving how they want to. They absolutely cannot. ”

    Oh, I wasn’t saying that you yourself stated this….these were just my own thoughts.

    Where I say “Sunny:” is where I specifically addressed something you said.

    “But please, try to understand: I’m suggesting that we force them to change their ways (by empowering women) than appeal to their conscience (which is essentially what ‘education’ entails). Yourself, Rakhee and Sonia don’t seem to understand the point I’m trying to make here.”

    I see what you are trying to say. But I also stand by my comment.

    Maybe the disagreement stems from the fact that we haven’t really established at what level men should be left alone, empowerment should be, etc. Are we talking about ordinary, everyday life, as I was? Or on an institutional level? I think each one of us has our own idea at what level changes should occur.

  185. Galloise Blonde — on 1st October, 2006 at 1:19 pm  

    Oops, I thought this thread was dead!

    Yes I did attend the Honour Killing conference in London, (which did have a Forced Marriage element) but I had to skip out before the end to get the Blondettes from school — sadly before the presentation I co-wrote. I have been writing up an account of it, but it’s a bit unfinished due to too many meetings this week and another conference to organise(a community one, not in English, to feel out support for the ‘Families Against Honour Killing’ programme). Most of the take-away advice was applicable to agencies more than individuals, and ideas for community engagement were thin on the ground. You may remember that the Police reopened over 100 cases of mysterious death that may have been ‘honour’ related: well, an analyst from the Police gave us a statistical breakdown of those that have been identified as definitely or probably ‘honour’ killings, and this was probably the most interesting to me, with some new facts to chew on. Such as, 1 in 9 ‘honour’ killings are performed by contratct killers.

    I do follow your argument about resources and educating men, but I think that educating boys is key. I lived in Leeds for a while next door to an violently abusive man; I tried to call on the house to speak to the wife but she never answered the door. One day I caught the six-year-old son viciously beating the two-year-old daughter, and I gave him a clout (a painless one, I assure all concerned readers) and an earful. He gave me a look of unadulterated fury and told me “Women are dirt. I can do what I like.” This still chills me. (I also regret to this day that I never called the police on the father.)

    I don’t think the father had a conscience that anyone could have appealed to, particularly not me. But I don’t want young boys being brought up to see nothing beyond relationships based in dominance — for their own sakes as well as the women they will marry. As I say, we have the mentoring scheme planned, and we are looking to publish a ‘Guide to Relationships’ for youngsters (working title between2worlds), with legal and human rights advice, inspired by Ni Putes Ni Soumises ‘Guide de Respect’, and a website to go with it.

    We’re just one organisation, and a small one at that, and we work in the margins. What we need is not a single campaign, but a mainstreaming of the awareness of the human rights of women, into the courts and the schools. Lord Russell said that in some Derby schools they are not distributing leaflets on forced marriage for fear of causing offence. Link to Hansard That is outrageous.

    And if you are collecting stories of women who throw themselves under trains, here’s another one.

  186. Rakhee — on 1st October, 2006 at 2:20 pm  

    Galloise Blonde – oh my god. Can’t believe what that little boy said to you. And I couldn’t agree more with your comment about educating boys. That was partly why I suggested focusing on Asian mums, to ensure that wherever possible, these problems can be avoided from a young age.

    Which leads nicely to the point I was going to make to you Sunny.

    => you haven’t actually given practical examples of how men can be ‘educated’. I keep asking for this and all I get in return is more horrified replies saying that I’m somehow absolving men of blame or saying they can carry on behaving how they want to. They absolutely cannot

    See my posts 168 and 176. I tried to propose some ideas but got shot down – what are you looking for Sunny? If you want to discuss the issue then lets do it, but allow the discussions and ideas to flow before you ask about the who whats whys and whens.

    We know you’re one man but no-one suggested that you can solve this yourself! Ultimately, big issues are never going to be solved overnight and take understanding, intelligence and patience to turn around.

    Most of all however, I think it needs sensitivity. I’m going to be brutally honest and say your comment about men/ treating old dogs new tricks came across as very blunt and appeared to complete right off a major variant in this entire equation.

    I do understand what you mean now, as I’m sure the others do, but ultimately, I’m sorry, but I just don’t think that comment is right and it’s thrown this thread off course. And it isn’t just the women here who have pointed this out.

