This is a story about domestic violence. Content intended for mature audiences only.

Anjali Kour was expecting her first baby and living with her husband’s family in New Delhi, when her in-laws told her in no uncertain terms, that she needed to leave for America to give birth “to a US citizen child.” 

With the reluctant blessing of her ob-gyn, Anjali flew to San Francisco in 2008, to join her NRI (non-resident Indian) husband in the Bay Area. She was 6 months pregnant. 

“I was forced to come to America to deliver a male US citizen child,” she told Desi Dost, because her inlaws said her husband’s business “would flourish.”

In 2017, when their son was 9, Anjali went to India with her husband on a visit. He abandoned her and fled to the US with their son. 

Desperate to be reunited with her child, Anjali made her way back to America and began fighting for custody in the California courts.  In the months that followed, the US courts granted a no-fault divorce at her husband’s request, though by Indian law, the two were still married. Anjali lost her H4 dependent visa, and her legal immigration status.

Her case bounced between US family and immigration courts without a clear pathway to resolution because each legal system operates in distinct jurisdictions. 

In 2021, nearly 4 years later, Anjali continues to live in legal limbo as she battles for her rights.

Living in Legal Limbo in America

In the US, immigrant women in the South Asian community have to overcome not just power imbalances within their relationships and culture, but also hidden imbalances in the US immigration and domestic law, that tilt control towards their husbands.  Beholden to their husbands in every way and dealing with complex law in multiple countries – these Domestic Violence (DV) survivors have few options. 

Without a change of immigration status, survivors cannot transcend their situation. Without court rulings that find in their favor, survivors lose access to resources and custody of children. Without a clear pathway through the chokehold of immigration policy, transnational legal systems, resources or community support, disenfranchised survivors cannot reclaim stability, statehood or an identity, and sometimes, even their children.

Amita by Tanya Momi

Anjali Becomes An Illegal Alien

Anjali said that she had no desire to live in America or outside India in the first place.

When her dad was vetting possible husbands for her, in 2004, “I told him my only condition was that I did not want to go abroad.” All Anjali wanted was a traditional Indian marriage, an Indian husband, and a life near her own family in Delhi.

Instead, Anjali Kour’s life collapsed in ways that even the Indian karmic cycle could not conceive.

In 2008, Anjali moved to America against her will. Her businessman Indian husband had secured an IT consultancy job in Silicon Valley’s tech industry. And soon, a pattern of domestic abuse that manifested in their honeymoon – an attempt to abandon her at a mall and a refusal to buy her vegetarian food though she did not eat meat – escalated into physical and verbal assaults that destroyed their relationship. 

Anjali’s arranged marriage crumbled, resulting in her abandonment and separation from her child in 2017. 

“In the middle of the night he abducted my son. I had no clue if I would ever be able to see him again.”

That fear again drove Anjali back to America.

Which country do I belong to?

But before she left India in 2017, Anjali filed a criminal case against her husband. In retaliation, “he filed for divorce and custody of our son in the US, because my child was a US citizen by birth.”  Though they were still married by Indian law, a judge granted the divorce in California a year later. 

“So what exactly is my status?” asked Anjali. “Being an NRI abandoned woman, we are of a dual status. Divorced in the US, married as per Indian laws. My question to the judiciaries of two countries, India, and the United States, is…Which country do we belong to? Which jurisdiction do we belong to? Are we married? Divorced? Single? What is my status? I married a Delhi-based businessman with no dreams of coming abroad.”

“Why is the fate of Indian marriages being decided in the US legal system?”

How visa systems set DV survivors up for failure

Non-immigrants like Anjali Kour arrive in the US on ‘dependent’ H4 visas which are attached to their husband’s H1B residency permits. Anjali’s husband worked in the Silicon Valley on an H1B – a temporary nonimmigrant visa that IT companies use to employ thousands of foreign workers with specialized skills in its tech sector. USCIS has issued the bulk of these visas to Indian nationals.

