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Threatened By Ex-Husband, Where Is the Community Support?

31 July, 2022
Q As-salamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh. I hope that this is the right location for this question and that if not, I can be redirected to someone who can respond soon Insha'Allah as I see it as an urgent matter.

A sister is facing a difficult situation and has confided in me with what's going on. When I heard her situation, my husband and I immediately sought to find support for her from the Muslim community.

Basically she has told me that her husband left her when she was two months pregnant. He walked out the door, didn't explain or say anything and just left. Her son is now a year and two months old. The sister says that her husband physically and mentally abused her also, and she has witnesses to the abuse (her parents). Since the time that he left, however, he has not paid a single penny to her or her child like he is supposed to, and tells her that they are essentially divorced, but also tells her that if she marries someone in the future, he'll kill her. He has also told her if she speaks about this he will kill her and also constantly threatens to take her child. He has tried to take the child from her in public and I personally witnessed him taking the child one time while driving and they could be seen on the street.

Basically, the sister wants a finalized divorce from him, wants nothing more to do with him, and needs some kind of support from the looming threat he has over her, especially about taking her child and killing her. I'm currently living in a small town in Mexico where this is all taking place and legally there isn't much help for women in this situation here.

Upon hearing this, my husband and I asked around in the small Muslim community to try to get her some answers about how she can go about divorcing him, or whether or not they are technically already divorced based on the time they've been physically separated at this point. While not receiany answers from the Imam, my husband was also told that she's just over dramatic, she has battered wife syndrome because she keeps going back to him, and that they have advised her to just go to the police and that is how the Muslim community helped her. Basically then they just left the situation alone. Didn't speak with the brother at all, and are doing nothing to protect this woman because they can't corroborate what she's saying.

In my opinion, they've basically helped this brother have the freedom to continue his behavior. He is now planning to marry another sister who recently left an abusive relationship, and has two little girls. I feel that he has been enabled to feel comfortable doing this. This sister is aware of everything he has done and still wants to marry him, basically putting her kids in danger.

What I'd like to know is what should the Muslim community do in this case or what CAN they do? They seem to be acting like they've done all they can, even the imam. Can this sister get a divorce? Apparently, they advised her that she can't divorce him without his approval, while also telling her she should leave him. Shouldn't the brothers all come together against this man to protect the women in this situation, or at least have a serious talk with this brother about his behavior and actions? Is there any thing more a Muslim community can or should do in this situation? How can we support this sister? Thank you for any help you can provide jazakallahu khairan

Answer

Domestic violence is completely against Islamic teachings, yet unfortunately, a huge problem in many communities.

If the Muslim community around is unable to offer practical solutions, reach out to other Muslim communities and organizations that are more prepared for these situations.

How can you help someone affected? Click on the video to learn more.

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About Aisha Mohammad
Aisha has a PhD in psychology, an MS in public health and a PsyD. Aisha worked as a Counselor/Psychologist for 12 years at Geneva B. Scruggs Community Health Care Center in New York. She has worked with clients with mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, panic disorder, trauma, and OCD. She also facilitated support groups and provided specialized services for victims of domestic violence, HIV positive individuals, as well youth/teen issues. Aisha is certified in Mindfulness, Trauma Informed Care, Behavioral Management, Restorative Justice/ Healing Circles, Conflict Resolution, Mediation, and Confidentiality & Security. Aisha is also a Certified Life Coach, and Relationship Workshop facilitator. Aisha has a part-time Life Coaching practice in which she integrates the educational concepts of stress reduction, mindfulness, introspection, empowerment, self love and acceptance and spirituality to create a holistic healing journey for clients. Aisha is also a part of several organizations that advocates for prisoner rights/reentry, social & food justice, as well as advocating for an end to oppression & racism. In her spare time, Aisha enjoys her family, photography, nature, martial arts classes, Islamic studies, volunteering/charity work, as well as working on her book and spoken word projects.