Last week as I was doing a morning scroll last Monday I came across a tik-tok reposted to a friend’s account. I saw the woman crying about the dual difficulties of divorce as well as being from a South Asian family. In the second post I had learned that she has been murdered by her ex-husband. Her name is Sania Khan and her story meets at the intersection of race, religion, culture, and domestic violence.
That day I posted to my own personal account a short tribute to her as well as the fact that in the South Asian community that divorce still often carries the “Scarlet Letter” effect where individuals (both male and female, however the stigma is often disproportionately affecting females). So rather than go into the horrible and gruesome details of her passing, I choose rather to solely write about her life and why she will continue to live on despite the fact that she is no longer with us.
Sania was a photographer by trade and also shared her stories on social media, most notably tik-tok, about her struggles with ending her marital relationship and the aftermath of dealing with those in her family circle urging her to stay in the marriage even though it was no longer serving her. Sania experienced what many of us who have gone through the experience. By sharing her trials so publicly, it shows that cultural stigma and pressures have a real and human cost on those within the community. And as far as we have come with “Families come in all shapes and sizes” we still have work to do.
Sania’s story has been carried world wide from media outlets in Canada, the US, Europe, and Asia. She refused to settle for marriage that didn’t work for her and urged others to “stop ignoring red flags”. By so openly sharing her story she has given courage to others including myself, to go public and share our stories and to be able to in forums such as blogs and social media about our own experiences navigating the major life change divorce is. She openly stated that her family “lectured” her after she shared her story on tik-tok. She said the mentality of “staying silent” is what has kept so many women in poor marriages.
I never knew about Sania till last week. I know she was an emerging tik-tok personality and many had started to follow her due to the fact that they were attracted to bravery and love of life. I am so sorry that she is no longer with us but her message will continue to live on beyond her passing. Breaking the stigma of divorce, creating a life that is not lived for others and is not weighed down by the expectations and judgments of family and friends. That is what her life stood for. So for brave Sania, thank you. Thank you for your life and your example and your courage. You have touched so many lives that you had no idea about in both life and death, including my own.