The H4 gives spouses some privileges. They are eligible to get a driver’s license, an education, and open bank accounts. With her H4, Anjali could have got a job by adding an H4EAD work authorization, but her husband forbade it.

On the flip side, the H1B and H4 visa scheme subjugates wives to their husbands for legal status in America. The inherent risks of a dependent, temporary visa can be devastating. If the marriage fails or when an immigrant wife is abused or abandoned, the sponsoring H1B husband could withdraw support of her legal status. 

When she lost her H4 safety net to divorce, Anjali Kour also lost access to legal recourse and justice, and became an illegal alien on US soil.

“You are nothing without your H1B visa holder,” she told DesiDost.

“Once you’re cut off from the H1B,” said Shah Peerally, President of a Bay Area Immigration law firm,  “You have no money because your H1B spouse is making the money.” Peerally is one of the leading advocates fighting cases for immigrant DV survivors. He has won nearly 600 Violence Against Women Act (VAWA ) cases.

Peerally called the H4 visa tricky. “When the spouse is a dependent, and it comes to the H4 visa, they have a problem, because there’s no provision for the law to protect them.”

How Things Go Wrong for Immigrant Women

Women navigating the US immigration system can trip over a tangle of immigration protocols and judicial systems. A single misstep could result in lost immigration status, deportation and custody of their child, home and assets.

Sandhya lived in the Bay Area until a divorce in the US Courts drove her back to India. She was a green card holder married to a US citizen. Sandhya described her arranged marriage as “abusive and very violent.” Her husband gagged her in the bathtub, threw her down the staircase and attacked her with a knife. “He was arrested for threatening to kill me.”

When he filed for divorce in 2014 he “took away all my joint credit and debit cards, blocking me from all funds. He falsely claimed in court that we had separated since 2003 to keep control of all our joint California community assets.” She left the country after her divorce, but still had a valid green card to return.

But in her absence, he filed court orders claiming Sandhya was a Spouse Green Card fraudster, and guilty of tax and medical insurance fraud, and “while I was unrepresented in US family court,” said Sandhya, his team of lawyers were able to pass court orders blocking her from all funds.

“I have been given no alimony, fined $200K, asked to pay all my husband’s attorney fees. I’ve been stripped from all 401K pension funds, and all our joint assets, and our joint homes. He kept all my heirloom jewelry, and he forged my signature to get a 400K US bank loan.”

“No money means no justice for victims in transnational cases,” said Sandhya. 

Since 2014, she has continued to fight her case in India where her marriage is still legal. 

In another abandonment case, Ritika’s US citizen husband promised to marry her when she arrived in America on a fiancée visa. He never did. Nor did he file for a change of status when her visa expired after 90 days, which made her illegal. “Then, when our son was two years old,” said Ritika, “my husband took the family to India and abandoned me. I did not find out till later that he filed for sole custody of our baby.”

“There is not much we can do if a spouse does not petition for the status to be legalized by marriage,” said Peerally. He recommends that brides marrying US citizens come to the US on a marriage visa rather than a fiancée visa, “to establish a base level of protection” if things go wrong.

My Childhood Issues by Tanya Momi

Will I Clear Immigration?

Women abandoned outside the US, face a tenuous journey coming back legally into the US. Anjali returned to the US on the merits of her H4. But Ritika had no visa that would permit legal re-entry into the US. So she appealed to the US Consulate, the Indian Overseas Ministry and the child abduction unit in Washington DC.  

With the help of her family, an attorney, and a Bay Area nonprofit, Ritika assembled documented proof of her marriage and her son’s birth certificate that the US Consulate required. She was granted humanitarian parole through the USCIS, because she is the wife and the mother of US citizens –  “only successful in the rarest of cases,” said Sara Fain, Staff Attorney at the Immigration Institute of the Bay Area..  

All three women lost their legal status to manipulative husbands. Only Anjali and Ritika figured out ways to return to the US, but neither anticipated the traumatic tug of war that would ensue with the American legal system, while they tried to reclaim the sons they lost to divorce and transnational abandonment.

