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  • Writer's pictureNave Nijjar

Silencing Childhood Sexual Abuse in South Asian Women

The trauma that women experienced and are experiencing right now, represents a broader issue of intergenerational trauma in the South Asian community.

Our mental health is fundamentally tied to oppressive systems. Without examining our struggles within a sociopolitical context, South Asian women are unable to confront the roots of their trauma. 

In our South Asian community— we must prioritize our mental and physical well-being. We can’t lose more teenagers and women. Mental health awareness needs more advocacy within our community, and our Canadian health system needs to address this crisis in South Asian Women. We need to stop the systems of exploitation back home that facilitates the abuse inflicted upon us. 

The causes are, family secrecy, the pervasive shame, family’s reputation, no trust, victim blaming and the less likelihood of prosecution. Many survivors don’t come forward with their abuse. It is deemed shameful, and survivors are aware that perpetrators lack prosecution. Abusers play on the vulnerability of the children, aware that a family’s reputation will silence the truth.

Culturally, south Asian women delay seeking help and even reporting sexual trauma as this is stigmatized in the community. These stigmas include, marriage requirements, strict gender roles, expected silence, loss of support or families cutting you off, social stigma, and lack of knowledge about available resources around sexual assault and domestic violence. Survivors may fear economic dependency and cultural ideologies surrounding ‘honour’ and ’shame.’ Maintaining traditional values is seen as a top priority rather than acknowledging the abuse and seeking safety. 

Research has shown that disclosing sexual violence can help reduce its long-term negative consequences, which include post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, social isolation, loss of self-esteem, distrust of others, substance abuse and repeat victimization. 

Sexual violence is traumatic and can impact many different aspects of a survivor’s life. Women are entitled to be equipped with the knowledge of their rights and options to decide the best choice for them. Shanti Psychotherapy can provide emotional support, psychotherapy, psychoeducation, and advocacy. 


I am a Registered Psychotherapist with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO). I have over six years of experience in counselling individuals from diverse backgrounds and in different settings. This includes counselling services at a post-secondary institution, and community mental health agencies that provide addiction and mental health services to youth and their families. 

As a Registered Psychotherapist with over seven years of clinical experience, I know that finding the right fit with a therapist can be overwhelming.  


If this is your first experience reaching out for therapy or you've done this before, I intend to provide you with a non-judgmental, compassionate, and safe environment. I can help you explore your inner thoughts, feelings, emotions, conflicts, traumas and challenging experiences that may have impacted your life.


My practice includes therapy for children, youths, adults, and families from diverse backgrounds and in different settings.


 I have a strong clinical training and interest in helping those heal from trauma and sexual assault and its impacts on individuals, children, youth and families, and communities. 


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