Hear Our Stories
mind often wanders to the night she died and I find myself reliving the entire ordeal.
It was the 16th of Ramadan. We had just broken our fasts. We chatted about everything
from food, kids to Eid outfits. The last thing she said to me was “I’ll
be right back.” She never came back. If I had known I would never see her
alive again, I would have asked her to stay a little longer, I would have held onto
her tightly, I would have told her I loved her and that I will miss her. Read More
am LOUD and DETERMINED. How About You? My father is dead and I am a survivor. I
am now 50 yrs. old, and Alhamdulillah I lived to see my birthday and his death.
I was born with sickly lungs and my mother was told I wouldn't live to see my second
birthday. The doctors told her to not become attached to her sickly daughter because
of my condition, but she hung on and with her love and devotion, I survived numerous
respiratory infections and medical issues.
While I was blessed with a loving mother, my father was another case. He beat me
as a small child for the smallest infractions. By four years of age, I was beaten
for not doing the dishes "correctly". By five, beatings become common place from
Anna Mollah wept uncontrollably in her Glen Oaks, Queens, home as she remembered
how her husband used to beat her.
He punched her stomach when she was pregnant with their first son, kicked her when
she was carrying their daughter and did it again during the third pregnancy. He
hit her when they disagreed over the Con Edison bill, or when he had headaches,
or when he disapproved of school supplies she bought the kids. He repeatedly called
her "worthless," "garbage" and "good for nothing," and made her believe it.
One day she used the family car to run errands without his permission and he got
mad. They argued and he grew madder. Then he flew into a rage, wrapped his hands
around her neck and squeezed. She tried to scream for help as he strangled her.
She was able to utter, "I'll call the police." Then he shoved her to the ground.
Jenna was three months pregnant with her fourth baby when her husband surprised
her with a plan to visit their country of origin, Algeria. Her husband was very
violent and abusive those days. The outside world knew him as a very decent practicing
Muslim, but inside the apartment it was a different story. It was a hell and Jenna
had to struggle everyday to make it a better place for her children.
She took that surprise as a very positive change and a good break from domestic
violence. Happily, Jenna said good-bye to all of her friends believing that she
was going for a great summer vacation. She had two daughters, 3 and 4, and one 6-year
old son. She packed their stuff with season planning and told them all the good
things about Algeria and her people.
The clock announced 5 o'clock and Huma, 28, looked at it with disbelief. The week
was passing so quickly. It was already Wednesday evening. Only two days were left
until her husband would come back from a nearby town where he had been living for
his work. Only two more days. She was shivering severely. The thoughts of him being
in the apartment were as scary as having him in the apartment.
Scared and alone Huma was caged in that apartment for a few weeks. Every weekend
her husband would come to torture her in new creative ways. He would abuse her as
much as he wanted and then would leave her alone for another week with a little
food and limited means of communications.
One would think that Huma would either die of hunger and fear or at the least would
become a mental patient. Neither is true. Hers is a story that belies the stereotypes
of women in the Muslim community and speaks to the universal challenges of domestic
violence in all communities. Read
Abubakar and Salma were married for twelve years and had four children, Bilal, Jalal,
Ayesha and Maria, who currently range in age from 2 to 10. During the course of
years, it became increasingly clear that they were quite different people and that
they shared but few interests. Having children did not help their situation. Rather,
with the birth of each successive child, they grew further and further apart.
Abubakar was almost never home, instead he worked and then went out with his friends.
Salma stayed home and was almost totally occupied with taking care of their children.
Both agree that for a few years, their interactions have been mostly businesslike,
with a few bad arguments in between.
Two years ago, Salma started back to work part time. She loved it! She particularly
liked having social contact and making friends; something that, with four small
children at home, she hadn’t had for a while.
It seemed to Salma that, just as she was starting to feel really happy with her
life, Abubakar decided to make things impossible. First, he started to complain
about her going out. He said that, since she was away working all day, she shouldn't
be able to go out for anything else. Then, Abubakar started to say that she shouldn't
be working at all. He started nitpicking about the cleanliness of the house and
criticizing anything that Salma prepared for dinner. He also started to monitor
her phone calls and interrogate her about her whereabouts. Read More
I was raised in an abusive home. My father sent my mother to the hospital a few
times. We learned very quickly not to talk about it. Dad convinced us with his screams,
Mom with her tears. My extended family knew mother's stories about broken bones
and bruises were lies. They tried to get my brother and I to tell them what was
happening. We merely regurgitated the half-truths we had been trained to tell. I
remember so clearly the suspicion in my uncle's eyes, the pleading in my grandmother's
face, but my tongue was tied in a knot I didn't know how to loosen.
A hostage, a puppet, my mouth bore the words that had been planted there. I hoped
as much as I feared my eyes would tell the Truth. No one ever acted on what they
saw in my eyes, only what they heard come out of my mouth. I thought they didn’t
see. I realize now they must have felt as tied and helpless as I did.
I learned there is no safety in the world. Read More
Muslim communities are the worst communities ever, and yes I am a Muslim! Why do
I say that...let me explain something about my life. I was married to (and right
now in the process of divorce) to a vey abusive man. He was a prominent physician
in the United States, and 17 yrs older than me. When I married him I was 18. Right
after that I moved to the States and had 2 children with him. I suffered physical,
mental, emotional abuse from him and his mother, who lived with us. He made me cut
off from all my friends, family...I was not even allowed to talk to my parents for
the last 3 yrs. Every time I wanted to leave there was more abuse, more threats
to kill my brother, rape my sister etc. My parents out of cultural pressure and
threats pushed me to stay with him. Outside people thought we were great, never
realizing what happened behind closed doors. They did not realize I was beaten every
time I tried to talk to somebody or made a face in public. I was sick of pretending.
I came to point that I thought I would lose my mind. Read More
WHY ABUSED (MUSLIM) WOMEN DON'T LEAVE THEIR ABUSIVE HUSBANDS, EVEN THOUGH THIS IS
AMERICA? I'LL TELL YOU WHY......
- They don't know where to look for help.
- They don't want to hurt their parents/disappoint them/have them become the "talk
of the town".
- They have children, and feel that they would rather go through hell than subject
their children to the real trauma/social stigma of a break-up/divorce.