Mom, Dad Why?
Who else is there to help me if you don’t?
*This is a true story. The names and places have been changed to protect the identity.
In my experience, there are many other sisters who suffer through similar domestic violence. It was a dark cold winter night. Once again, my husband came home late, past midnight. I could smell liquor and cigarettes on his breath. As always, I got up and started to warm his dinner. He started to shout obscenities. Fearful that the children would wake up, I tried to calm him down and brought him a glass of water. He threw it back at me. The broken glass cut the hand that I put out to protect me. He started to take his anger out on me by hitting and punching me. The obscenities were continuing and that woke both Seema and Ali. I could hear them crying in their rooms. After a few minutes of being a punching bag that seemed like hours, I was bleeding profusely from my mouth and nose. My arms and chest were also hurting. I remember hearing today will be your last day on this earth. I finally had to courage to run toward the door to save myself. My husband laughed at me again as he always did in the past saying “where are you going to go? Who will help you? Go to your parents and they will send you right back to me again”. I could hear him cursing both of you, especially you Abu Jan, calling you a coward and unsupportive.
Not knowing where to go I went to my next door neighbor who could hear the scolding and abuse of my husband. Seeing that I was bleeding without any shoes or winter jacket, my neighbor asked me in and gave me wet towel to wipe the blood off my face. She also gave me her jacket and shoes to wear and offered to drive me to my parents’ home that was about a half an hour drive. I was not sure what to do. I had never told my parents or anyone else about the physical or emotional violence I was facing. The worst of it was that each time he would beat me, he wanted to have marital relations with me. He would command me to clean and dress up for him. As a devoted wife, I always obliged despite all the physical and emotional hurt and suffering.
On the way to your house, I couldn’t stop crying. I was worried and thinking what and how I could tell you what happened to me that forced me to flee and how long it was going on. I remember I never wanted this wedding. My husband was well known in the whole family for his temperament and authoritative attitude. I wanted someone close to my age and slightly older than me not someone who was thirteen years my senior. I wanted someone that I could befriend and enjoy life with, not be pushed around and told what I can or cannot do. My dream of continuing my teaching career was crushed when he told me I was not allowed to work. I was told my job was just to please him and serve his parents and family members.
Mom, Dad, I could see the dim street lights as we turned into your street. I thought of composing myself and wiping the tears from my face. My friend offered to come with me to the house, but I said no. I told her she should go back home to your husband and children. I am home now and should be ok. I rang the bell over and over and it seemed like forever for you to open the door. I could see the surprise on your face dad when you opened the door. I started to cry and could not speak a word. Dad, you stopped me at the door. Your words were more hurtful than the cursing and physical beating of my husband. “After marriage, a girl’s home is where her husband is. Now that we have got you married you have to go back”. Dad, how could you send me back in a taxi cab with a total stranger at two in the morning? I just could not believe that you did not even come with me. What if my husband had locked the doors and would not open for me? I left my house keys in my purse when I ran out of the house empty handed.
I think a lot about what happened that dreadful night when I realized that my husband knows you better than me. I am now just spending all my energy on my children, Seema and Ali. I also think about committing suicide. I have given up. I hope that one day you will realize the mistake you made by forcing me to marry the man almost double my age, without my consent, and without asking him about his past and his anger and violent behavior. I ask Allah for forgiveness and mercy.
Calling 9-1-1 – Is That The Best First Option?
Story #1: I called 911 in desperation. I wanted to teach him a lesson “never to be aggressive with me again”. I realized I made the biggest mistake of my life after the police came and arrested him. From that day onwards I have regretted my decision. Our relationship has gone downhill. We are now like two strangers living under the same roof. I can see my husband does not trust me anymore. When my husband was in jail for the day he lost a big contract and promotion that was his dream. Our home has been a mess. He has a court case pending for domestic violence. I want to be a witness for my husband, but his lawyer is in disagreement because my husband has told his lawyer that he does not trust me, but I think more than that he want to protect me. If I tell the truth in court that my husband is not a violent person, I may end up in trouble for making up the story. Saying sorry or crying over what I did is not enough. I am at a loss, what can I do?