    If we want to get the discussion back on track, here’s a question.

    Why would an Asian woman want to commit suicide in this day and age? What are the triggering factors? Any one? Any more stories/experiences would be really useful….

  187. Galloise Blonde — on 1st October, 2006 at 2:33 pm  
  188. Sunny — on 1st October, 2006 at 2:44 pm  

    See my posts 168 and 176. I tried to propose some ideas but got shot down – what are you looking for Sunny? If you want to discuss the issue then lets do it, but allow the discussions and ideas to flow before you ask about the who whats whys and whens.

    Rakhee, no one shot you down. I just wan’t convinced it would be that easy to push a website aimed at older Asian women. But regardless of that, your suggestions in both those posts were about empowering women to push through social change… which is exactly what I have been arguing throughout.

    So on the one hand you’re criticising me for apparently ignoring men, but on the other hand you’re suggesting a methodology (empowering women to drive change) that I did initially.

    I completely agree with GB that educating young boys should be the way forward. I think this applies to young boys across the board.

  189. Rakhee — on 1st October, 2006 at 2:55 pm  

    => But regardless of that, your suggestions in both those posts were about empowering women to push through social change… which is exactly what I have been arguing throughout.

    Huh? The ideas I had were about empowering women but at the same time, educating men. Think about, targeting Asian women isn’t just about getting them to talk about there experiences in to a virtual void, but also to become real ambassadors and teach their own children (sons) and families that this has got to change and won’t be tolerated. This includes men!

    Which is why I said in that post:

    = > This might be one way, Sunny, of educating some men that things are changing but also helping women at the same time, in a progresive manner.

    I know you weren’t convinced about the technology idea and I came back to you on it.

    I am criticizing you for ignoring men, correct, but that doesn’t mean I can’t come back to you on ideas to empower women!

    You seem to still have this ‘either/or’ mentality and it’s so frustrating.

  190. Galloise Blonde — on 1st October, 2006 at 6:47 pm  

    Oh yes — I completely agree that we should work towards the education of all boys and girls in building relationships built on respect and self-respect.

    It strikes me that if there is any actual re-education of abusive men going on in this country it’s through court-prescribed anger management classes. I have my doubts about their efficacy when dealing with gender-based abuse though.

  191. Jagdeep — on 1st October, 2006 at 7:10 pm  

    What about a special department in the Home Office with a dedicated minister with a significant budget to attack the problem so that it’s not all disparate and all over the place? They can bring together all the research, the activists, liaise with the CPS to make sure cases are rigourously prosecuted. Someone with real ooomph and power to oversee this problem, liaise with the media etc etc, like Eliot Ness played by Kevin Costner in the Brian De Palma film ‘The Untouchables’, also starring Robert De Niro as Al Capone, and in an Oscar winning performance, Sean Connery, who plays an Irish policeman with a Scottish accent.

    What I mean is a minister, junior minister, whatever, who does nothing else but work on this problem.

    As for the religious establishment – fuck them,
    you have to by-pass them completely, they care more for defending the pride of their religion than the welfare of people.

  192. sonia — on 1st October, 2006 at 7:35 pm  

    Back to the title of the post – WHo killed Navjeet Sidhu? I read another version of the story which mentioned that Navjeet had been diagnosed with depression when she was younger and that when her husband left her and went back to india she was pressured by her family ( with ‘their honour’ in mind) and made to go over and ask him to come back pls. in any case there are going to be very difficult to establish what pushed her over the edge – husband or family pressure or both etc. Failed relationships are traumatic enough without family getting involved and making one feel more of a ‘failure’. in any case i don’t think one can automatically blame the husband – how do we know what happened? we don’t. we can’t assume he was a misogynist and an abusive husband. obviously now the family’s going to try and blame him and vice versa. He’s clearly going through a pretty shitty time and i don’t think any one can automatically apportion blame. Similarly one could say Navjeet’s mother might have committed suicide herself because she was aware of the pressure she put on her daughter. WHo KNows. Looking to pin the blame down -whodunnit -isn’t easy and may end up as a witchunt. A lot of people may have contributed to the piling the pressure on.

    However there are clear problems with the wider societal context.

