Handcuffed [a semi-rant]

Over the course of my life I heard that if I was patient, I would be rewarded.

In my adolescence I sought answers by reaching out to different religious leaders. I rarely got a response …and when I did it was the same mantra of endurance and forbearance. Patience in an unrelenting environment does not come easy or free.

So often I hear how it is harder for Muslim women to speak out about domestic violence because in their culture it is shameful or it risks ruining their reputation. I have heard over and over how women of a specific nationality or faith or race just don’t “do that.” But we have created that shame. We have elevated the need of a good reputation over the rights afforded to us by God and humankind. We seemingly spread this through entire races and nationalities.

It’s no wonder victims don’t leave.

They feel the cold grip of the handcuffs of financial worry, cultural judgments, spiritual hurdles, and often times the abandonment of their entire communities.

I am baffled by people who think it is respectful, expected, and even logical for these women to suffer in silence. When did we begin to tolerate varying levels of injustice and oppression? I am alarmed at how many Muslims have the incorrect information that husbands have the right to beat their wives and their children. How did speaking out against violence in the home become a dishonorable action or cause to undertake?

Islam provided one of the earliest documented stands against domestic violence. We led the fight against abuse towards women. It became a God-given right that women be protected as early as birth. The verse was revealed that ended the common practice of the time: female infanticide. Islam further provided women with equal rights and voices and worth in a time when this was unheard of.

Where has this zeal gone? When did our leadership in this aspect of our faith and social responsibility slip between our fingers?

We have fallen behind the pack.

We have failed our religion.

It’s time to change this.

Every single one of us reading this holds the key to these victims shackles. It’s time to stop looking down our noses with preconceived notions. It’s time to stop turning a blind eye. It’s time to ask that uncomfortable question. Don’t wait until our daughters or our sisters become just another statistic.

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