Story # 2: I should not have called 911 no matter how angry my wife gets, how many dishes she breaks, how violent she gets and how many scratches I have to show for it. I did it because she had started to hit our children also. Two police officers, both men, showed up our doorsteps. It was the saddest day of my life when the male police officers dragged her to jail in handcuffs in front of our children crying for their mother. She spent the night in the cell with common criminals, drug addicts. She got the third degree treatment from the guards when she refused to take her hijab off but was forced to comply. Never in the history of our family had something as devastating as this happened to anyone. My children blame me for what happened. She went from the jail to her parent’s house. I had to go and apologize to her in front of her whole family to bring her back. The children needed their mother and I also cannot live without her. No matter what, she is still my wife and the mother of my children.
Story # 3: I was so sick of him being angry, calling me bad names, cursing me and my family, and the foul language that usually lead to beating me. I couldn’t see any way out. I have suffered for the five years we have been together. It started soon after we got married. As a matter of fact our honeymoon ended up with him beating me. Normally he is a good husband, but when he gets angry, it is as if he is a different person. It seems as if he has some sort of disorder. I have recommended him seeking medical and professional help, but he always responds that it is me and I need my head checked. Now I do nothing but cry about the mistake I made in calling the police on him. Upon looking at my bruises and swollen eye, the police said to get a restraining order on him so that he cannot come in the house or come near me or our children. The judge gave a court order to get anger management for him and recommended marital counseling for both of us. I didn’t think that anything like that was available that really worked within the Muslim community. Both of us are glad that we were forced into it. Alhamdullilah we are slowly working towards discussing our issues in a more civilized way. It may take some time, but we are committed to it no matter how long it takes. We both wish that we would have looked for help through marital counseling rather than calling 911 and being forced into it through the courts. We both have started to follow the guidance of Islam in resolving our issues.
The stories above may give the impression that I am opposed to calling 9-1-1. That is not the case. These are real cases that came to me recently. My reason for bringing these to the forefront is to highlight that most times such instances happen after a long simmering relationship. In all three cases the responses from the participants were “we wish we had gone for marriage counseling before this incident happened”. I would very strongly suggest that couples should go for pre-marital counseling before marriage, and specifically ask for sessions on conflict resolution. The 9-1-1 service must be used immediately if there is any fear of physical abuses to you, children, or household members.
When police are called to respond to a domestic violence 9-1-1 call they are ready and equipped to take immediate action when they get complaint or witness evidence of domestic violence. One of their immediate action is to separate the two parties that means taking one to jail.
In recent decades, arrest and prosecution have been applied to perpetrators of domestic violence with increasing severity, and in recognizing domestic violence as a crime. Some jurisdictions have taken the war against domestic violence a step further, by employing aggressive “mandatory arrest” and “no-drop prosecution” policies. A case is registered against the perpetrator verses the state instead of against the complainant. Those for many who regret making the call once the things have calmed down find them and their spouse at the mercy of the lawyers and court system. We as Muslims need to recognize that the domestic violence prevention laws and systems is for everyone and not just us. The law enforcement agencies are under tremendous pressure to act immediately. Many are not familiar with our Islamic etiquettes and culture.
In some jurisdictions, police have started to arrest both parties, often leaving children with social services.
So what are the alternatives?
- Domestic violence does not happen in one day. It is a gradually deteriorating phenomenon. Recognize the early signs and seek help from family and Muslim domestic violence counselors
- In some cases, a specialist like a psychiatrist’s help may be needed. Don’t resist it, is for your own benefit and that of your family.
- Support your spouse. Rasul Allah (SWS) said to help the victim and perpetrator. When asked how the perpetrator? He (SWS) responded by finding him/her help and praying for him/her.
- Remember the solution to family dispute lies with both of you only. Of course you should seek assistance from a marriage and family counselor or expert. As soon your finger dials 9-1-1, you may be handing the powers to the law enforcement, lawyers and court system. A very costly, time consuming, and stressful solution that may or may not be what you desired.
- Alhamdullilah, Muslim family counselors, although limited in numbers, are providing great service to the Muslim community.
- Finally, I strongly believe that pre marital counseling is a must for every young couple before marriage. It serves a great purpose preparing them to handle future marital issues and challenges effectively. For those who did not take counseling, I suggest that to couples after marriage. It is a good exercise that has brought happiness and harmony in the lives of so many young couples. Muslim Family Services (www.muslimfamilyservices.org) has an internet based pre-marital course that prepares couples in dealing with marriage issues effectively. We also provide marriage and family counseling.
