Recently, I shared a blog post of mine I wrote two years ago on how my Qur’an teacher would sexually abuse girls in my elementary school. I continue to highlight “Qur’an teacher” in this discussion because of the hypocrisy of such a man (or woman) to commit such an act – preaching God’s word to his followers on the one hand while, literally on/with the other hand, sexually abusing children (or others). The responses I’ve received so far have been very supportive, with many readers sharing their own personal stories of sexual abuse or of having witnessed it being done to others. Sure, there were a couple of angry readers – believe it: someone even said, “Qur’an teachers are human, too, and like everyone else, they make mistakes 🙂 God doesn’t want you to expose someone’s mistakes/sins.” (!!!) One person was upset that I mentioned in the post that my “Qur’an teacher” did that because 1) now non-Muslims will attack Islam even more, and 2) “not all Qur’an teachers do that, all right?!” #NotAllimams, anyone? k) But honestly, everyone else whose response I’ve seen has said some version of: “This is unacceptable! We need to do everything in our power to stop this!”
Those who shared their experiences have allowed me to share them on the blog. Anonymously. I continue to encourage everyone to come forward with their experiences, to talk about this problem openly because by remaining silent about it, we’re allowing it to continue; if you have a blog, please write about it and encourage others to do the same. If you don’t have a blog, find another platform that’ll share your story – whatever you do, please speak up. If you feel safe enough to do so, that is. Remember you can write anonymously, use a pseudonym, or ask a friend (or me or another blogger) to share your story.
Here’s to praying for peace mental, physical, and emotional well-being of any and all who have experienced or witnessed sexual abuse (or any other form of abuse) in their lives. I wish for you strength and love – I’m sorry that our community mostly refuses to acknowledge the existence of this problem, especially when the perpetrators of the abuse is a religious community leader or someone else whom the community or our families trust, and I’m deeply sorry that there are few if any outlets that encourage us to talk about our experiences. It speaks to people’ strength that they have been able to go so far in life despite the efforts of sexual abusers who have attempted to break them in every way possible.
A reminder to all those who have experienced sexual abuse: there’s nothing to be ashamed of, and it was not your fault – no matter your age, your life choices, what you were wearing, what setting you were in. It was not your fault, and you are not a bad person because of what happened to you regardless the extend or duration of the abuse.
So far, I’ve published only one response, but the rest are coming up.