    The main things are clear : generally and as evinced by this thread -despite the haggling – specific support for people at risk, wider societal recognition and families of the kinds of situations ‘family pressure’ may lead to especially if someone has a history of depression, suicidal urges etc. Generally depression isn’t taken seriously in asian families anyway. Lots to think about. It’s pretty clear fussing about men or women isn’t going to be particularly helpful – let’s see this as a problem that affects everyone. It’s not as if sons are not under pressure to ‘go marry some girl from the village so i can be a nasty mother in law’ sort of thing. And yes, a lot of women are busy replicating unpleasant traditions from back in their day – perhaps because they think if they suffered so should everyone else, or because they’re resistant to change.

  193. sonia — on 1st October, 2006 at 7:49 pm  

    Desi Italiana – Very good points and example.

  194. sonia — on 1st October, 2006 at 8:05 pm  

    I don’t think you were going off point Desi Italiana. I see exactly what you mean.

    Sunny – perhaps we misunderstood you but your statement was bald and open to plenty of misunderstanding. Something to keep hold of for the future. In any case moving on – that statement caused a lot of veering off but it is important if you could see why we all responded the way we did. It would be a bit weird if no one reacted to that.

    Anyhow. Desi i agree with you about the problems of the term ‘feminist’. It’s important to be an ‘equalist’ ( ok i’ve just invented the term) not necessarily a feminist – feminism implies to me ( anyway) ignoring the need for equality, not emphasising one sex over another. too often feminism has had too much of that.

  195. Jagdeep — on 1st October, 2006 at 8:50 pm  

    Generally depression isn’t taken seriously in asian families anyway. Lots to think about

    I think this is the point that hasnt been addressed enough on this thread. Maybe Sunny can write an article specifically about this, because I really think it comes into play. You know, my cousin-sister lost her husband two years ago, he was only 45, heart attack. Leaving her alone with two sons and a daughter to raise alone (they dont live in an extended family set up)

    I hadnt seen her for a year of so and whilst on business decided to stay a night with them when I was in the locality, and I realised that she is in the middle of a massive depression which has left her really incapacitated. The children are amazing – aged 19, 16 and 12, coping really well, but she was in the midst of a black hole and finding it hard to get out. So I talked to her and personally took her to the GP a fortnight later, because she was in denial about things and was scared to seek help, I made her children understand the importance of the various treatments provided. When I talked to the aunties of the family their response was to see it as part of the natural grieving process and that it could be cured by looking after the children, going Gurudwara, saying prayers, and if she broke down crying, as people suffering depression do, they would tell her off and tell her to pull herself together.

  196. Jagdeep — on 1st October, 2006 at 8:52 pm  

    There might be a problem with the provision of treatment for depression from the outside world, but there is a reluctance to admit to mental health problems to a certain degree amongst Asian families too – and that’s not just for women but for men too.

  197. sonia — on 1st October, 2006 at 8:56 pm  

    good for you Jagdeep! :-)

  198. Baljeet Sanghera — on 1st October, 2006 at 9:11 pm  

    Also for some interesting statistics, the Jakara group http://www.jakara.org, seemed to have had a survey with especially revealing statistics. Information can be found at:
    http://www.sikhnet.com/Sikhnet/discussion.nsf/SearchView/2E9A5F0960AF97C1872571D40036E4F9!OpenDocument

    However, it does seem that this religious group is trying to make a change in their community and creating a dialogue, instead of all the cynic spew that leaks from sunny (the cafe revolutionary — Immortal Technique)

  199. Galloise Blonde — on 1st October, 2006 at 9:13 pm  

    The whodunnit question is obviously unanswerable; as you say, we can’t know why. It’s just a case to get us talking about the real issue: that South Asian women are 2-3 times more likely to commit suicide than any other group, and to tease out the pressures behind this. It’s not just family ‘honour’and male dominance; the research I linked upthread showed a correlation between a recent racist incident and suicide attempts. There are issues of alienation here.

    Suicide, like domestic violence, varies widely from country to country. In fact, extended family structures often correlate with low suicide levels, compared with individualistic societies which leave vulnerable people isolated with their depression, without support or perspective. What we have here, maybe, is a double alienation; alienation from the demands of the family and community, and simultaneous alienation from the rest of society.

