Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Domestic Violence in Muslim Communities

Today as I read through the news I came across an article entitled, "Nazish Noorani, Domestic Abuse and American Muslims." This immediately caught my eye because the American Muslim population is an understudied population when it comes to issues related to violence within intimate relationships. As I read this article, I came to appreciate that it not only discussed resources, such as Turning Point for Women and Families, but that it attempted to break the dynamics of abuse down and additionally examine the components of intimate violence that might be not only specific to Muslim populations, but to faith-driven relationships of all denominations. For example, the article details that it takes on average 10 attempts at leaving before a woman finally leaves. Previously that number was 7 attempts. This rise in attempts demonstrates added elements that religion and culture play within intimate relationships, including or absent of violence. And, did you really just think about that. 10 attempts. This alone demonstrates that need for support women seeking exit from violence require. And, keep in mind that the research shows the most dangerous time for a woman in a violent relationship is as she leaves.

Furthermore, I appreciated that this article discussed the impact on children. When I teach Violence against Women and Girls, I spend quite a bit of time on this topic. Sometimes it seems adults forget how aware children really are.  While the statistics represented in the article are a bit different from the research I draw from, I think the commonality that everyone would agree on is that children are affected.

I've included a link below of an actual 911 police call made by a 6-year-old girl named Lisa (Nov 21, 1991).  While the audio in this video is extremely upsetting, the police report that upon arrival, the violence was actually rather minimal. What we have to remember, however, is that the perception of a child can be much different from that of an adult.

WARNING: This may be graphic and emotionally upsetting for some. If you choose not to hear the audio, you may read the transcript of the call by clicking here.

To listen to the 911 call, please click here. Note, there are parts of the tape that get quite loud. Be aware of the volume of your speakers.

When Lisa was found approximately 15 years later, she was in an abusive relationship herself. When she was pregnant with her second child, she reported that something snapped and she decided to get out of the relationship. She stated that she didn't want to end of like her mother.

So, this article was full of great things to think about. The impact on children, resources available specifically to the Muslim population, how religion impacts the experience of domestic violence and/or help-seeking behaviors. I highly recommend checking it out. Let me know what you think of the article and/or of the Lisa tape.

Lastly, since today brought up the intersection of religion with VAWG, I also found the following article on the Huffington Post. Check it out if you're interested: What Christians Need to Learn from Sl*twalks

1 comment:

  1. Earlier this year I read "Infidel" by Ayaan Hirsi Ali and it gave a fascinating look at this culture from someone who grew up in it and then escaped to the Netherlands. I would definitely recommend it because it was a page turner AND it really made me see things from a different perspective than I had before. It also pointed out how violence against women in the Muslim community (including circumcision) is "tolerated" in Western societies because governments don't want to be thought of as bigoted for cracking down on it. I would totally have been one of those people (I don't like to see cultures erased in favor of one way of thinking) before I read this book. I know you have long lists of books to read but you should definitely add this one to it.