Everyone Hush: Why Protect A Predator Due to Taboos?

05 September, 2020
Q I was married at 19 in a joint family. My husband then used to work in Dubai.

At that time my maternal sister in law disclosed to me about my father in laws abusive character. Improper touching..and dirty talks...after sometime the same things started happening to me.

He touched me inappropriately asking where it was paining(I was having coccyx issues) and needed a separate pillow to sit. He started touching me from my neck to back. I was stunned couldn’t think anything. I wanted to get out of that uncomfortable situation.

After that also touching and dirty jokes continued but I wasn’t able to protest as I was new there and didn’t have my husband trust ...I was scared that I would be blamed...or it will end up as if it was my confusion or misunderstanding...but it was abuse.

When my husband came back from Dubai and in 2017 I was 7 month pregnant the same maternal cousin sister came to stay with us at my in laws house. For 3-4 days she used to come in the morning and would complain to me about how my FIL touched her night before.

During day also there were unspeakable things happening..she decided to disclose everything to my husband...but it was all denied by my FIL.

In fact she was accused for having bad character and seducing my FIL...my husband didn’t have any proof so the matter was hushed. At that time I told my husband what was happening with me also. After the confrontation my FIL fought with me for supporting the cousin sis..and I went to my mums place to give birth to my baby boy.

I had fear of thunder and lightning. But postpartum it all just got worse and developed into phobia.

Past 3 years I am having anxiety and panic attacks..and was diagnosed with OCD. My husband is aware of my illness and is supportive but he won’t go against his parents. Due to my OCD and anxiety issues I have to visit my mums place frequently, as I feel safe there during thunderstorms.

This created issues as to who will cook and do house chores. But my health is deteriorating and I also have my baby to take care of. On 3 Aug when I was coming to my mum's place, me and my FIL got into an argument and I got panic attack.

He was trying to scare me..control me...even came close to hit me or he was imitating it i don’t know...but it was bad. I was getting really bad anxiety attack I was screaming and crying and I was in a terrible state. My husband went to work as it was urgent. My MIL came to drop me at my mum's place.

Now my family and myself are really disappointed and hurt. I don’t wanna go back...and I know they are and will try to make me look bad and will even say that because I have mental issues this thing happened What should I do?

My husband understands me ...but didn’t support me I don’t know why...and we are not financially strong to have a separate home. Plus my husband is worried about his mother and so am I.

But I can’t bear it any longer now...because this all is affecting me very badly mentally, emotionally, and physically. I just want to know what is the ruling for all this according to shariah.

I don’t want to be a bad person to separate my husband from his family...but I can’t stand it any longer, am I wrong, will Allah dislike my rebel behavior? Please answer

Answer


In this counseling answer:

Get away from this Father in law immediately and do not engage with him. Protect your child at all costs, children are the most vulnerable. 

Speak with your husband gently but also do not back down. Make it clear that your child must be protected from this and you deserve to be protected from this.

Your husband has a choice to make.

Consider counseling for yourself as well as your husband.

Seek guidance and help from your Mother.

Always make duaa and trust in Allah (swt).


 Assalamu alaikum,

Thank you for taking the time to write in and trust us with your concerns. It is my understanding you are married to a man who is relatively understanding and tries to be good, however, his Father is a sexual predator who preys on family members.

I understand the family has tried to speak out about this deviant behavior, but it is ignored and swept under the rug.

Also I understand that you have developed OCD, possibly PTSD as well and are struggling with panic attacks. I understand you feel safer with your Mother and your husband does understand this, but his family is not helping and is protecting the sexual predator in the family, possibly due to cultural taboos. 

My dear Sister, first and foremost, please understand none of this is your fault and you were 100% correct to speak out about his actions towards you. This man preys on women, you were a young girl at 19 and he took advantage.

The fact you talk about him being angry and almost hitting you shows how far this man will go to keep women quiet around him and submissive.

I want to bring up something which will be hard to hear, but it is critical. You mention having a child, they are the most vulnerable and most molestation occurs from men in the family. Staying around this man is endangering your child, he may touch your child or may have already done so. 

Please take this seriously, you must get away from this man and I would take legal precautions to ensure he cannot see your child. You know how this felt as a 19-year-old girl, imagine how it feels to a young child. I know this is taboo and difficult in your country, my dear Sister you must be strong for the sake of your child. Pray to Allah (swt) for strength and protection, you can do this. 