Who is Responsible by Tanya Momi

Battling for Child Custody

In the US, the immigrant status of a mother who gives birth to a US citizen determines whether or not she has rights to the child. By US law, without a registered marriage or a green card, as a fiancé and not a wife, Ritika had already lost rights to her home, assets and child. 

In her book “Custodial Battle” Ritika recounts her harrowing journey to rescue her son from a legal system that, “delayed justice to an immigrant mother, simply because her rights to a green card and permanent residence were withheld by an abusive husband who happened to be an American citizen.”

Ritika acknowledged that she could not have taken on the US courts and lawyers fees without the financial support of her parents and brother. But it took ten years of judges’ rulings, minor counsels, reunification therapist reports, court orders for custody evaluations, the child’s parents and grandparent reports, and the court attendant’s permission, for Ritika to get custody of her son.  

Anjali’s ongoing custody battle followed a similar pattern.

“I fought with the court system for eight months to prove I am NOT an abusive mother or spouse,” she said.

One time, recalled Anjali, after the court-ordered emergency screening of her husband and son, “The court-appointed screener testified that the husband and his family are involved in parental alienation and maladaptive gatekeeping. I would have got fifty percent custody of my child at that time,” said Anjali, who was emotionally exhausted by her endless court battle. “Unfortunately, I made one mistake.” 

“I cried in the courtroom. I told the judge, this is not what I deserve.  I’ve been deprived of a roof over my head, deprived of my finances, deprived of my child, of my basic necessities, of my legal standing, and then asked to come to court to fight for my rights in a foreign land where I have no family or friends?”

Recommendation for Sole Custody by court appointed supervisor

Despite damning testimony against her husband, said Anjali, her husband’s attorney told the court “The mother is not mentally stable, not fit to raise the child. I was thrown into 9 months of therapy to prove that I was mentally stable.”

Anjali endured supervised visitations with her son for two years. “I was abused by my nine-year-old child,” at the instigation of his father, said Anjali. The courts continued to withhold joint custody, even though her therapy proved she was an able mother, and ignored evidence of her husband’s threats towards their son.

Custody Denied despite proof of  coercive control

Finally, her son spoke up. “He said, I have to obey the orders of my dad otherwise I will be sent to juvenile hall.” A court-appointed reconnection therapist “filed a case of child abuse by the father.” Her husband immediately fled the US to “escape facing a criminal case about abusing his own minor child.”  Anjali finally got full physical custody.

And yet, his request for a divorce was granted anyway. “I was divorced over the phone in 3 minutes,” said Anjali. “My husband was in India.”  The California court “granted the divorce based on irreconcilable differences, “ which, she pointed out,  “is not grounds for divorce under the Hindu Marriage Act.”

As a “no fault” divorce state, California will grant a divorce to a resident asking to end a marriage without the other partner’s consent.

But Anjali questioned the validity of that divorce. “What is the result? I am divorced per US law and still married by Indian law. The divorce was only granted to make me unlawful because an H4 visa holder is nothing without her sponsor.”

“I was not abused by a green card holder or US citizen. I was abused by an Indian citizen – an NRI – who came to the United States on an H1B employment visa.”

Anjali asks how California law, which requires proof of just 6 months residency to grant a divorce, can have jurisdiction over a marriage certified in India.

When parents and child have different nationalities, custody battles get unpredictable. Anjali’s US citizen son was born to Indian national, non-immigrant parents.

“The judge ruled that a US citizen child cannot be removed from US jurisdiction,” said Anjali.

“Courts have to make decisions based on the child’s best interests,” explained Dorchen Leidholdt, Director, Legal Center, at Sanctuary for Families.

But in Anjali Kour’s case, did they?

