A Sexual Assault Survivor Pushes Back

originally published on altmuslim.comBy Sheerin SiddiquePushback. Unsolicited advice. Threatening jargon. Incomplete information. Unforeseen intimidation. Mischaracterized evidence. Cold isolation. Deafening silence. Unfair commentary. One-sided assumptions. Crude judgments. Never-ending blame.Plain old-fashioned pushback.This is what trickled down when I was “coming out” to the world, especially to the Muslim-American community.I was invited on April 30 to be a part of a gue … [Read more...]

Removing Roadblocks: Recommendations for Direct Service Providers to Build more Victim-Centric Services for Muslim Survivors of Sexual Assault

After two years of development, we are proud to share this important research, "Removing Roadblocks: Examining Barriers to Justice & Healing to Build more Victim-Centric Services for Muslim Survivors of Sexual Assault." Partnering with the Muslim American Women’s Policy Forum (MAWPF), this white paper provides recommendations for institutional responses to sexual assault based on surveys with direct services providers.While much progress has been made in the greater movement, it is clear tha … [Read more...]

Nurturing Shame-Free Environments: An Open Letter to Faith Community Leaders

This letter was originally published by Rape Victim Advocates. It is part of a series by Kat Stuehrk, Northside Prevention Educator at Rape Victim Advocates, developed for the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s 2017 Sexual Assault Awareness Month Theme, “Engaging New Voices”.Dear Faith Community Leader, Sexual violence is a spiritual issue. As the topic of sexual violence has slowly become less of a taboo subject, plenty of information has become available about how abuse and rape af … [Read more...]

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...]