    Jagdeep, I do like your idea, kinda, but I don’t know what you’d call the position, and I don’t know whether it’s right for a junior minister to cut his teeth and try to build his reputation in such a sensitive area, and I’m just generally unsure about entrusting this to a politician. A National Advisory board maybe? (I vote for Nazir Azfal as Kevin Costner.)

  200. Jagdeep — on 1st October, 2006 at 9:14 pm  

    I agree sonia, good for me!

    But seriously, I agree with you about this particular case, no matter what the issues it throws up, I don’t want to speculate on the complicity of her husband because the whole thing is so utterly harrowing and sad — and inexplicable too, like that English guy who jumped out of the hotel with his son attempting suicide and survived whilst he died.

    And look above, another critic of Sunny angry at him for something!

  201. Galloise Blonde — on 1st October, 2006 at 9:17 pm  

    Baljeet, thanks for the link. Nearly 60% of US Sikh women suffer from bouts of depression? It’s a 20% lifetime risk for for American women generally. That’s disturbing.

  202. Vikrant Singh — on 1st October, 2006 at 9:22 pm  

    There might be a problem with the provision of treatment for depression from the outside world, but there is a reluctance to admit to mental health problems to a certain degree amongst Asian families too

    Sure, only of Kismet’s dad had acted sooner…

  203. Jagdeep — on 1st October, 2006 at 9:24 pm  

    Gaulloise Blonde

    But you would need someone with teeth. The position would have to have major catalytic powers. A commission is just another quango. Isnt there a minister for women? Well, it can be a sub-set of that. The name could be something innocuous. Minister for Minority Women Welfare or something like that. Give it a wide remit to deal with issues relating to mental health, honour crimes, with links to the CPS and activist groups, police, academics, with the sole purpose of providing focus and vigour on this issue. Giving it to a politician would give it more legitimacy than an apointee, and if there are no suitable MPs, then appoint someone to the House of Lords and let them rip.

    I’m serious. If there is a need to tackle at source, at the roots, this might be what is needed. Someone imposing, that will scare the shit out of recalcitrant community leaders if needed, and someone with cabinet level support too. Someone who can get out there and co-ordinate it.

    I could be the Sean Connery style enforcer, if they need one, because I am going bald too, and like to act tough.

  204. Baljeet Sanghera — on 1st October, 2006 at 9:30 pm  

    My pleasure, Galloise. I just found a link about the survey as well

    http://www.sikhnet.com/Sikhnet/discussion.nsf/SearchView/A40AA4723B606293872571700074DDF9!OpenDocument

    And a newspaper written about a Sikh community conference where they seemed to have addressed these issues:
    http://www.sikhnet.com/Sikhnet/discussion.nsf/SearchView/A40AA4723B606293872571700074DDF9!OpenDocument

    And Jagdeep, yes we criticize Sunny for his knee-jerk reaction to religion. Are there obscruntists in every religion? YES. Who would know better than Sunny as his brother, Jagraj, is considered quite looney. However to label all as Sunny often attempts to do, due to his own disdain for organized religion is also rather problematic. Sunny has advice for all, but other than a few BBC appearances as a talking head when it came to issues such as the Behzti episode, I don’t see him actively engaging the youth to anything positive. He is the armchair general or as Immortal Technique says “a cafe revolutionary.”

  205. Jagdeep — on 1st October, 2006 at 9:36 pm  

    What’s ‘Immortal Technique’?

    I don’t know much about Sunny so I was just shooting the breeze. I agree that people are less likely to listen to you if you dissasociate yourself from them and condescend to them.

  206. Galloise Blonde — on 1st October, 2006 at 9:45 pm  

    You sound pretty tough :-) I’m sure Anne Cryer would love the job. I just looked up the Women and Equality Unit and yeah, what they’re doing is nothing, it’s all about entrepeneurship. What we feel is really missing from the HK&FM angle is coordination and awareness in public services, specifically a strategy for schools, social services and healthcare providers. The police are not always doing the right thing, but they are doing something. Elsewhere…pfft.

    So yeah, if the Minister was prepared to kick arse, there’s a lot of arses that need it. But not all politicians like making waves, and Ministers are also appointees and not appointed by us. Would your minister be appointed by Ruth Kelly or her successor, because that doesn’t make me feel like singing. (I don’t know who appoints Junior Ministers.)

    I hope your sister is doing OK now.

