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Cousin told me she was sexually abused by her brother as a child.

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  • Cousin told me she was sexually abused by her brother as a child.

    My cousin, based abroad, now 17, revealed to me she's a victim of child sexual abuse by her brother (now atheist) - who currently live under the same roof.


    This is the root cause of her odd behaviour over the years such as self-harming at 13, avoiding people etc


    In parallel she's always been bullied at school, especially after wearing Hijab at 16 - her parents think bullying is the cause of her issues.


    As she's aged, her symptoms are only getting worse such as:
    • eating disorder
    • low self esteem
    • high anxiety
    • Victim complex
    • Poor focus
    • Self-sabotage

    A year ago she asked me for my thoughts on telling her parents, and she's afraid of revealing this to her parents in case they dismiss it as no big deal, or shun her. She also told me she struggles to sleep, and contemplates suicide.

    It's clear from our communication, from her erratic behaviour, right down to the words she uses that she is getting worse, and it's at this current date when I talk with her it seems like I'm talking with a different person, and she doesn't seem mentally aware of her destructive behaviours anymore. In addition, I hear she has problems with panic attacks when going outside.

    I'm afraid if she doesn't seek treatment/therapy she'll commit suicide...

    However..to seek treatment her parents need to know.

    Can I tell her father that his daughter was sexually abused - without getting sin on my end?

    I could tell her father directly that she's be abused, or be indirect with him, telling him of my interactions, and let him to his own conclusion. Her parents like me, and see me as a marriage prospect.





















  • #2
    neelu
    وَاقْصِدْ فِي مَشْيِكَ وَاغْضُضْ مِن صَوْتِكَ ۚ إِنَّ أَنكَرَ الْأَصْوَاتِ لَصَوْتُ الْحَمِيرِ - 31:19

    And be moderate in your pace and lower your voice; indeed, the most disagreeable of sounds is the voice of donkeys."


    أَلَمْ تَرَوْا أَنَّ اللَّهَ سَخَّرَ لَكُم مَّا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَأَسْبَغَ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعَمَهُ ظَاهِرَةً وَبَاطِنَةً ۗ وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَن يُجَادِلُ فِي اللَّهِ بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ وَلَا هُدًى وَلَا كِتَابٍ مُّنِيرٍ - 31:20

    Do you not see that Allah has made subject to you whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth and amply bestowed upon you His favors, [both] apparent and unapparent? But of the people is he who disputes about Allah without knowledge or guidance or an enlightening Book [from Him].


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    • #3
      Oh God that's awful. I don't know what to suggest because I don't know what her parents are like. One of my school friends was abused by a mahram uncle, so I told her older brother but he came across as dismissive about it. Her older sister then had a word with me saying she confronted the abuser and they keep him away from her and as far as they were concerned, that's resolved the situation because reporting the abuse would mean publicising it and bringing the family into disrepute so they were more interested in keeping things under wraps. The abuser now has a daughter and last I heard he was appointed as treasurer of a house of worship. Even in "good" families, maintaining the family reputation is prioritised more than the welfare of their own children. In some families, they might consider the situation as resolved if her brother apologises to her and then would tell her "As a Muslim it's good to forgive and he accepts his mistake" when in fact this is just another ruse for enabling the abuser to carry on without consequences. Ask yourself if her parents have that kind of outlook and if that is the case, then I'm not sure if telling them the truth would achieve much. In fact it wouldn't surprise me if another member of the family already knows what's going on. It wouldn't even surprise me if another member of the family is being abused as well.

      My concern is that if you tell her father- would she see that as a betrayal of trust? I think you should encourage her to attend counselling with somewhere like Solace (ie where Muslim community issues are understood and discussed in confidence) because this isn't just one issue of whether to expose her brother- there are other complicating factors such as her fragile mental health and not knowing how her family will react. I think she needs to build a certain amount of self esteem and courage in the first place in order to tell her parents herself because if she doesn't have that, then she wont have the strength to withstand whatever happens in the aftermath of telling her parents (whether that means an aftermath of her parents supporting her and insisting on reporting to police or whether that means an aftermath of denial- in either case this will be a difficult emotional upheaval).

