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.