The Power of Believing: A Survivor’s Journey of Healing

*Trigger warning for sexual abuseby Aya KhalilFive. I was sexually abused at an age where I didn’t even have enough life experience to properly process and identify what was going on. Not by a random stranger. Not by a family member. But by someone whom the community trusted: someone who taught children how to read and memorize Quran, God’s holy book. Someone who abused his power and religious authority to hurt children. As an imam and a sheikh, he had a wealth of Islamic knowledge and an … [Read more...]

Red Light Reflections: The Reality of Sexual Coercion

by: Anonymous I sat at the intersection waiting for the red light to turn green. I thought to myself that if it turns green by the time I count to three, then I’ll do it. I counted; one, two, three…. the light remained red and I began to tear up, how could I have gotten to a place where this seemed to be my only choice of salvage? Shame and disappointment streamed down my face, then the light turned green and I started to drive. I was physically behind the wheel but by no means was I mentally pr … [Read more...]

Supporting Survivors: What NOT to Say

by Fatima NoorSurvivors, like me, whether from rape or domestic abuse, silently throw rants of blame against ourselves. The gaze our eyes lay on our reflections is one filled with shame. Our hearts electrocute our bodies with self-disdain with every second that ticks away. The intimate insides of our bodies curse us with feelings of filth. Every cell of our beings screams with questions beginning with who, what, where, when, why and how. Memories raid our minds and sacrifice our lit … [Read more...]

Will you #BeBoldforChange?

Our International Women's Day Pledge On this International Women’s Day, we honor the inspiring legacies of the women who laid the foundation for the world we live in today: from women in prophetic times who persisted and defied gender stereotypes, such as our spiritual mothers Maryam and Khadijah (may God be pleased with them), to the struggles of the many in our American history books who stood up to the injustice of racial and gender inequality.  We honor the daily persistence of our sisters t … [Read more...]

Let’s get it On(Line)!

As a taboo subject in the Muslim community, sex is the perpetually avoided dinner-table conversation. At HEART, we believe it's time to start that conversation. That is why we are raising funds to expand our virtual resource center. We believe that Muslims deserve access to accurate and culturally-sensitive sexual health information.It's time to finally have the talk.https://youtu.be/S4oSAQrwuIUOur virtual resource center provides a unique and necessary medium for Muslims to learn … [Read more...]

Understanding the Perpetrator

*Trigger warning for sexual violence **all names have been changed to protect identityby Nadiah MohajirAs we work to help survivors seek justice and healing, we often hold space with them as they share their pain of disclosing to their loved ones. More often than not, when survivors disclose in the Muslim community, they are met with victim blaming and shaming. Even more disturbingly, their abusers are not always held accountable. While it is absolutely shocking and painful to hear a … [Read more...]

Call for Video Submissions: Dear Survivor

The Rahma Network and HEART Women & Girls are partnering on a new video series called "Dear Survivor."Community support can be crucial to a survivor's healing in the aftermath of a sexual violence experience. The act of coming forward is extremely courageous, and often many survivors face much victim blaming and pushback from the community, which can be further traumatizing. A powerful response communities can have for survivors is to believe them and receive them with love.We … [Read more...]

My Inherited Grandmother, MLK, and the Pursuit of Social Justice

*This is the written text of a recent speech given at an MLK Shabbatby Nadiah MohajirI wanted to begin by sharing the story of the grandmother I inherited more than nineteen years ago. I met her when I was just seventeen years old at my friend Tariq’s home. I had imagined meeting a traditionally dressed, Urdu speaking, Pakistani elderly woman, – you know, the picture of a Pakistani grandmother. Instead, I met an outspoken, English speaking, cheerful, energetic vibrant career woman. She wa … [Read more...]

Dear 25-year old Single Girls (a response)

by Alia AzmatThis morning I woke up, scrolled through my social media accounts, and found this. Curious and excited by the title, I wondered what this author had to say to someone like me. Then I read it. I read about how my biological clock is running out. I read about how I need to lower my standards, to find Mr. Suitable instead of Mr. Perfect (for me). I read about how I need to give [men] a chance because they are “surprisingly lovely.” I was told to look my best. That it is unr … [Read more...]

Reflecting on 2016, and Looking toward 2017

As Co-Founder and Executive Director of HEART Women & Girls, I am pleased to share our growth and impact over the years through our annual report. Through this report, you will see just how exponentially we have grown in the last three years, with a primarily virtual and volunteer staff.With your support, we have had an incredible year and have accomplished so much, including:Expanded our programming to college campuses across the country, reaching five times as many participants … [Read more...]