  207. Jagdeep — on 1st October, 2006 at 9:59 pm  

    My cousin sister is on medication and in counselling so I think she will be fine, but ironically it is the fact that she lives in an isolated part of teh country (her husband was an engineer in the north away from any Asian communities) that may be part of the problem. Being around some symapthetic aunty in an extended family might have helped at this time, despite the lack of support. On the one hand it’s because of the stigma associated with depression, on the other it is just the mentality of immigrant stoicism ie: we didnt get to where we are today through poverty and racism through feeling sorry for ourselves. That becomes the default mode, as well as all the other complex reasons for not taking depression seriously.

    Yeah, I think Minister for Minority Women’s Welfare would be a good name. Ann Cryer has had rucks with some people so best to put in a smiley fresh face and have Ann Cryer as behind-the-scenes muscle and adviser. I’m serious, you should put this idea out there, add it to the debate amongst the activists, MPs. Say it is urgent because if you tackle it intensively and co-ordinated way, police forces, shelters, NHS for mental health issues, CPS, media liaison — you could make a difference I’m sure of it. A whole government department – and if you don’t co-operate they send John Prescott round to sit on you.

  208. Baljeet Sanghera — on 1st October, 2006 at 10:00 pm  

    Jagdeep,

    Immortal Technique is a phenomenal rapper. You can listen to some samples, you can visit his website at:

    http://www.viperrecords.com/imtech/revolutionary2samples/revolutionary2samples.html

    Point well taken with regards to Sunny. It is based on understanding and seeing the community as ‘us,’ even the elements we don’t agree with with hopes to change them through love and understanding rather than a confrontational ‘us’ v. ‘them’ approach that makes people only stake out their positions even harder and less likely to engage in dialogue.

  209. Jagdeep — on 1st October, 2006 at 10:05 pm  

    Immortal Technique looks like old school social consciousness style rap, we had a discussion about this the other day me and Leon.

    I think Sunny is a good guy. I dont know enough about him to say if he is really as you say.

  210. Rakhee — on 1st October, 2006 at 10:06 pm  

    Depression is a really really good point and it’s clear that once women (or men for that matter) fall in to it, it’s tough to get out of.

    It’s made me think how much language could be a barrier. I mean, it’s one thing setting up helplines and shelters but in terms of helping to heal the psychological problem, these women need someone to talk to, confide in but in their own language.

    Maybe one thing we could do is fight for a helpline or a hindi equivalent of The Samaritans. I don’t believe something like this exists and it might give these people someone to at least talk to in confidence.

    In terms of influencing men, couple more ideas:

    - produce flyers or perhaps link up with a football or cricket club which has a strong asian following to target men and inform them of the punishment of domestic abuse/violence
    - approach an organisation or the g’ment to fund some beermats which can be used in pubs and bars with either an extract of an asian woman’s experience or again, details of the sentences in store for those who offend. I know this might not work for some muslim communities but it would for others.

    I’m just trying to think of ways to directly target people while at the same time, thinking of more long-term ideas such as those suggested above…

  211. Rakhee — on 1st October, 2006 at 10:08 pm  

    I think Sunny is a good guy

    FO SHO.

  212. Jagdeep — on 1st October, 2006 at 10:08 pm  

    blehh…looks like Immortal Technique is a believer in 9/11 conspiracy theories. I think I’ll stick to Cypress Hill for my paranoid Hip Hop (“Hello my name is Dr Greenthumb!”)

  213. Baljeet Sanghera — on 1st October, 2006 at 10:17 pm  

    hahah different strokes for different folks
    some of his theories are over the top
    but his latin american stuff like peruvian coke is great

  214. Sunny — on 1st October, 2006 at 10:27 pm  

    Interesting turn to this discussion.

    And Jagdeep, yes we criticize Sunny for his knee-jerk reaction to religion.

    Where exactly have I criticised religion? This is just wilful misrepresentation. It’s more that I get knee-jerk defensive people on here who start criticising me. When we had the discussion on Samira Nazir I had someone saying I was picking on Islam or Muslim women. Gimme a break.

    Who would know better than Sunny as his brother, Jagraj, is considered quite looney. However to label all as Sunny often attempts to do, due to his own disdain for organized religion is also rather problematic.

    If you had any credibility left, you’ve certainly squandered that with the cheap shot at my brother. I don’t even need to defend him, heh.

