‘South Asian women need counselling before going to Canada’ (Lead)July 14th, 2010 - 5:59 pm ICT by IANS
By Gurmukh Singh
Toronto, July 14 (IANS) Canadian missions must begin counselling sessions for South Asian women going to Canada before they land here after marriage to stem the rising tide of domestic violence reported in the fast-growing community, a study has recommended.
In her study titled “Culturally driven violence against women” among South Asians here, Indo-Canadian social activist Aruna Papp says the fast-growing community has the highest domestic violence in Canada.
“Since 2002, the murders of 12 women were identified as honour killings; three other murders identified as domestic violence also have the hallmarks of an honour killing,” she says, giving examples of young Sikh and Muslim women killed by their fathers and brothers to protect ‘family honour’.
Since spouses coming from India and Pakistan bear the brunt of domestic violence, Papp says these sponsored women should be provided mandatory counselling sessions in their country of origin before they land here.
“The session would be administered and staffed by Canadian citizens. The goal of this training would be to educate women about their rights and Canadian culture and values,” she says in her recommendations.
This training will educate women how to approach help centres in Canada in case they are subjected to domestic violence.
Papp has also recommended “mandatory orientation” for men in Canada sponsoring women to educate them about sponsorship rules and regulations.
“Men, too, should be educated on the values and laws regarding gender equality.”
With a record number of men and women entering into fake marriages to come to Canada, the study says, “Men making applications to sponsor a wife need to be investigated to check how many times they have been married, examine their pattern of sponsorship and document how the previous spouse is being financially supported.”
But since Canadian immigration officers posted in India or elsewhere are not culturally trained to catch these individuals, the study has recommended that “cultural competency training for frontline personnel would ease the process for immigrants”.
Papp has also urged the Canadian government to stamp out ‘ghost consultants’ in the South Asian community who run fake services for immigration, sponsorship and marriage.
To draw attention of policy makers to the cases of honour killings, the report begins with the 1999 killing of five-year-old Farah Khan by her father and stepmother after the father claimed she was not his child.
Among other cases, the report also refers to the honour killing of two young Sikh women - 17-year-old Amandeep Singh Atwal in 2003 by her father for living with her white boyfriend and 22-year-old Amandeep Kaur Dhillon last year by her father-in-law for allegedly seeing another man.
(Gurmukh Singh can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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