LOUD and DETERMINED
I 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 him if he didn't understand what I said, though that was in part due to the fact I was born with a speech impairment and he had hearing loss. No matter, it was seen as my fault and he would beat me mercilessly. He killed my pets and terrorized me nightly when he came to my room to gratify himself sexually.
By seven years of age, my mother divorced him, but was forced to leave my two older brothers in his custody due to the threat by our father that he would kill all of us kids if she asked the court for custody of all of us. She knew, based on his violent past that he would likely follow through with his threat. So with sorrow, she allowed him to take my older two brothers.
Years later, my two older brothers were shipped to my mother, unannounced by Greyhound bus. My father wasn't Muslim, nor was my mother. This abuse can't be blamed on Islam or another culture. Yet many who see me now days assume he must have been, since I am Muslim. They jump to assumptions to justify the evils that were perpetrated. But no one can justify evil, no matter the faith or the culture.
It is ISLAM that gave me solace as an adult, for its teachings helped answer my questions of "WHY ME". It helped me understand that I would have justice, if not in this life; in the next. For 25 years now, I have waited for the day that I would be told that my father was dead. That day came this month. I feel no remorse for my father. He is just a man, who a small little girl knew and who forever changed her way of seeing the world.
I, along with my brothers, have had some rough times over the years. We all have suffered divorces, and had trouble with family relationships. We suffer from anger "issues" and cannot stand by when someone is being abused or treated unjustly. I recognize that it was my childhood that shaped me. It was that horrible childhood that molded me into the community advocate I became. Though I only suffered from his actions for less than 10 years, the foundation of terror he laid in my mind took decades to conquer and I still work to battle back those phantoms.
I often tell Muslims who have trouble coping with my forwardness, that if they don't like my straight forwardness, they need to make sure they aren't creating more people like me...through inaction, taboos or abuse.
I am LOUD, yes. I am DETERMINED. I am willing to stand up and take on the abusers openly and take the labels of shame many Muslims place on community advocates, solely because they are willing to defend the defenseless. I am willing to stand up for the child, in a way NO ONE stood up for me. I stand up for women and men being abused, in a manner no one was willing to stand up for my mother. I want to see the END to violence, but until that day -- I am willing to be that annoying Muslimah standing in the way of "tradition" and bullying and abusive cowardliness.
If you don't like it... all I can say is DON'T make more survivors like me. The prisons are full of men and women who were victims of violence as children, who through their own experiences lost hope and rebelled against the society that failed them. I am the other example.
Don't like me in your face, showing you that mirror -- then don't abuse your spouse, your elderly, your homeless person, your child, your sister or your brother. It’s that easy. God granted me with a gift to FIGHT. I fear nothing but Allah, because I've already faced my death many times over. So now, I dedicate my life to resolving injustice. What do you do?