SubhanAllah, watching this scene literally broke my heart.
In my justice studies class last year we watched a clip of a movie which portrayed what we had been studying at the time (intimate partner violence).
The background of the scene was that a brother and a sister of an abusive father had heard their mother being senselessly beaten by the father the night before. The following day the 15-year old son had a court date, and the mother had planned to come, but because of the way she looked, she told her 13-year old daughter to go with him. Neither child saw what the mother looked like.
Later, the daughter came home. Unbeknownst to the mother, the son was taken by the courts out of his parent’s custody. The daughter, for the first time, came into the room and saw her mother. Her mother was badly bruised; her left eye was so blown up and bruised that it had moved below the level of the right eye. She looked really bad. Her daughter, having seen this, ran up to her room. Her mother followed her and tried to comfort her.
She told her daughter, “I wanted to come with you, but you know I could not come looking like this. They would have taken him (the son) away.” And her daughter responded, “They did take him away, ma.” And when her mother was told this, she just started crying, and she said, “How could they just take a child away from their home like that? He should be at home with his family.” And the daughter tried to comfort her mother.
Perhaps the sadness does not penetrate though this summary, but really it was one of the most desperate things I have witnessed.
This middle-aged woman is stuck. She is with a physically and emotionally abusive husband, who is the father of her children. She is not independent, and she is tied by numerous factors to stay in her current situation. She is continually physically beaten, she has to deal with consistent emotional abuse and neglect, and she has parented children who have to deal with the reality of having an abusive father. And really, if anyone has studied this in just minimal depth, you know all of these things are much more complicated and permeating than the words used to generalize the effects of intimate partner abuse.
A woman went out with her friend, told her friend she would give her some extra wood she had in her home, she entered the home, her husband beat her so brutally that her friend lunged on top of the man, lifted her friend bodily out of the room, took her to the hospital, and her friend (the woman who was beaten) had to have her jaw wired shut and had lost all of her teeth because she was beaten so brutally.
But the man was not prosecuted at all. The DA’s office would not prosecute him, even though the woman had her teeth in her hands, had her jaw wired shut, and her friend was a witness to the beating.
In the 1980s, they did not feel this was not an issue tax payers should be supporting. If that had happened on the streets, would have been considered an assault, etc, and would have been prosecution. But this was a domestic case, so authorities did not get involved.
One thing I felt blessed with throughout class is the fact that we have Islam, and the most blessed example of our beloved Prophet, peace be upon him, who treated women with utmost dignity, love, compassion and respect. Alhamdullilah, I am positive these things can be completely cured and controlled if individuals sought sincerely to seek Allah’s pleasure through following the example of the Prophet, peace be upon him.
But knowing this, what do we do practically to help those who are facing abusive situations? Allah knows best how many sisters [and brothers] are also dealing with the reality of physical, emotional, sexual and psychological abuse. How many children are facing the terrorization from their fathers, or even their mothers…
I can’t explain what it felt like to hear the mother say, “How could they just take a child away from his home like that?” while she was weeping and so badly bruised and beaten.
Seriously, what do we do?