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Facing Harrassment

Hi Fatima. I just turned 16 yesterday. Im a young Muslim girl and everything was going great in life until Ramadan. During Ramadan, I was approached by an auntie, or a friend of my parents. She hinted a marriage request from her son, and I thought it was strange. I’d known him through our parents, seen him around. We’d talked a few times, but nothing more. Her son was 20, and I was just 15. I told my msa president whose a close friend. I laughed it off, thinking thus thing was minor. The next week there was a house party in which “A”*, the guy, kept trying to talk to me. He eventually told me he told his mom to ask me that. Again, I told my friend and it all went back to normal. I began to feel scared. I didn’t tell anyone though. Then eid came, and we were at the masjid. I saw “A” and felt uncomfortable. I quickly got my food and tried to leave when he came up. He had some blue bag with him. I tried to leave but he held my hand. I freaked, and left. Later, his sister gave me the blue bag. I opened it in the car, and inside was a ring. I got a message telling me it was a proposal ring. I knew this was going to end badly. I was worried all day at eid, and finally told my friend. He messaged “A” and tried to straighten it out. “A” only grew more mad. I saw him at this party, and I noticed he was always staring. He was constantly messaging me the most terrifying things and how I should love him. I stay away from guys, and I ignored him. But things got worse, to a point where he came to my house. I refused him several times. At my friends graduation party, he threatened to show up. lucky for me, I left in time. This whole time, I had barely told anyone. I was glad when we went to Pakistan the next day. It went great that first week. I bonded with my family and explored a bit. I had a cousin named “H”* who was a bit intrusive. Always wanted to talk to me. We went on a trip and he tried holding my hand. In the car I told him he needed to stop. He twisted my wrist and told me he didn’t care. When my mom asked why my wrist was bruised, I lied. He made excuses to talk to me, even got inappropriate physically. I dodged it each time thankfully. but I felt scared in my own house. He used to make excuses to come into my cousins room at night and it made me uncomfortable. One day on the rooftop I was assaulted. In this entire thing, I had my cousin and my friend back in the US to confide to. but I never told anyone the whole thing. I still remember being pinned yet helpless. I bit his hand and got away. the next day we left that city. I felt relieved not seeing “H”. but I was sinking into depression, although I denied it. I was nearly suicidal once we got to Multan. Through this, I told my friend. I refrained from telling him the whole thing to avoid the topic. We eventually came back to America, and I felt weak. School started. Then the “A” stuff came back. “A” was beginning to send explicit texts. At my cousins mehndi, he tried to corner me and tried sweet talking me. I got away again, yet barely. At home I cried. I cried nonstop and realized how broken I was becoming. I wasn’t strong like what everyone saw, trying to be a leader. The “A” things continued until he went away to Pennsylvania. I feel safer now although I still get the messages. my friend convinced me to tell my dad, which I reluctantly did. I now have an angry dad, whose abusive as is. But now I know what he’ll do to “A”. I don’t need the violence. Through this, I’ve turned to Islam. Much more. I pray consistently now, and make dua. but I feel broken on the inside. I can’t get past the 6 months of harassment along with pretending I’m good and maintaining a good academic and extracurricular record. I see my personality becoming isolated, and I need to get out of the cycle. But I fret so much about the past events that I worry I’m going to be my own downfall

Salaam sister,

I want you to know that you are one strong and brave young woman. MashAllah and Alhamdulilah for these qualities. Also, Allah SWT is the One protecting you from these abusive men. Do seek His guidance and blessings and inshAllah He will never let you down.

I would highly recommend that you seek professional help as that will help you with the depression and isolation you are sinking in. It will also help you resolve any other underlying issues (i.e., growing up in a negative, invalidating environment, having an abusive parent, etc.). And, it will help you become confident that you can face these bullies and tell them to leave you alone! I would suggest that you seek either a Muslim counselor or someone who has worked with Muslim clients.

The thing about bullies is that they like to torture people because to them it feels good to have that power and be able to manipulate others. One thing that you have to keep in mind that bullies either have or are still being bullied themselves at home or at work AND they have no control over those situations therefore they assert their control over others who they perceive as weak. BUT, you are NOT weak! Allah SWT has given you rights and has made you strong! You have to own that. Read Surat-ul-Nisa with translation and listen to lectures from scholars like Mufti Menk on YouTube about women’s rights in Islam in order to familiarize yourself about your rights. Also, block both the bullies’ numbers and emails ASAP! As a person living in the US, you have a right to be safe and can press charges against them if need be. InshAllah such a drastic measure might not be necessary but you CAN DO THAT! I know it’s daunting and scary but at the end of the day, these are just bullies and you can rise about them inshAllah.

