In this counseling answer:
“Do not be confused. I sincerely do not believe that you or your brother is guilty of any crime or sin at all. However, I do believe that you may have suffered emotional damage and that this can affect how you see yourself as a woman. I encourage you to find healing from the emotional suffering that you have endured from this and from possibly additional events that you have experienced while growing up.”
Wa ‘Alaykum Salaam dear sister,
I am not a scholar of Islamic jurisprudence; therefore, I will reply to you from the perspective of a psychologist and a mature woman. You seem to be very weighted down with a sense of shame that you do not deserve and that you are not obligated to carry with you. The person who is responsible for the misguided behaviors that you and your brother engaged in when you were innocent children is the person who exposed you to behaviors which you shouldn’t have even known about. You are innocent and your brother is innocent as well. In fact, you are both victims of child abuse, because someone put you in a situation where you were exposed to those kinds of behaviors which do not ordinarily occur between children at such a young age.
It is extremely normal and common for little children to be curious especially at the ages of 7 and 8. That is the age when your identity of girl and boy are developing. Boys and girls show each other what they have (their privates) naturally. This is so very common because of the natural curiosity and identity formation that is part of the process of changing from toddlerhood to childhood when one becomes a boy or a girl and identifies with a gender.
With that said, sexual behaviors, such as oral sex, cannot occur between children unless those children saw the behavior somewhere. Yet, it is quite predictable that if young children at that age actually see the sexual behavior, then they will try to copy it. They do this because they want to see what it is like to be an adult. They want to explore the difference between being a girl and a boy. Again, a child who is misguided into acting out or simulating adult behavior is not guilty of any crime and is not sinning. Such a child does not know what he or she is doing and is a victim of child abuse/neglect. Such a child has been put into a situation where he/she can be exposed to adult behaviors, because the adults, who were supposed to be caring for them, failed to protect them from such an environment.
Please, do not blame yourself, and please let go of the feelings of shame that you are holding. Allah loves you as you are. You do not need to be forgiven, nor does your brother. If you want to resolve this within yourself, I advise you to pray for those who put you in that situation in which you were exposed to adult behavior at such a young age. Pray that Allah will forgive those adults who, for whatever reason, could not protect you the way a responsible adult is supposed to protect her/his children. When you perceive your childhood events in this manner, you may even remember other events where you were violated, abused, or neglected. You may have a lot of healing to receive from Allah.
Rather than taking the blame for an action that was not your fault, focus on praying to Allah to heal you and to support you so that you can walk tall with the confidence of your womanhood. Ask Allah to help you forgive those adults who abused you and/or neglected you. Ask Allah to help you develop a strong sense of womanhood so that you can leave these troubles behind and move forward into your own adult days. Move forward with strength, faith, and love for your fellow human beings, and as a beautiful, innocent, and beloved woman that you are.
Do not be confused. I sincerely do not believe that you or your brother is guilty of any crime or sin at all. However, I do believe that you may have suffered emotional damage and that this can affect how you see yourself as a woman. I encourage you to find healing from the emotional suffering that you have endured from this and from possibly additional events that you have experienced while growing up.
I discourage you to bring a new chapter of shame and blame onto anyone else, such as your parents, or those who are responsible for the damage that you have suffered. Most parents do the best they know how to deal with their children and only have the awareness and tools that they have. They may not have realized what you were exposed to or how to be responsible parents. But I do encourage you to see things in perspective and to understand that the irresponsibility of adults may be due to a lack of understanding, or education, or abilities to provide and protect you.
Again, most parents do the best they can with the tools which are available to them. I am also encouraging you to leave the energy of shame and blame behind you. Walk forward into a positive self-image as a beautiful and innocent woman, developing your own relationship with Allah and learning how to appropriately and authentically share your light and love with those whom Allah puts in your care.
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