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What You Should Do If Sexually Harassed

Muslim Women's Guide on How to Deal with Sexual Harassment

Sexual Harassment in Sacred Locations

As if sexual harassment is not bad enough, what about when it is done in places we consider sacred and hallowed?

When these shameful actions are committed in places like an interfaith community center, in the pews of a Church by a priest or on Hajj, we are witnessing not only blatant disrespect for where they are, but a twisted and sick perversion.

These are sacred places that should increase our remembrance of Allah (glorified and exalted) and humble us. We expect people to be on their best behavior yet the reality is even when performing tawaaf some sisters are groped!

Sexual harassment is a denounced and unethical behavior that can happen anywhere and anytime. Perpetrators that have no issue going against divine law and basic human decency will not be stopped by the sacredness of a specific location.

Overcoming the Pain

You may find your trust in others is damaged or you feel more defensive around men, even those in your family. Nightmares as well as flashbacks may also occur, but none of this is permanent. It is not what happens to us that matters that most, it is how we react to it.

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Recovery is a step by step process that takes consistency and time. Social support should be utilized as you work through these processes.

Positive coping skills can help you handle the negative emotions that arise and become more self-aware of your emotional triggers. It is important to recognize and avoid negative coping skills such as isolating yourself from others or lashing out angrily towards men.

Some positive coping skills to consider are breathing exercises, walks in nature, spending extra time in prayer and working to cognitively reframe the incident by using self-talk.

All of these can help you alter your perspective and emotional reaction to the memory. A trained Muslim therapist, psychologist or coach can aid you in doing this.

Final Thoughts

Sexual harassment within the ummah is a sickness that needs to be openly discussed and addressed by not only religious leaders, but by the community.

It is through this honest dialogue that we can increase education about such issues, take preventative action and promote safe places where brothers and sisters can make their voice heard.

This article is from our archive, originally published on an earlier date and highlighted here for its importance.

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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 ""