Sexually Harassed As a Child, She Wants to Get Married

06 September, 2019
Q Salam. I have a question on someone's behalf as she feels ashamed about it. She has been sexually harassed, not raped, by her cousin while sleeping when she was very young. The sex drive grew in her slowly and now the lust has grown stronger. She ended up masturbating. Now she hasn't done it and has been trying to control it, but she is afraid she might commit it again. She has told her parents in various indirect ways to get her married but her parents aren't taking it seriously. She is only 19 and she has performed prayers and fasting but without any effect. She is afraid and does not want to commit zina at any cost. Please help

Answer

In this counseling answer:

•If you want to help your friend, I kindly suggest that you advise her to address her traumatic past of sexual assault by getting counseling.  Her feelings of shame is a key indicator of possibly deeper issues.  It is also the tip of the problems you are presenting as there may be underlying issues that may be unknown to you, but very painful for her.

I kindly suggest that you consider talking to her about her mental health (if she will disclose to you), and encourage her insha’Allah to seek out counseling.  By addressing and healing from a traumatic past, she can move forward in her life as a more healthy and empowered young woman.


As-salamu alaykum,

Thank you for writing to us.  In regards to your friend, the issue right now is not about her masturbating but it is about the sexual harassment she endured as a child by her cousin.  That is a severe sin in Islam and a legal crime on the part of the cousin, worse than masturbation.

It is traumatizing to the victim (your friend) and can have lasting consequences much worse than masturbation such as PTSD, anxiety disorder, phobia’s, fears, depression, shame and in extreme cases suicide.

While you may only know the part wherein she masturbates (which is common is most people her age and younger and older)  there could be deeper issues she is dealing with which you do not know of.  You stated she hinted around to her parents of her need to get married.  Has she told them of the sexual assaults/harassment that went on when she was a child?  If not, who did she tell? Did she ever get counseling for the sexual assault?

Sexually Harassed As a Child, She Wants to Get Married - About Islam

If you want to help your friend, I kindly suggest that you advise her to address her traumatic past of sexual assault by getting counseling.  Her feelings of shame is a key indicator of possibly deeper issues.  It is also the tip of the problems you are presenting as there may be underlying issues that may be unknown to you, but very painful for her.


Check out this counseling video


Sexual assault is not an act of passion but an act of violence, your friend’s desire to masturbate and her fear of zina may be related to her fear of loss of control and safety.  While natural sexual desires in human beings often present as masturbation or actual sexual intercourse, please remember your friend had a un-natural, complex and violating experience as a young child thus it is unknown if her current sexual desires are haunted with these memories as a child.

Insha’Allah, she will get counseling and realize that the sexual assault was not her fault, she is not to blame and she should not feel shame, the abuser is the one who is shameful, not her.  The issue of masturbation may be tied in with her trauma or it may not be.  She may be of age and need to be married however if she has not received counseling for the traumatic past she endured she may risk bringing these issues into marriage and thus putting that marriage at risk.

I kindly suggest that you consider talking to her about her mental health (if she will disclose to you), and encourage her insha’Allah to seek out counseling.  By addressing and healing from a traumatic past, she can move forward in her life as a more healthy and empowered young woman.

Encourage her to remain chaste, to pray, to know that Allah loves her and is most merciful.

She is in our prayers, please let us know how she is doing.

Salam

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About Aisha Mohammad
Aisha received her PhD in psychology in 2000 and an MS in public health in 2009. Aisha worked as a Counselor/Psychologist for 12 years for Geneva B. Scruggs Community Health Care Center in New York. Aisha specializes in trauma, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, marriage/relationships issues, as well as community-cultural dynamics. She is certified in Restorative Justice/ Healing Circles, Conflict Resolution, Mediation, and is also a certified Life Coach.
Aisha works at a Family Resource Center, and has a part-time practice in which she integrates healing and spirituality using a holistic approach. Aisha plans to open a holistic care counseling center for Muslims and others in the New York area in the future, in sha' Allah. Aisha is also a part of several organizations that advocate for social & food justice. In her spare time she enjoys her family, martial arts classes, Islamic studies as well as working on her book and spoken word projects.