    I have a disdain for organised religion? Yes, I have a disdain for the so-called community leaders who try and organise religions. That is however irrelevant to this discussion. Try and stick to the topic?

    As for ‘engaging da yoof’ – keeping a tab on my activities are you? You’re welcome to criticise my understanding of ground realities but just because I don’t spend my time hanging around the Gurudwara or going to Sikhi camps along with the BOSS crew doesn’t mean I have no clue of what’s going on.

    Anyway, enough digression.

    I believe depression is also a serious problem, I agree. My mum went through that too, and I agree that this is downplayed in Asian communities. Maybe a media campaign to raise awareness of this would be useful. Though I see it fundamentally tied to the existing system of patriarchy.

  215. Galloise Blonde — on 1st October, 2006 at 10:41 pm  

    —-> Though I see it fundamentally tied to the existing system of patriarchy.

    Heh, I always want to say things like that, but I stop and rephrase them to not sound too radfem.

  216. Galloise Blonde — on 1st October, 2006 at 11:08 pm  

    Taboos around depression and other mental health disorders are not limited to South Asians. I was discussing this very issue with a friend yesterday who tells me that the Middle East is very simillar, and that there is a lot of undiagnosed depression there, amongst both men and women. Depression is always commoner amongst women; I believe some of the more toxic ingredients in the depressive mode of thought are learned helplessness and unexpressed anger which is redirected inward. Women are more often in positions of dependency, are expected to repress negative and aggressive emotions, and who are more likely to have their desires and life-choices thwarted. (For which I blame the Patriarchy.)

    My family is riddled with depressive disorders in one form or another and I know how they eat you from inside, and how they incapacitate you: and that support and understanding from outside is essential for recovery. Awareness of these issues are essential for everyone.

  217. sonia — on 2nd October, 2006 at 1:10 am  

    anyhow getting past all the personality politics – no point letting that get us bogged down! can’t work out what that baljeet fellow’s on about..

    aha! that’s the phrase i was rooting around for – learned helplessness. crux of the matter! good post G Blonde 216. having one’s life plans/ambitions thwarted can lead to either terrible resentment/aggression outwards or depression and harm towards oneself if turned inwards. can’t count how many people in my wider family who feel thwarted in their life but at the same time feel they can’t do anything about it – as then they’ll feel they’ve not played by the book therefore will constitute ‘failure’. Keeping up a face appears to be the thing to do. but at the same time it seems people end up so bitter can’t feel happy if anyone steps outside of the conventions. the real problem is at that stage people feel they can’t help each other. or don’t want to.

    i guess – getting out of the ‘asian family’ thing -

    this sort of stuff is relevant to everyone’s lives. societal expectations and fear of failure. there’s a lot of pressure to ‘succeed’ whatever the hell that may mean – that drives people to overwork etc. and if they feel they ‘haven’t’ found ‘it’ consequences can be pretty much the same – drastic for some.

    i think rakhee’s suggestion of a version of the Samaritans in different language/s is a great idea.

  218. sonia — on 2nd October, 2006 at 10:55 am  

    oh and hang on – i can’t quite get the idea of this. at the same time people don’t want ‘white people’ to feel sorry for ‘us’ i.e. this ‘liberal’ racism. So it’s a bit of a confusing message to send isn’t it?

  219. Leon — on 2nd October, 2006 at 12:27 pm  

    Reading this thread has left me feeling depressed and confused. Depressed because the general state of crap women suffer that led to this suicide and confused as to why the comments are so odd.

    I must have missed something but I fail to see what good comes of attacking Sunny or over reacting because he dared to think in real terms about resources (i.e. where limited funding should be focused in any campaign)…surely we picklers are better than this?

  220. sonia — on 2nd October, 2006 at 2:51 pm  

    i apologize if my comments came across as an ‘attack’ on Sunny – they certainly weren’t meant to be that.

    certainly its a good job some people are practically minded.

  221. Leon — on 2nd October, 2006 at 2:59 pm  

    Tbh I didn’t have you in mind Sonia, that said it does look like you guys are all argueing at cross purposes…

  222. raz — on 5th October, 2006 at 4:58 pm  
  223. Jagdeep — on 5th October, 2006 at 5:10 pm  

    That is bloody awful raz.

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