The problem lies in resolving the issue of split jurisdiction when women are abandoned. A study by Manavi assessed which nation’s laws apply to divorce, alimony and child custody when a couple has Indian nationality but resides in the US.  It concluded that  “the assumption that family law jurisdiction must be based on the residency of the petitioner in the US is manifestly inadequate” because it is based “on a now obsolete notion that both parties in a marriage live in the same state. Today’s couples do not necessarily live in the same country, let alone the same state.”

Trial By Fire – Tanya Momi

Do Immigration Issues Belong in Family Court? 

“Family Courts should NOT be using the victim’s lack of full immigration status or lack of any immigration status against her in the court proceedings,” stressed Leidholdt.

Even if “clients are partially/undocumented and in family court that should not make a difference. It really shouldn’t impede them in any way from pursuing their rights to civil protective orders, custody, or visitation of their children.”

Ritika was told that immigration issues do not belong in Family Court, but without proof of a marriage certificate, the Family Court was predisposed to rule in her husband’s favor because he was a US citizen. Ritika was only allowed to meet her son for an hour a day under supervision because of her immigration status.

Ritika felt differently. “How would it feel to know that you lost your child, not based on your capability as a mother, but on the basis of something as meaningless as nationality?” she asked.

Ritika is scathing about the treatment she received from the Family Court system. “I was treated as a flight risk and an “unfit person” as long as my immigration status was unresolved. All that changed when I got my green card.” Ritika finally got full custody of her child. 

But it was not an easy win.

The ten-year battle came at a cost. The fight took a toll on her wellbeing, finances and the mother-child relationship, she said.  Ritika spent a small fortune in attorney fees, court orders for custody evaluations and therapy sessions to prove her character was “worthy of custody as a mother.” And it took years to break through the shell of rejection that alienated her son from her and re-establish a connection with her child. 

“It felt at times,” said Ritika, as if her son was kidnapped. “I paid ransom to the judicial system to see my child.”

Why Women Fall through the Cracks

The First Cut by Tanya Momi

In the US, immigrant women fall through the cracks between family law court and immigration court, because the two courts “will never talk to each other,” said Peerally “One is state and one is federal. That’s not going to change.”

“On a legal level it’s going to be very difficult. On one level we’re dealing with the state court, and on the other with the federal court. Immigration is uniform, but family law, criminal law, each state has their own.”

Peerally explained, “What tends to happen when the wife has no immigration papers, is that the judge will give the US citizen kids to the spouse who has residency in America, ‘because that’s my jurisdiction.’  The judge in Family Law court doesn’t have a choice. because the state of California does not have jurisdiction or control over defendants out of state or out of the country.”

Petitioners in Family Law court in the United States do not have the right to counsel for civil cases. So unless they have funding, like Ritika, or pro bono counsel, petitioners like Anjali and Sandhya will struggle for representation in Family Law court.

Once Sandhya was stranded in India, any chance for justice was choked off. Her husband blocked off all funds, attorney fees, and passed court orders “while I was unrepresented in US family court.”

“I am in India. I was not allowed to testify as part of judicial misconduct, none of my witnesses were allowed in US court, my evidence was not seen.”

“My husband understood that I couldn’t lodge a complaint in the US while I was in India. I had no lawyer. No lawyer means no voice in court and immigrant spouses in faraway native countries are absolutely helpless.” US Legal Aid societies and pro bono lawyers refused to take an overseas client, said Sandhya.

“In America, if you don’t have the money to pay the lawyers, you’re done,” says Peerally.

 Finding Protection with the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)

At Sanctuary for Families in New York, where up to 95% of clients are immigrants, Leidholdt clarified, “There are a number of remedies that are available to undocumented or partially documented immigrant survivors of DV” but “it is essential that immigration practitioners and family law practitioners work together.” 

“If a victim of DV is married to a US citizen or permanent resident, the VAWA Self Petition or the Battered Spouse Waiver is absolutely available.”

“If he sponsored her for conditional residence status, and refuses to continue the sponsorship, she should be able to petition under the Battered Spouse Waiver to adjust her status and obtain a green card.”  

