With the help of friends, Sania confronted her family and filed for divorce, sharing her struggles on TikTok. But just as she was about to start anew, her ex-boyfriend drove over a thousand kilometers away and shot her in the head.
Sania Khan was ready to be independent. On July 21, the 29-year-old Pakistani-American photographer packed her bags to leave Chicago and return to her hometown of Chattanooga, Tennessee. I wanted to try and restart my failed marriage.
But her ex-husband Raheel Ahmed, 36, wouldn’t let her go. A few days ago, he committed suicide by shooting himself at the door of his house. According to police reports, cited by the Chicago Sun-Times, the couple is going through a “difficult divorce.” Ahmed, who moved to another state during partition, traveled more than a thousand kilometers to his former home “to save his marriage”.
The photographer’s death rocked TikTok, the social networking site where Sania was recognized as a voice for women fighting the stigma of divorce in South Asia. “She was the one who gave the clothes off her back,” said friend Mehru Shaikh. “Even when I was going through a rough patch, I called first to find out how our day was going,” she added.
In addition to his good nature, his passion for photography is another characteristic of his. “She came to life behind the camera,” said Shaikh, admitting that Sania had a knack for making people comfortable in front of the lens. After a “wonderful” Pakistani wedding celebrated in June 2021, the couple’s problems began. “It was a marriage built on a foundation of lies and manipulation,” admitted another childhood friend.
In December, the photographer told Sheikh that her husband had mental health issues and did not feel safe. It was at this stage that Sania Khan began to speak openly about her unhappy marriage, saying that she refused her adjuvant therapy. With the support of her friends, she filed for divorce, changed the locks of her house and applied for a restraining order against her husband. Additionally, she shared her story on TikTok, describing herself as the “black sheep” of her community.
“A South Asian woman gets divorced and feels like a failure in life,” she wrote. “My family told me that if I left my husband, I would allow Satan [diabo em árabe] Success and I dress like a prostitute”, he said. Several posts went viral, and the photographer collected more than 20,000 followers on the platform.