I was once in family court and the judge summed a woman to the bench. She was breathing rapidly, walking quickly, looking over her shoulder, and appeared very nervous. She had a silent rattle tied to her. However, I knew the sound. It was the sound of a person who had been shaken by fear. The judge called her husband to bench as well. The judge scolded the husband for breaking her order of protection nine times. He said that he was very concerned about the safety of the nervous woman. That was it, just a warning, and dismissed. She was very beautiful, and well kept. She looked educated and well brought up. She told the judge that she had no money for a lawyer. I gave her several numbers of some local agencies that may help her with her divorce. She exhaled and said thank you.
Many women have to leave their homes, jobs, and complete lives as they know it to preserve their safety. If children are involved, more is at stake. Tennessee is 5th in the country for women being reported dead due to Domestic Violence. Many people take it as a light matter. However, death, homelessness, job loss, and injury are no light matters. Women also experience isolation either in the form of the abuser cutting them of, or their friends and peers rejecting them for fighting back.
Domestic Violence has no friends. It is a black hole that sucks the life out of its victims. It takes away peace, safety, family, and joy. It feeds off of hate, ignorance, and idleness. Many women report that the one of the first things to leave is their laughter. The dark clouds move over the victims souls.
It exceeds every race and religion. It has no favorites. Black and White no longer matter. Rich and poor share the same grief. The more that people ignore it, the stronger it grows giving the abuser a shot of power as they tower in arrogance and hate. Be not mistaken, it is no myth. It is a real evil that lurks at every corner in every community. The longer we wait to confront it, the more victims it claims.
Domestic Violence is family violence. Did you really think that every person in a family is perfectly well behaved? I differ not. Every family has a black sheep. For the sake of honor you may cover for the abuser. However, pain and evil do not contain well. They eventually seep out. They seep out in the form of lies, deceit, anguish, nervousness, inappropriate sexual actions, bullying, and isolation. The signs are there if your eyes are open. But if you close your heart, you will never see.
Domestic Violence comes in the form of child abuse, elder abuse, man on woman, and woman on man. It is the demon that takes the soul and fills it with hate. It lashes out at the people who are most close to it. It knows no end. Some families have generations of bred abusers because the cycle never ends.
Stand up today and gather your courage. Do not let fear take hold of you. Your fear will only give the monster power. Your courage will knock it down. Say no to Domestic Violence and break the chain that bounds. That silent rattle tied like a shackle dragging on the ground. I can’t think of a fate worse than oppression. Don’t be silent anymore.
Domestic violence exists in all societies and violators come from all religious backgrounds. In Islam the position on the treatment of all persons and especially of women is found in the Quran and exemplified through the life and character of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)
“The nobler among you in the sight of God is the more righteous among you.” (Quran, 49:13)
It is narrated that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said,
“The most perfect of believers in belief is the best of them in character. The best of you are those who are the best to their women. And in another tradition, “The best among you are those who are kindest to their wives."
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) taught through his roles as husband and father how to treat the family.. How one treats their family reflects their level of faith. The character of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) exemplified how one should be good to his wife; he should be kind, gentle and patient; he should honor and protect her and never hurt her emotionally or physically,he should respect and appreciate her and he should communicate with her and involve her in decision making.
Allah instructs men to be good to their wives and to treat them well to the best of their ability. A devout Muslim should always remember that dealing justly with one's wife is part of faith and earns the pleasure of Allah, while dealing unjustly with her will earn Allah’s anger.
"They (your wives) are your garment and you are a garment for them" (Quran 2:187)
This verse of the Quran reveals that in marriage the husband and wife should have the most intimate and loving relationship. Each should cover, protect and safeguard the interests of the other.
And if conflict and discord arises in the marriage spouses are reminded to:
“Live with them in kindness; even if you dislike them, perhaps you dislike something in which Allah has placed much good” (Quran, 4:19)
And if the marriage is beyond repair and divorce is needed then the husband is reminded to:
“Retain them in kindness or release them in kindness. But do not retain them to their hurt so that you transgress (the limits). If anyone does that he wrongs his own soul. Do not take God’s instructions as a jest“ (Quran 2:231)
This article is co-written with Taheerah Ahmad. Taheerah Ahmad is a Domestic Abuse Survivor Advocate with a background in Sociology and Teaching from Tennessee State University and S.I.T Graduate School in Vermont. She has a Safe Exchange program in Nashville, TN.
Anyone experiencing family violence should contact the Y.W.C.A Domestic Violence hot line at 1-800-334-4628 24 hours a day.