Domestic Violence, Islam and Muslim Women
12/1/2010 11:19 AM
Written by Anntoinette Cooper
All too often we hear stories of victims of domestic and family violence across the country. Domestic Violence is an epidemic that has no boundaries; it crosses every culture, race and religious group on this planet. The issue of domestic violence and its commonness characteristically tends to be the same on the surface however within religious communities and communities of color these groups are statistically shown to have the highest rated incidences of intimate partner violence; highest related deaths as a result of domestic violence and the highest in unreported and under-reported incidences recorded.
The availability of culturally sensitive facilities across the country is still a very limited resource to women of color and women of religious communities. The cultural values of many victims within Muslim communities as communities of color are yet another deterrent adding to the lack of outreach and help for these victims.
The stereotypical views and myths associated with Islam and Muslim women; the generalization of the Muslim population by mainstream society and the countless fears of victims which include the threat of deportation, blacklisting from the religious community, mistreatment from authority figures, undue scrutiny of Islam and the list goes on. All of these add to the already complex issue of domestic violence within our community making it even more compound.
In light of the recent surge of activism against domestic violence in the Muslim communities across the country which undoubtedly is fueled by the stories that have hit mainstream media associating Islam with these horrible acts of violence. The sudden influx of involvement is a great move towards changing the outlook of Islam and domestic violence however being reactive is not enough to combating the underlying issues that make this as complex as it is for subordinate groups.
Becoming proactive in your immediate communities and supporting “Muslim friendly” services and facilities is the key to building a foundation for helping victims in our communities. There are many programs that have been trained in cultural sensitivity and awareness that welcome women from diverse communities to seek the help they need without violating their religious rights.
Sista2Sista Incorporated is a networking, educational and mediation service for Muslim women victims of domestic and family violence. They provide numerous supportive services to victims that offer outreach and referrals to Muslim service providers and Muslim-friendly service providers. They also train social service and emergency relief agencies on sensitivity and awareness of the Muslim culture.
This is one of many organizations around the country that are available to the victims. The next few weeks we will take a look into the various services of this organization along with others that are doing great things to empower women, families and communities within our community.
Editor's note: This post was originally written for Examiner. It has been republished with the permission of the writer.