“If there is evidence of marriage, a survivor should be eligible to self-petition under the Violence Against Women Act, She would have to demonstrate battering or extreme cruelty and good faith marriage – but that usually is not difficult, and that she resided here with her abuser,” Leidholdt said.

According to Peerally, “Even if the marriage is valid for one day, a person can file for VAWA.  It’s made for both men and women.”

Leidholdt assured Desi Dost that documents from India are valid in US courts. “It counts if the survivor is able to provide evidence of marriage from any country. A marriage doesn’t have to take place in the United States. A marriage certificate from India absolutely should pass muster in a VAWA self-petition case.”

She encouraged survivors to submit wedding videos, pictures, photographs of their wedding, or “any documentation of that ceremony is very valuable evidence. It shows good faith marriage.”

But winning a VAWA case is not straightforward, Peerally warns survivors  “Once you get hit, call the cops and move out. Don’t stay and get killed!” Survivors also need to prove “it’s a bona fide marriage, by saving or making copies of  “bills or a lease together.” 

He also warns VAWA petitioners that they need to show proof of ‘good moral character’. ”YOU DO NOT HIT BACK!  If you do, you become the aggressor. Retaliating can work against you in a court of law.”

Finding Protection with the UVisa

“It can be a very sticky situation for the victim if she’s not married to a US citizen or permanent resident and if the abuser is only on a H1B visa,” said Peerally. “But if she is a victim of domestic violence, filing a police report will make all the difference in the world. She should be UVisa eligible.” 

Leidholdt said the UVisa is “the only immigration remedy that is viable and available to domestic violence victims.  A UVisa – is given to non-citizens who are victims of certain crimes and who have suffered mental or physical abuse due to domestic violence, sexual assault, or trafficking. It grants applicants work authorization for 4 years and with 3 years of having that authorization, they can apply for residency.

The good news is that DV survivors can apply and wait for a UVisa anywhere in the world, even in India, but the crime must have occurred in the United States.

“A UVisa will allow them to stay and ultimately within 6 to seven years they can get a greencard,” added Peerally. But he warned H4 spouses that, “if they are not physically abused, and only reporting mental abuse, there’s no provision under the law to protect those people.”

An alternative is “a provision in the law to get a work permit called ‘the H4 visa for abused spouses, but that’s not a status to stay,” said Peerally. “It’s counterintuitive. You can have a work permit but if you are not legal in the country, what’s the purpose of it?”

A Grace Period for Survivors

So what can we do? Peerally is spearheading a campaign on, to find a solution for abused H4 spouses by changing the law to give them what he calls a Grace Period. With enough signatures, Peerally says he can send the petition in an open letter to lawmakers. He was at the forefront of the EAD4 campaign which gave H4 spouses the right to work in 2015. He hopes to do the same for ‘H4 Abused Spouses in the US.’

“My goal is twofold – one, for those in a regular divorce because the relationship is not working out, give them some grace period to buy some time until they work out their divorce to find a solution.”

“If they are abused….they should get status.. Maybe temporary, even for two or three years…. because abused H4 wives can get a work permit, we just need their status to attach to it so they can stay and they can work.”

“They need that little break at least for three years, till they can get back on their feet, to breathe until their cases are finished in family court. They can fight for their children and prove to the judge  that yes, I am legal, with a permit I can work and take care of my child. They have a better chance of getting the child.”

Whisper by Tanya Momi

Don’t Check Just the Horoscopes. Do a Background Check too!

But, before you buy the American Dream with grooms based abroad, warned Bindu Fernandes, of Narika, “there are additional criteria to look at and think about in an arranged marriage.” She cautioned families and brides, “You can’t just think – good house, green card – you have to be thinking about additional things like does he respect you?  Are they bouts of jealousy, are there bouts of violence?  What does that mean for your relationship?”  

