I wanted to take this moment to encourage you to think about those who are suffering in silence during this blessed month. Not just the poor and those who are fleeing war or famine, but those who can’t flee and whose suffering is often invisible to us.
It goes without saying that domestic violence is a real problem all over the world, and even within our communities. Being educated doesn’t exempt you from the effects of toxic ideas about masculinity and violence or antiquated notions about a “woman’s place” and how to keep her there. Being muslim doesn’t allow you to turn a blind eye to it out of fear of embarassing of drawing criticism to a community that is already much maligned. In fact, those things are the very reason why we should be vocal about standing against domestiv violence and combats the ideas of shame that silence its victims.
Maybe you don’t think you know anybody in this kind of a situation. If you don’t you are one of the lucky few. But I beg you to reach out to all of your friends this Ramadan and let them know that if ever, one day, they needed a friend, somebody who would beleive them and help them get to safety, you will be that friend. Tell your cousins and your daughters. Tell your teachers and your students. Let them know that you won’t stand still or be silent knowing that they are being subjected to inhuman treatment.
The number of women and children who end up homeless or living in poverty because they fled domestic violence is startling. It is among the top causes of childhood poverty and homelessness. Can you imagine living a life where poverty is preferable to the insecurity of never knowing when the next beating will happen? We, as a community, can do better. We need to teach our sons healthy ways to deal with emotions and dismantle ideas of manhood that equate violence with strength. We need to lend our unquestioning support to women fleein violence instead of asking what she may have done wrong to set him off. And we need to support programs and safe spaces where victims can get the support and guidance they need to start a new life.
If at all possible, lend your financial support to deserving projects serving women and children fleeing domestic violence. Allah swta always reminded us to serve those closest to us first. WHile its tempting to direct all of our energy to international humanitarian concerns, we should never forget that the poor, the oppressed, and broken hearted also walk among us. They pray next to us. They too are deserving of our concern.
Go to Launch Good to support Nisa Home as it seeks to open a third location, or go here to see how you can get involved in other ways. And remember, silently hating domestic violence in your heart is literally the LEAST you can do. I think that we are better than that.