In the Spring of 1996, a young South Asian woman living in Fort Bend County shot and killed her abusive husband of ten years, her three young children and set fire to the family home before turning the gun on herself. This tragic event made international headlines both for the extent of abuse and violence this educated and employed woman had suffered and the cultural complexities that drove her to this drastic decision. The fact that this fairly acculturated woman kept the abuse to herself and did not seek help from any mainstream agency, spoke volumes.
As a response, a small group of women – all immigrants to the United States themselves –founded Daya, a compassionate and culturally sensitive organization for South Asian women affected by domestic violence. The first step was establishing a volunteer helpline to support the women in their community, and with that Daya was born.
Pushpa K. Desai