22 Apr PT 3. RESPECT SERIES- RAISING EMPOWERED MUSLIM WOMEN THROUGH RESPECTFUL MOTHER-DAUGHTER BONDS
PART THREE: THE SEEDS OF BULLYING AND ABUSE- A HOME WITHOUT RESPECT
What message are we giving our daughters? Is it a message that we would want to be brought forth before Allah swt? Is it a message that we want them to share with humanity? These sound like big questions but such a significant responsibility of motherhood deserves the asking of such big questions.
Some might say, I teach my daughters about beautiful character and manners through stories of the Prophets, through teaching them about the seerah, sending them to Islamic school, etc. But is that enough?
If it was enough wouldn’t our community be void of cases of abuse and bullying? Our community, like wider humanity is definitely not void of these issues. And it is not to say that this is the primary fault of mothers, it truly isn’t. But it is in the efforts of mothers that changes can be initiated in dealing with these issues in the community. And these changes are not going to happen through theory that is read and taught, but rather through the application and modelling of the teachings of Islam that we inevitably want instilled in our daughters.
An article published by the Kids Helpline stated that the absence of respect in relationships can have serious effects on the youth.
Some of these are:
- Depression or anxiety
- Low confidence and self esteem
- Change in eating habits ( over/under eating, eating disorders)
- Lack of trust in family and friends
- Abuse of drugs and alcohol
These are issues in our Muslim community, even among young women in the community, just as they are issues in wider Australian society. You just have to sit and talk with members of our community who deal with issues of the youth to understand how much of a problem these issues are truly are. A home without respect, respect modeled towards our daughters, plants the seeds of bullying and abuse. Either in the form of raising bullies or victims.
Malcolm X stated,
“The mother is the first teacher. The message she gives her child, that child gives to the world”.
If our daughters really are learning more from our action then from our speech, then what is the message we are giving them as mothers? Are we teaching them that it is okay to yell and hit when we are angry and displeased? Are we teaching them that it is okay to insult someone when they make a mistake? Are we teaching them that it is okay to stay in an abusive relationship? Or are we teaching them to control our temper when we are angry, to be patient, to ask for forgiveness when even as mothers we may act unreasonably? Are we teaching them the character of a Muslim who is pleasing to Allah swt? Are we content with the message that we are giving them to share with the world?
These are questions we need to ask ourselves as mothers, before the seeds have been planted.
If you are in a harmful or toxic relationship, or have a daughter suffering from the issues mentioned above, please seek help. You can contact us through www.herproject.org.au and we will put you in touch of support services especially for Muslim women, insha Allah.