Battered but not beaten
BY AMAN ALI - 30 MOSQUES IN 30 STATES, OCTOBER 12, 2011
Note: To ensure the safety and privacy of these women, they put on face veils and used different names in this interview to not reveal details about their identity.
Saima came to the U.S. from Pakistan for marriage. For lack of a better phrase, she went through four years of hell.
“I was in a different country and didn’t know the language,” she said in Urdu to me. “I had no family members here to help me. He forced me to stay in a basement, I was beaten, I was tortured and I was abused. I had no way communicating with my family for help.”
Just forming the words to talk about the abuse she went through is tough for her. She repeatedly pauses and looks the other way recollecting the details of the marriage she is seeking shelter from.
She’s one of many women here at Muslimat Al-Nisaa, a domestic violence shelter for Muslim women located in the heart of Baltimore. It might be the only shelter for battered Muslim women in this country. These women’s stories are a painful reminder of why the Muslim community can no longer sweep the issue of domestic violence under the rug.