Worrying about the past will do nothing for you. If you continue to worry about the past and the future, then what are you missing out on? The present! You have your whole life in front of you. Don’t fret. Have faith in Allah SWT as nothing happens without His will.
I hope you find peace and become the strong person Allah SWT wants you to be.

Your sister in Islam,

“Fatima U”

*Names have been edited by admin to protect privacy.

3 thoughts on “Facing Harrassment

  1. Salaam, here is another “Fatima” response:

    Assalamu ‘alaykum,

    I am so very sorry that you have received such hurtful and aggressive behavior over the past six months.

    It is so very hard to feel powerless to establish your own safety and to feel so alone with a heavy and horrible secret.

    I am also saddened that it appears you didn’t have the type of relationship with your parents that you could feel confident in asking for their help.

    Your friends seemed to have done their best to support you and likely took on too much responsibility themselves rather than helping you find safe adults to help you.

    The power of people who engage in aggressive, assaultive behavior often lies in the silence and the fear.

    Once we gain the strength to no longer accept the silence or live in fear, we are free to use our voice to advocate for our own safety. Yet the stigma that exists in many of our cultures may make it hard for us to raise our voices, to ask for help. So going to a counselor and working through what holds you back from being able to establish your own safety will help you clarify what you need to do for yourself.

    You deserve to be safe.
    You deserve to be respected.
    Being stalked or being assaulted is not your fault.

    You have the power to take charge of this situation, and you owe it to yourself to care for yourself.

    Wa ‘alaykum salaam,
    Your sister in Islam,
    “Fatima Z”

  2. Asalamoalaikum Sister,

    The first two people before me have already given you good advice. I agree with what they are saying. Be strong. Happiness comes from within yourself and is linked with your relationship with Allah. Allah tests everyone and Allah tests good people the most. Think of what happened to you as a test from Allah. If you are patient and thank Allah for the blessings, then you will feel happy , inshaAllah. Look at the bright side. It could have been much worse than this. Allah protected you and will continue to protect you insha Allah.
    Take care.
    The Olive Tree

  3. Salaam sister,

    Happy belated 16th birthday! Looks like you’ve had a tough time lately and I pray that inshAllah this year turns out to be much better for you.

    You experienced some extreme bullying unfortunately, and not just from one person. These people were very creepy, disrespectful, and hurt you both emotionally and physically. You did nothing to deserve their behavior and nobody ever deserves to be treated how they treated you. When I read a post like this I am absolutely shocked at how some people can behave and how can they possibly let themselves act that way.

    This was clearly very traumatizing for you and you have every right to feel like you do. Like Fatima suggested, I highly recommend that you go talk to some form of therapist. This will take some time to get over and talking to a therapist can fast-forward that for you. I am not sure which school you go to, but they must have some sort of guidance counselor. Please set up an appointment with that person and discuss. This is something that has unfortunately happened, has materialized inside of you, and you are already feeling it change you. Yes, we do get stronger from overcoming these hardships in life, but you must also regain your joy and happiness. Those people who did that to you do not deserve to take away even an ounce of your happiness. You owe it to yourself to take back what is yours and thrive.

    It also sounds like you are concerned about how your dad will respond to this situation and you describe him as abusive. How he behaves is not your concern. Please do not blame yourself or worry about anything he may or may not do as a result of this situation which you did not ask for. It is my personal hope that his anger is his way of showing that he is supporting you and he will turn it into something constructive rather than destructive.

    I don’t know if submitting this post was in any way cathartic for you, but I recommend you write about your feelings in a journal. We feel a lot of different feelings when we have essentially been abused and bullied and I recommend you let yourself feel them, which writing helps you do, instead of maybe trying to not think about it which is a normal reaction. There is power in anger and in sadness. When you acknowledge those emotions and you feel how powerful they are, you can redirect it to become a better person. If dealt with correctly, those feelings will actually empower you to be even more compassionate, just, and kind to the world. You will also gain wisdom and insight about yourself. In your post it is clear that you already feel closer to Allah swt and you have strengthened your relationship with Him.

    Please continue to submit to this site. Even if you don’t necessarily want a “Dear Fatima” response, you can write in the “You’re Not Alone” section just to get how you feel out. This is a community of people who care about how you feel.

    Sending you lots of love and duas.