Husband’s Role

Your husband has a choice to make. Will he protect his family from this predator, or will he abandon them? He must support you and ties must be cut with this man.

He can help his mother and protect her as best he can from him. But every time he engages with his Father like this, he is enabling his abusive behavior towards the women in the family.

He is enabling him to hurt you and possibly enabling him to hurt your child. He is the mahram of your household, he must act to protect you and your child, to not do so is to not fulfill your rights. 

Speak with your husband gently but also do not back down. Make it clear that your child must be protected from this and you deserve to be protected from this. Taboo or not, this man is abusing women. Make it clear he must protect and support you, as is your Islamic right and human right, or you will stay with your Mother. 

You cannot force your husband to take these actions, he must make that choice on his own. Inshallah he will make the right choice and protect you from him.

It sounds like your husband is a good and loving man who is conflicted about culture and how to handle this. While this is difficult and great stress on him, he must stop hiding from it and face the fact his Father is dangerous, and his child is not safe around him. 


Check out this counseling video:


Shariah

Sister, please understand I am not a jurist so I cannot give you a ruling. But I hope you understand Islam NEVER allows for abuse. Islam says we should honor family, of course. But that does not mean you have to endure horrible situations and engage with sexual predators.

That man preys on people he perceives as weak, he leaves emotional scars and is dangerous. Nothing in Islam will tell you that you must be around this type of person and enable them. 

Rather, he may be punished for his behavior was he brought up on a shariah court. Islam would seek justice and protection, not protecting a predator due to taboos.

You asked if Allah (swt) will be mad about your rebellion. Sister, you are not rebelling, you are not in the wrong. And if anything Allah (swt) would be upset with your Father in law and husband.

You may also want to consider the construct of zina el mahram is horribly worse than zina. And this is not a consensual form of zina rather it is abusive. Your Father in law is the one in the wrong here, not you or any of the other women he abused. 

If you would like a strictly juristic response, please consult the Ask a Scholar section of the website. My responses are from an Islamic counseling perspective. You can also consider speaking with a trusted Imam or Sheikh if you feel comfortable. 

Counseling

Sister, you mention a diagnosis of OCD. This tells me that you have seen a psychiatrist at some point to receive a diagnosis. I encourage you to speak with a doctor and/or therapist again, but this time you need to be fully open about all of the abuse you dealt with and what has been happening.

Inshallah they can help you with counseling programs and guide you to what you can do next on your path of healing.

If you would feel more comfortable doing this online, many online therapy programs exist now to make this easier. You can also utilize an Islamic therapist to have an Islamic perspective alongside the psychological perspective. 

Everyone Hush: Why Protect A Predator Due to Taboos? - About Islam

Please consider having your husband join in on some of this counseling, he will also need help to fully accept and understand the ramifications of this Father’s abusive behavior. Counseling is a safe and private space for both of you to do this and inshallah you can do this together as a team. That will strengthen your bond and help you to feel safer with him. 

Your Mother

It is a blessing your Mother is a source of safety and goodness for you. Please be honest and open with your Mother, let her know all this man has done to you and other family members. She only wants what is best for you and will help protect you.

Let her know what you want to do, what your husband’s decision is regarding all of this and ultimately tell her what you need to move forward. Inshallah your family will help you and protect you. 

Final Thoughts

My Dear Sister, here is a summary of your next steps moving forward. 

  • Get away from this Father in law immediately and do not engage with him. Protect your child at all costs, they are the most vulnerable. 
  • Speak honestly with your husband about what you need from him and let him know he must make a choice. 
  • Consider counseling for yourself as well as your husband
  • Seek guidance and help from your Mother
  • Always make duaa and trust in Allah (swt) 

I know you have endured a lot of pain from this man and the ongoing enabling that family is extending to him. Inshallah you can rise above this, protect your child, and seek a happier quality of life. May Allah (swt) heal your emotional wounds, protect your family, and guide your next steps, ameen. 

Salam,

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About Monique Hassan
Monique Hassan graduated with honors in 2012 with her BSc in Psychology and a minor in Biology and is certified in Crisis Prevention and Intervention. She has years of professional as well as personal experience with trauma, relationship struggles, substance abuse, identifying coping skills, conflict resolution, community outreach, and overall mental health concerns. She is a professional writer specialized in Islamic Psychology and Behavioral Health. She is also a revert who took her shahada in 2015, Alhamdulillah. You can contact Sister Monique Hassan via her website "MoniqueHassan.com"