There has to be something done at a consulate, or embassy level, urged Fernandes. As Executive Director of Narika, a Bay Area DV agency, she works with survivors of transnational abandonment. Manavi suggests that consulates require all women who receive visas to the U.S. attend a seminar on their legal rights and social services available in the U.S. 

The Ministry for Overseas Affairs has published a detailed advisory for “Women deserted by NRI husbands.” It includes advice on background checks, women’s rights, and a contact – the NRI Cell – National Commission for Women – where survivors from anywhere in the world can register complaints.

However, inaction from governments stems from issues about jurisdiction, said Fernandes.  “If they are not US citizens, is it within our jurisdiction?  International law makes it like this juggling game of passing the ball to someone else because it is not my problem, it is theirs and it keeps going on.” 

“It’s a situation that abusers can manipulate. This is what they take advantage of.  The abuser knows that when there are multiple countries involved, no one has the energy to figure this out.”

Sandhya received a boost when the Indian government recently issued an Interpol Red Corner Notice global warrant as Most Wanted Fugitive for Prosecution against her husband, pending his extradition to India.

But even if wives file charges in India, “extraditing NRI husbands to India to face charges is near impossible,” said Aman Usman, a Delhi High Court Lawyer and Vice President of the AAP Legal Cell, Saket Court, New Delhi. “There is no strong law to bring them back.”

The US Department of State states India is not a signatory to the 1980 Hague Convention and there are no bilateral agreements regarding international parental child abduction between the US and India.  

“The tragedy is that there are countries, that if they are not part of the Hague convention on international abductions, you cannot even start a legal case in your country to get your child back,” said Carolien Hardbolen, an immigration specialist at Sanctuary for Families.

What Survivors Need

Circle of Trust by Tanya Momi

Each survivor story is a cautionary tale about Indian brides and their families mesmerized by the prospect of the American dream, packaged in a promise of marriage to a US resident. When domestic violence and transnational abandonment dissolve that dream, it also puts a target on their backs. Without a legal marriage or immigration status, survivors risk persecution by the US immigration system and the family courts. 

For NRI survivors like Anjali Kour, abused and abandoned by their spouses, the road back to a life of possibilities is riddled with impossibility. 

Sandhya wants immigrant spouses like herself, stranded in their native countries, to have access to lawyers and their voices heard.  She wants a bill that bars “US Courts from hearing cases where offshore immigrant, abandoned wives have no say in courts. We need a law to help immigrant wives stranded in their native countries fight their case, be legally represented, have evidence presented, and keep  immigrant rights, women’s rights, and civil rights in place.”

For Anjali Kour, it’s a straightforward solution. “Let the fate of Indian marriages be decided in India, not the US courts.” 

It’s not an unusual parting when a partner leaves their spouse in the US. But the Indian immigrant community views estrangement as taboo; it can be traumatic for spouses, families, and children. 

These breakups trap immigrant survivors in an unfair struggle to beat dependency, domestic violence and transnational abandonment. In some cases, their child’s best interests is not always well served.

Justice is often out of reach, given the limited protections in US law for victims stuck abroad or stuck in the US on temporary visas they cannot control.

American family law cannot change for foreign nationals. But, if immigration law can add a grace period of transition for survivors on humanitarian grounds, they can get their lives together. It will give immigrant DV survivors hope to move on with dignity. It gives them a fighting chance to stay with their children.

This content is intended only for mature audiences. CW/TW: domestic violence, language, mental health, mental illness, depression, su*c*de, violent imagery, body image, anger, anxiety, abandonment.

If you or anyone you know needs help, please contact:

Narika: 1-800-215-7308
Maitri: 1-888-8624874
Raksha: 1-866-56-ABUSE
Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)

This article is the second of a two-part series on the impact of domestic abuse and transnational abandonment in the South Asian community, supported by the USC Center for Health Journalism and its 2021 Domestic Violence Reporting Fund, in partnership with Desi Collective, Narika, and India Currents.

Read the first story here: How Priya Won A Second Chance At Her American Dream.

