After She Spoke of 'Toxic' Marriage, a Murder-Suicide

Sania Khan said stigma in South Asian communities make it hard for women to flee unhealthy relationships
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 28, 2022 10:55 AM CDT
After She Spoke of 'Toxic' Marriage, a Murder-Suicide

After his ex-wife discussed their "toxic" marriage and divorce on TikTok, a Georgia man allegedly drove 11 hours, shot and killed the woman, then turned the gun on himself as cops closed in. That's according to Chicago police, who heard a gunshot and a groan as they arrived for a welfare check at the apartment of Sania Khan on July 18, per WTVC. They found the 29-year-old, with dried blood on her face, dead from a gunshot wound to the back of the head. Raheel Ahmad, 36, found holding a gun with a suicide note nearby, also suffered a fatal gunshot to the head. He'd traveled to Chicago from Alpharetta, Ga., hoping "to salvage the marriage," police in the Atlanta suburb said, per the Chicago Sun-Times. But friends of Khan say that wasn't possible.

One friend tells WTVC that Ahmad had previously tried to "jump out of their 20-story apartment window and take her with him." Khan, a Pakistani-American photographer, had posted on TikTok about moving on from her toxic marriage, which had lasted less than a year. "I've never been happier," she wrote June 19. In other posts, she claimed family members had told her to remain in the marriage and threatened to kill themselves if she moved back to her hometown, per Law & Crime. "Going through a divorce as a Southasian woman feels like you failed at life sometimes," she wrote June 1, describing a lack of support from the community. "It makes it harder for women to leave marriages that they shouldn’t have been in to begin with."

"There's this stigma in our community that puts pressure on women to sacrifice," Rachna Khare, executive director of Daya, a Houston organization that aims to empower South Asian survivors of abuse, tells NBC News. Friends and relatives will say, "'We don't want to break up a family,'" Khare adds. "That's fine, but now there's a woman who's dead. How is that not the ultimate breaking of a family?" Khan, who put a spotlight on patriarchy and other issues within the community, was planning to return to Georgia to live with a friend, who flew to Chicago on July 18 to help her relocate, per the Chattanooga Free-Press. The friend suggests Ahmad drove to Chicago to kill Khan because "he knew that was his last opportunity, his last time to get her alone." (More murder-suicide stories.)

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