      One thing's for sure is that things cannot remain as they are cos her condition keeps deteriorating so at least telling her parents would change that but it doesn't necessarily mean she could handle that change. So in short, I think her parents should know, but you should not be the one to tell them. Instead you should encourage the sister to tell them and you should be willing to invest the time and energy towards supporting her through the fallout if there are negative consequences to this. I also think she should attend a good reliable place for counselling (by Muslims who'd understand some of the cultural difficulties involved) to help manage her other mental health difficulties and help build her self esteem and courage enough to be able to face her parents, tell them the truth and withstand whatever consequences emerge from that. Don't talk to an imam- most are underqualified in such matters. There's a part of me that even thinks that if she has reason to believe her parents wont be supportive, then she should consider speaking to a confidential victim support group for advice about how to contact the police directly.

      Sorry I am writing all this under the assumption that her parents wont be supportive (or may try to stop her from doing anything about this) but it's because although I really hope for her sake that I am wrong, that they are supportive, that they help her get through this, but at the same time there needs to be some mental preparation for the possibility that there will be some negative backlash to this either from her parents or community or her brother's friends who refuse to believe her or whoever else and it would be irresponsible to talk about this without any contingency plan for how to persevere through the difficult aspects of this. Having said that, I do think the positives of getting the truth out should outweigh any negatives, especially considering the fact that the way the situation is now is untenable.
      The Lyme Disease pandemic: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5u73ME4sVU

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      • #4
        Originally posted by neelu View Post
        Oh God that's awful. I don't know what to suggest because I don't know what her parents are like. One of my school friends was abused by a mahram uncle, so I told her older brother but he came across as dismissive about it. Her older sister then had a word with me saying she confronted the abuser and they keep him away from her and as far as they were concerned, that's resolved the situation because reporting the abuse would mean publicising it and bringing the family into disrepute so they were more interested in keeping things under wraps. The abuser now has a daughter and last I heard he was appointed as treasurer of a house of worship. Even in "good" families, maintaining the family reputation is prioritised more than the welfare of their own children. In some families, they might consider the situation as resolved if her brother apologises to her and then would tell her "As a Muslim it's good to forgive and he accepts his mistake" when in fact this is just another ruse for enabling the abuser to carry on without consequences. Ask yourself if her parents have that kind of outlook and if that is the case, then I'm not sure if telling them the truth would achieve much. In fact it wouldn't surprise me if another member of the family already knows what's going on. It wouldn't even surprise me if another member of the family is being abused as well.

        My concern is that if you tell her father- would she see that as a betrayal of trust? I think you should encourage her to attend counselling with somewhere like Solace (ie where Muslim community issues are understood and discussed in confidence) because this isn't just one issue of whether to expose her brother- there are other complicating factors such as her fragile mental health and not knowing how her family will react. I think she needs to build a certain amount of self esteem and courage in the first place in order to tell her parents herself because if she doesn't have that, then she wont have the strength to withstand whatever happens in the aftermath of telling her parents (whether that means an aftermath of her parents supporting her and insisting on reporting to police or whether that means an aftermath of denial- in either case this will be a difficult emotional upheaval).

        One thing's for sure is that things cannot remain as they are cos her condition keeps deteriorating so at least telling her parents would change that but it doesn't necessarily mean she could handle that change. So in short, I think her parents should know, but you should not be the one to tell them. Instead you should encourage the sister to tell them and you should be willing to invest the time and energy towards supporting her through the fallout if there are negative consequences to this. I also think she should attend a good reliable place for counselling (by Muslims who'd understand some of the cultural difficulties involved) to help manage her other mental health difficulties and help build her self esteem and courage enough to be able to face her parents, tell them the truth and withstand whatever consequences emerge from that. Don't talk to an imam- most are underqualified in such matters. There's a part of me that even thinks that if she has reason to believe her parents wont be supportive, then she should consider speaking to a confidential victim support group for advice about how to contact the police directly.

        Sorry I am writing all this under the assumption that her parents wont be supportive (or may try to stop her from doing anything about this) but it's because although I really hope for her sake that I am wrong, that they are supportive, that they help her get through this, but at the same time there needs to be some mental preparation for the possibility that there will be some negative backlash to this either from her parents or community or her brother's friends who refuse to believe her or whoever else and it would be irresponsible to talk about this without any contingency plan for how to persevere through the difficult aspects of this. Having said that, I do think the positives of getting the truth out should outweigh any negatives, especially considering the fact that the way the situation is now is untenable.
        I appreciate these insights. A few years ago I asked her mother why her daughter was suddenly into "Rock Music" aka the same time she was self harming, and her mother said the "Rock Music" phase was just a normal phase.

        I think I'm not going to tell her father, but I'll still talk to him about my concern,and prompt him to critically re-evaluate based on a list of symptoms. Then I'll stress that she'll need counselling and long term therapy....and let him connect dots..and ultimately the choice for actual disclosure would be in her control...



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