Letter-writer Alex Sangha suggests “five simple ideas” to prevent potential violence

Letter-writer Alex Sangha suggests “five simple ideas” to prevent potential violence

LETTERS: Rebuilding a culture of equality


There have been a number of high-profile murders in the South Asian community in Surrey over the years.


There have been a number of high-profile murders in the South Asian community in Surrey over the years.

Even one is too many, as far as I am concerned.

As a Punjabi male born into a Sikh family, I am really disgusted by these acts of violence which go against everything I was taught as a Sikh. It is our duty to protect the marginalized, oppressed, vulnerable and weak, and advocate for equality, dignity and respect for all.

The community should rise to protect all vulnerable and relatively powerless people, including Punjabi women. This violence, otherwise, tears apart the life of a friend, neighbour, sister, daughter, wife and, of course, mothers.

What is even more depressing is sometimes the immediate and extended family members support this violence to protect their relatively privileged sons. No use denying the fact that sons are favoured in our culture, to the point where even the state of Punjab in India has one of the highest rates of female infanticide in the country.

In a home where there is domestic violence, the home environment becomes toxic for the victim, especially if there are children involved. The psychological and emotional damage can lead to lifelong trauma and developmental difficulties for children in later life.

What message does violence against women send to our next generation of daughters and their role and place in society? Our culture is setting them up for a potentially unsafe, toxic and dangerous life. The violence repeats itself from generation to generation. Men and boys learn what they are taught from their fathers and families.

I would like to clarify that I do not wish to imply that all South Asian, Punjabi or Sikh households have a problem with domestic violence. It could be argued that all cultures have a problem with domestic violence.

What I am saying is that even one household or one victim is too many, and that I would like to see a response from our South Asian community to resolve the issue before it becomes a social norm.

There are many factors that contribute to violence against women, such as patriarchy and social norms and attitudes. I feel it’s time to challenge these factors and for the South Asian community to take steps to protect future generations of women, children and families.

What can be done? As a social worker who has lived in Surrey for more than 20 years, I would like to put forward the following five ideas for discussion:

• After marriage, the couple can go live with the bride’s family.

• If the above is not an option, the bride and groom can live together in their own independent home. This will make it easier for a victim to obtain a restraining order, because she won’t be pressured by her in-laws to suffer in silence for the sake of the family.

• Family assets and inheritance can be equally distributed between male and female children, instead of favouring the surviving sons.

• The practice of dowry needs to be abolished.

• The bride’s father should not be expected to disproportionately pay for the wedding.

There you go! Five simple ideas that can bring about progressive social change in our community. The ideas try to get to the partial root source and provide a preventative approach to domestic violence and women’s inequality.

Hopefully, these ideas will lead to more equality, fairness and protection for vulnerable women and children in the South Asian community.

Alex Sangha, Surrey



Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The volume of visitors to White Rock’s Marine Drive over the weekend has led council to consider special measures this week. (Aaron Hinks photo)
White Rock council rejects resident-only parking for waterfront

Other health and safety measures to be considered in a special meeting Wednesday

South Surrey senior Marnie Allard is this year’s honoree in the IG Wealth Management Walk for Alzheimer’s. (Contributed photo)
South Surrey senior honoured in 2021 Alzheimer’s walk

Marnie Allard is living with posterior cortical atrophy

South Surrey’s Paul Cottrell, who works with the DFO, tows a grey whale out of Semiahmoo Bay Sunday. (Contributed photo)
Dead whale floating near White Rock towed to shore for necropsy

Animal has been dead since at least April 15

Vehicles line up for the Greater Vancouver Drive-Thru Food Truck Festival at the Chilliwack Coliseum parking lot on March 27. The touring event comes to Cloverdale this weekend, April 24-25 (Photo: Jenna Hauck/Chilliwack Progress)
Here are the food trucks coming to Cloverdale for a drive-thru festival this weekend

Nine trucks will be parked Saturday, nine Sunday during event at fairgrounds

Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges all the empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines that she has provided to customers at the Junction Chemist which is a independent pharmacy during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto, on Monday, April 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Parts of Surrey, North Delta to get AstraZeneca vaccines for people ages 40+

A total of seven communities in Surrey and Delta will be targeted

In this image from NASA, NASA’s experimental Mars helicopter Ingenuity lands on the surface of Mars Monday, April 19, 2021. The little 4-pound helicopter rose from the dusty red surface into the thin Martian air Monday, achieving the first powered, controlled flight on another planet. (NASA via AP)
VIDEO: NASA’s Mars helicopter takes flight, 1st for another planet

The $85 million helicopter demo was considered high risk, yet high reward

A man has died after being shot at Coquitlam’s Town Centre Park the evening of Monday, April 19. (Twitter/IHIT)
1 man dead after shooting at Coquitlam park: IHIT

The gunman is still at large, according to the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(Photo by Mojpe/Pixabay)
Canadian kids extracting record amounts from Tooth Fairy

Our neighbours in the U.S. receive slightly less from Tooth Fairy visits

Dr. Bonnie Henry gives her daily media briefing regarding Covid-19 for the province of British Columbia in Victoria, B.C, Monday, December 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Toddler marks youngest British Columbian to die related to COVID-19

Child one of eight people to die from virus this weekend

Families of two of three workers killed in a train derailment near Field, B.C., in 2019 have filed lawsuits accusing Canadian Pacific of gross negligence. The derailment sent 99 grain cars and two locomotives off the tracks. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Families of workers killed in Field train derailment allege negligence in lawsuit

Lawsuits allege the workers weren’t provided a safe work environment

(New Westminster Police)
4 youth arrested after 30-person brawl in New Westminster leaves 1 seriously injured

Police are looking for witnesses who saw the incident take place

Most Read