A Taste of Raising Awareness

Sakhi’s Gen2 wine-tasting with Swirl Events on July 17th proved very successful, as around 40 people, many of them new to Sakhi, attended the two-hour get-together to enjoy wine, appetizers, and an in-depth conversation on mental health.

Direct Services Director Sandeep Bathala highlighted for attendees the importance of women’s mental health and its connection to domestic violence. As an often unseen consequence of abuse, she noted, mental health issues require specific attention and treatment.

That topic was also the focus of the film Hiding Divya, whose producer, Rohi Mirza Pandya, delivered a presentation at the Sakhi event. She showed a brief clip of the movie, which delves into the topic of bipolar disorder, and spoke about the ways in which mental illnesses can impact people and their families.

The topic, she continued, has been a taboo in South Asian communities, its discussion often precluded by feelings of guilt and shame. (Read about one of our previous mental health workshops here.)

Rohi and Sakhi staff fielded a few questions from the audience. One woman asked whether stigma around mental illness was more pervasive in the South Asian community. Sandeep explained that, much like domestic violence itself, the phenomenon occurs across all communities. She added that there are no hard statistics to compare across communities, a problem compounded by the stigma itself. She also noted that the various barriers facing South Asian survivors may make them even more isolated and hesitant to access support.

Cecilia Guerra, a member of the Hispanic National Bar, said of the event, “I really enjoyed the presentation because it gave real information on a subject that we don’t really get to talk about. Very professional—and a good time.”

Sakhi’s former Volunteer Coordinator Shivana Jorawar thanked the attendees for coming and emphasized the importance of community support for ending domestic violence and addressing issues cloaked in silence.

The Sakhi Gen2 event raised more than $2,500 in net proceeds to support Sakhi’s work to end violence against women.