WARNING: This article contains graphic sexual content. Please be advised of its sensitive nature. Incest occurs in all types of families, faiths, and race. No one category is immune to it. If you or someone you know has been subjected to incest or any type of molestation, please seek help. We here at Muslim Girl pray for all the survivors.
To my father’s brother,
I have hated you since I was eight years old. I was a happy child — always smiling and laughing…until that day. You made me fearful of any man I come in contact with because of what you did to me. You made me a victim of incest.
I remember it as if it were happening right now…
I’m eight years old and I made some hot cocoa before we left to meet my parents. I accidentally spilled some on my shirt. I run upstairs to change my shirt and you follow me. (Why’d you have to follow me?)
You pull down your pants and lick your hand. Why are you touching yourself down there? Why is this happening?
When you take my hand, I’m feeling weird. I know it’s not right, but I don’t know what to do — so I allow you to put my hand on it. I allow you… I’m only eight, you son of a bitch!
You then threw me on top of you. I just kept talking. Trying to come up with jokes in hope of you stopping. I have always loved telling jokes and making people laugh because I hurt so much inside.
I remember the shirt I slipped on that day. It was my mother’s shirt. It said “Children’s Hospital.” That’s where she worked, and I would tell you stories of going to visit her at work, but you didn’t stop. You went faster and harder.
I remember when I told my parents. I remember when the police came to our house. I remember going to the hospital and I most certainly remember being touched all over again on my private parts. I remember foreign objects being put inside me and yet again another man touching me. I laid there, numb.
We had a dinner shortly after and the entire family came over. No one mentioned it. I remember watching you walking through the door I hit the floor and crawled underneath the dinner table. I can still feel the carpet pinched between my fingers.
Did anyone see me? Did you see me? Did you see my pale white face? Could anyone hear me screaming? Why were you in our house again? I didn’t understand. Did no one believe me? Or was this another case of silencing a girl in our family?
Such pride my father’s family had. Everything was a secret. Hush, hush they would love to say.
I’m 17 years old now, baba says its time to go get married. As we travel to Palestine, I can only scream inside. Fear and anxiety take over every thought of my new husband touching me on our wedding night. That night, it was time. Time to become a woman, everyone said.
I sat down next to my husband and he placed his hand on my shoulder. I pushed back. I began to have flashbacks of that day you molested me. I began replaying every single second. Walking in our blue house. The house of horror, I use to call it. I couldn’t. I couldn’t let this man touch me.
At 3 am, I called my aunt to come down and hold me while I cried in her arms. I begged her, “Please Amto, tell my husband why I am afraid to sleep with him. Please.”
She began crying and told me she couldn’t. We weren’t allowed to tell him what my uncle did to me as a child. I thought maybe if we told him, he would be gentle and listen to me.
Instead, I was told to take sleeping pills, so that when my husband would want to “sleep” with me, I wouldn’t feel a thing. I woke up once while he was on top of me…I asked him to get off, he held me down and put his hands over my mouth…just like you did.
I panicked and started screaming and crying. I thought it was you all over again. My husband thought I was crazy. Don’t worry, I told him what you did to me many many years later. He knows your secret. I’m sure that’s why he keeps his children and his new wife away from you.
I often think about your daughters. I see it in their eyes and their behavior. Have you done it to them too? Seeing you and being around you became the norm. Everyone forgot about what you did to me and I tried to be a better person and forget about it.
I often stop by to see my cousins, like the night we were all sitting outside and I turned around and looked inside and saw your young daughter touching herself. She caught me looking and ran outside and asked me why I was looking at her.
I questioned her and asked her who taught her that. Her face turned bright red and she looked the other way. I thought ya Allah, please tell me you didn’t.
When you stare at me or call my name, I cringe. My skin crawls and I become numb. I wish you would have never touched me, but then if not me, who? My sister? I’m thankful it was me and not my sister.
I always thought, what if my parents didn’t send you to pick me up after school that day? Maybe, if things were different that day I wouldn’t be so angry, depressed, suicidal, and defensive. The only man I will ever love and trust is my Baba. You took every ounce of love I would have given another man, away from me.
I’m 31 years old now. Twice divorced. Still after the second marriage and divorce, I couldn’t trust a man. Often, when I drove to a large Midwest city, I would drive past that old blue house.
I would look to the window upstairs. It was a small window, but something big happened inside that window. The last time I went to a large Midwest city, I drove past that old blue house — this time it was gone. The house was torn down. I parked my car across the street and began to sob. The house of horror was finally gone.
That’s when I realized my fear was gone. I lost faith in my religion and myself when you hurt me, but I’m back now. It has taken me many years to come back to the real meaning of Islam.
Though you did hurt me and my father’s family hurt me by turning the other way, I have found my way now. I’m not sure what hurts me the most, the fact that you molested me or the fact that I see you living a normal life everyday without struggling.
People still come to your home, still have “respect” for you and still speak to you. For me, my anxiety burns through my chest every morning as if a bullet was coming out before I wake up. I do not live a normal life without struggling because of you.
Alhamdulillah, for the amazing people Allah has put into my life.
No need to worry, your secret remained just that — a secret for more than 20 years.
But today I have decided to finally take control of my life. I will speak on behalf of the Muslim women who were told to remain silent because things like this were shameful to a family. I will take my anger and my fear and I will become successful and stronger.
You may have stolen my innocence, my trust in others, and my pride, but today I forgive you. Please know this, I will never forget.
I will however forgive you, not because I want to, but because Islam teaches us to forgive. You controlled my past, but I control my future.
“You refuse to forgive people, and yet on the day of judgment, you will stand bare, begging Allah to forgive you.”