Domestic violence is a real issue among Muslims all over the world. We must address it effectively by providing support to both the victim and perpetrator. May Allah help and guide us. Ameen
Domestic violence is a real issue affecting families across America and around the world. One of the main reasons for domestic violence is anger. Khalid has been working on family development for the past 30 years helping couples and families with their family and marital issues especially domestic violence issue.
After extensive research, he has developed this step-by-step 16 session workshop based on the Quran and Sunnah to help with this issue. Since the publication of this book, hundreds of families and individuals have benefited from this program.
Although to completely benefit from the program, the help of trained counselor is recommended but many who tried it themselves without the help of counselor say that it helped them overcome their negative emotions. The baraka that help people is in the wisdom of the true understanding of the Quran and how it applies to us and in following the exemplary life of our Prophet (PBUH)
Click to purchase this book. $25
After all this how can I trust him?
By: Khalid Iqbal Administrative Director at Muslim Family Services
Posted March 19, 2016
Our 14 years of marriage has been like a roller coaster. We have four children 13, 12, 10 and 8 years old. My husband is a great father and good provider to the family. In the early years of our marriage, my husband was extremely active sexually, sometimes forcing me into kinky acts and positions. About 2 years ago I started to notice a major change in our marital relationship as husband and wife.
I truly used to love my husband, but some recent incidents have put a big hole in our relationship that leads me to completely lose my trust in him and our marriage. It started with an inappropriate text from a girl. Then it was pictures and more texts. There have been several incidents over the past year that brought me to this point. I confronted him, and he exploded in anger, saying that I had no business going through his phone and that is an attack on him by invading his privacy. After a heated discussion and threats of me leaving him, I think I made him realize how serious I was and he ultimately apologized. After that, I began to occasionally sneak and check his cell phone because the trust was broken and I was paranoid. A few months later, one of his male co-workers texted him a picture again. He inappropriately invited him to have a sexual encounter with him. I was so shocked that I cried for days. I didn’t even have the courage to confront my husband and that my husband is into haram activities with other men also.
All of that started to make sense. That’s why we were not as intimate for the past couple of years as we were in the past. I felt like puking and did not wanted to be with him in the room alone, let alone sleeping with him on the same bed. I just couldn’t take it, if it was not for kids I would have left him right away. I exploded on him one day, initially he denied and then he again got extremely angry for exploiting his personal space and privacy, but on the threat of me leaving with the kids. I was blown away by his remark that his mistake was that he didn’t delete the messages and pictures right away. No regrets or apology for his totally inappropriate actions.
Being paranoid, I would go through my husband’s jacket, briefcase, his car, and phone whenever I would get a chance. I came across condoms …which he says he found in the house. At the same time, in light of everything that has happened between me and my husband and I’m nervous that he is cheating. After me confronting him, he has been very secretive with his briefcase and cell phone (it’s with him at all times, even when he sleeps).
Now that the cat is out of the bag, some of the immediate family members and elders know about the situation. They are insisting that I should forget and forgive my husband and should move on with our life for the sake of preserving our marriage and children. My husband’s parents seem more worried about their reputation in the community especially because all of his siblings (sisters) are home divorced from their husbands. My three older children especially girls knows about some of their father’s habits and they hate it. They girls especially do not want anything to do with their father. Even I have issues trusting him with the children alone.
At this point, I’m tired and disgusted. It feels like marriage is a joke to my husband. I’ve prayed for our marriage. I’ve cried a million tears all the time. He is aware that the combinations of these experiences were very hurtful to me and disturbing to the children. I expressed to him that it’s been difficult to forgive him because when I do, something new comes up.
In a recent lecture, and I wish my husband was there listening, when the scholar said it takes one mistake and only moments to shatter the trust and may take ages sometimes years to rebuild and gain it back. The scholar also said that that Allah loves those who forgive for his sake. It seemed to me as if the lecture was only for me, reflecting on my personal situation. May Allah give me the courage to forgive and I do want to forgive and move on with my life, but I want my husband to be more open, straight forward, truthful and transparent with me. He must stop being secretive with his briefcase and phone etc. He must stop lying. He insists that he’s not hiding anything, but I don’t believe him. Since he’s the one that broke the trust, shouldn’t he be taking the initiative and work hard to repair it if he wants to keep this marriage?
At this point, I feel as though I should be preparing myself for separation, possibly leading up to divorce. I’d rather live alone and take care of my kids rather than to live a lie. I am doing Istikhara asking Allah for guidance. I am so confused and want support, help and answers. Am I overreacting?