Real Men Don’t Hit Women

I’ve been traveling a lot in the last few years of my life speaking to different communities both in the United States and abroad.  In at least the last two years of my travels, there hasn’t been a lecture or event that I’ve participated in that hasn’t introduced me to at least one young woman (and usually more) that has been abused in some way during her life and, subsequently, doesn’t know what to do about it.

Rape, molestation, beatings, verbal abuse, emotional distress, the issues continue on end.   In most instances, the hardest part of it all seemingly stems from the young woman being unable to find someone to speak to about it.    And so she will follow suit unknowingly to those who came before her and experienced similar abuses, left to talk only to herself.    Critical questions of why it happened to her in the first place now take on the form of self criticism, and in most instances the young girl will begin to blame herself for everything that has happened.    Why did my husband hit me?  Why did my uncle take advantage of me?  Why did my husband cheat on me?  Why did that boy end up not marrying me after having an intimate relationship with me?  Perhaps it is my fault and I deserve it.

As a Muslim man, I can say its already difficult enough to understand how to be Muslim in the context of the United States.   I think its also important for us to acknowledge that most of us haven’t grown up being taught how to be men.   If you are a man and you are reading this, at no point in time should you ever think its ok to hit a woman.

I spoke at the University of Pennsylvania on the topic of Dealing with Domestic Violence in the Muslim Community a couple of weeks ago.   You can hear some of my thoughts on the subject matter in the videos below.  Please do share with others if you think its worth it.   I’ll write something more in depth in the future.


14 Responses to “Real Men Don’t Hit Women”

  1. 1 H N
    October 10, 2009 at 8:02 pm

    real men wouldn’t even consider *thinking* about hitting a woman

  2. 2 Haroon Musa
    October 11, 2009 at 10:41 pm

    Your insights are great masha’Allah. Thanks Imam Khalid Zee Latif.

  3. 3 ...
    October 12, 2009 at 3:54 am

    This really breaks my heart. Although I’m far from being an emotional, I found myself muffling tears listening to the lecture. I was reminded of stories from friends, my own past, and a recent revelation that weighs very heavily around my heart. I wish I had been there to save her. I wish someone had protected me. I wish it didn’t end with whispered words. Thank you. Your words have been very helpful. They are something we can all carry into the future because wishing in retrospect isn’t especially helpful.

  4. 4 Shazia
    October 12, 2009 at 9:16 pm

    Salaam and thank you for your dedication on establishing a dialogue regarding domestic abuse in our muslim community and what we can do to eradicate ir or at least provide support for the women who have faced abuse.

    If you are ever in the Chicagoland area, I would love to have you come speak at our masjid… please reach out to me if you are available!

  5. October 13, 2009 at 3:50 pm

    Ma sha’Allah. Baraka llahu fikum.

  6. October 14, 2009 at 6:21 pm

    As-salamu ‘alaykum wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh,

    Subhana Llah, wa ma sha’a Llah… Speechlessly beautiful speech. Makes one think. May Allah ta’ala reward for your efforts.

    Allah Hafiz


  7. 7 hala
    October 16, 2009 at 3:22 am

    Salam everybody,
    This is the first time I hear an Imam talk about this subject. Thank you Khalid. I’ve never in my life (I grew up in the middle east) heard any Imam speak so fairly and indiscriminantly about this issue.
    Real men don’t hit women. Because they should go and prove how manly they are with other men, not women. Women already notice that they are men and manly 🙂


  8. 8 A
    November 9, 2009 at 4:59 am

    I always wondered how women, who go through these ordeals, re-affirm on their faith and spirituality, especially if the incident involved a priest, rabbi, imam etc.

  9. 9 Mike
    August 5, 2011 at 4:33 am

    add me to your mailing list

  10. February 22, 2014 at 8:18 pm

    An impressive share! I’ve just forwarded this onto a coworker who has been
    doing a little research on this. And he in fact ordered me
    breakfast because I found it for him… lol.
    So let me reword this…. Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending the time to discuss this matter here on your blog.

  11. May 6, 2014 at 1:17 pm

    Great blog! Do you have any tips and hints for aspiring writers?
    I’m planning to start my own blog soon but I’m a little lost on everything.
    Would you advise starting with a free platform like WordPress
    or go for a paid option? There are so many options out
    there that I’m completely overwhelmed .. Any recommendations?

    Thank you!

  12. 12 ELS
    June 10, 2014 at 5:16 am

    Your commencement speech brought me here. You handled yourself very graciously in 2009. I can’t say I’ve recently been as diplomatic in my own life dealing with authority. I must thank you for your deeply profound words. You’re absolutely correct, it’s not that difficult. We must strive to be responsible male adults in every aspect of our lives.

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Who is doing the thinking

My name is Khalid Latif. I work as the Executive Director and Chaplain for the Islamic Center at New York University as well as a Chaplain for the NYPD, New York City Police Department.

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