The written project DesiDost-You’ve Got A Friend is accompanied by Chai with Sahelis, three audio recordings where survivors share deeply personal stories about their experiences. The names of some survivors have been changed to protect their identities.Meera Kymal and Anjana Nagarajan-Butaney are grateful to the survivors who spoke to us with such honesty and courage and for the information shared by the experts and advocacy organizations listed below that work tirelessly with survivors of domestic violence. 

Meera Kymal is the Contributing Editor at India Currents and a producer at DesiCollective.

Anjana Nagarajan-Butaney is a producer at DesiCollective. She is interested in strengthening communities by exploring the intersection of politics, science & technology, gender equality, social justice and health.

Artwork: by Tanya Momi artist and DV survivor

We thank our mentors Catherine Stifter, Valeria Fernandez and Michelle Levander at USC Center for Health Journalism for their guidance.

Meera Kymal and Anjana Nagarajan-Butaney are grateful to the survivors who spoke to us with such honesty and courage and for the information shared by the experts and advocacy organizations listed below that work tirelessly with survivors of domestic violence. 

  • Bindu Fernandes – Executive Director of Narika
  • Narika – Free, confidential, non-profit South Asian domestic violence advocacy and support organization based in Fremont, CA that promote women’s independence, economic empowerment, and well-being 
  • MaitriFree, confidential, non-profit organization based in the San Francisco Bay Area that helps families and individuals from South Asia facing domestic violence, emotional abuse, cultural alienation, or family conflict. 
  • Manavi – direct service provider, social change agent and diversity trainer in the mainstream movement to end violence against South Asian women in New Brunswick,  NJ.
  • Danielle Fox–  Engagement Editor & Radio Producer
  • Rennu DhillonEntrepreneur, Community Activist, Author, Motivational Speaker, and DV survivor
  • Dr. Shreya Bhandari – DV researcher for 15 years and Professor of Social Work at Wright State University.
  • Dorchen Leidholdt – Director, Legal Center, Sanctuary for Families
  • Carolien Hardbolen – Senior Immigration Specialist at Sanctuary for Families
  • Sanctuary for Families – Offers free services for freedom from gender violence for all survivors living in New York City, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, age, and marital or immigration status.
  • Shah Peerally – Immigration Lawyer at Shah Peerally Law Group PC
  • Mona Kafeel – Executive Director of TMWF
  • Texas Muslim Women’s Foundation(TMWF) – empowers, promotes and supports all women and their families with programs designed to promote peace in the home and the community through a comprehensive strategy of prevention and intervention.
  • Monica LaBoskeyManaging Attorney at Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach
  • Thao Weldy – Director, Development and Finance, Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach
  • Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach (API Legal Outreach) – is a non-profit in the SF Bay Area that provides culturally competent and linguistically appropriate legal representation, social services, and advocacy for the most marginalized segments of the community including low-income women, seniors, recent immigrants, and youth.
  • Tara Fox Clinical Psychologist
  • New York City Anti-Violence Project – empowers lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and HIV-affected communities and allies to end all forms of violence through organizing and education, and supports survivors through counseling and advocacy.
  • Sara FainStaff Attorney and Program Manager at Immigration Institute of the Bay Area
  • Immigration Institute of the Bay Area (IIBA)provides high-quality, affordable immigration legal services, education, and civic engagement opportunities for immigrants, refugees, and their families.
  • SAVEprovides shelter, support, and educational opportunities for individuals and families to survivors of DV in Alameda County, CA.
  • Asian Law Alliance – a non-profit organization providing equal access to the justice system for Asian Pacific Islander and low-income populations in the Silicon Valley.

Meera Kymal is the Managing Editor at India Currents and Founder/Producer at She produces multi-platform content on the South Asian diaspora through the lens of social justice,...

Anjana Nagarajan-Butaney is the Donor Engagement Advisor at India Currents and Founder/Producer at She brings her passion for community journalism and experience in fundraising, having...