Islamic marriage advice and family advice

Is my family abusive?

beating abuse physical children


Ever since I was young, I have seen my parents and my brothers being very violent. My parents'. violence seemed acceptable as they are my parents ofcourse and they do love me and my siblings a lot and it is visible in all the selfless things they have done, i am grateful. However, my parents' violence seemed okay to my brothers and it soon became a habit of theirs too,  to use their "manly" strength on my sister and I.

We live in Canada and belong from Asia hence the mentality of my brothers and parents lies backhome whereas my sister and I are becoming more open to the developing world rather than staying behind. There have been countless numbers of times where my sister, my mom and I have all been targets of violence from the hands of my brothers and sometimes my dad but my dad is not as violent. I personally am not very religious: it may sound very bad but all of the violence I have seen in my household since childhood has always been backed up by religion, all the problems (snall or big) that caused massive unnecessary arguments always somehow use Islam to prove their side right. I know Islam doesn't allow violence,  I know some things that my mom,  dad and brothers have beaten us girls for aren't BIG  problems, (i.e our fashion sense which is  modest to an extent always seems to upset my family somehow). My brothers have such a bad temper that my sister and I had to hide some of the potential "weapons" (baseball bats etc) under our beds or in the wardrobe incase an argument breaks out and things get out of hand. One of my brothers had previously hit my legs with a baseball bat in front of our seven year old cousin who was visiting.

I wouldn't go in huge details but there have been a number of violent attacks on my sister and I. I am happy for my mother to slap me across my face, but I wouldn't let my brothers touch me or hurt me, but they do. Each time this happens, they say they love me and my sister thats why they get angry, they apologise and things go back to normal only for this to repeat again in a space of few months. It is a constant cycle and my parents are becoming aware of their disgusting violent behaviour But they tell my sister and I to avoid saying things that may upset them instead of properly teaching them to never hit us.

They have grown up in societies and eras that have made violence okay and I understand that they may never see it the way we do. But us girls, have been blamed each and every time WE are hit, beaten and attacked by men twice our size (we are both petite). We have been namecalled, insulted, humiliated and embarrassed and no one sees the problem in this at my house. Last week, an argument broke out again and it was very bad, so bad that one of my brothers began provoking MY DAD (who is mostly very calm when trying to solve arguments) to an extent where they were both inches away from eachother and with my mom in the middle of them. My dad pushed my mom aside, which provoked one of my brothers (the one who was inches away from my dad) to attack my dad aggressively and he even called him disgusting names. My brothers have no respect whatsoever for women, for their parents or for anyone for that matter. There is nothing I can do because the night my one of my brothers had the audacity to fight my dad, I was having a panic attack om the floor which pissed my dad off, he was yanking me by my hair and kicked my shoulder as he was annoyed by my heavy breathing. My dad realised he was wrong and took me upstairs to his room and laid down with me to calm me down and said one day my sisters and I will be the reason for his death. All because we did something remotely small to upset two brothers. My dad and mom aren't bad people. They love us all, they work so hard and have contracted countless health problems and still strive every day to provide for us.

I have a lot of friends at school but i am battling self esteem issues, i feel lesser than my friends and anything my friends do is better than anything I do and this is not who i used to be. I used to be confident, I used to think I am beautiful and strong and independent. None of it seems true anymore. My sister and I are becoming suicidal and we are not confident with our bodies, we are not happy with ourselves, we are constantly on the radar and we have nothing to look forward to in life. My dad thinks all the violence that me and my sister have been through was because of US and not the fact that they failed to raise good, respectful kids. They tell us we deserved it and asked for it, even when they are disrespected by my obnoxious brothers,  we are blamed for it because my brothers taunt them and blame them for our "bad upbringing" whereas I believe my sister and I have done small bad things but all of them were HARMLESS. None of it was haram or sinful but yet we are blamed and told that we will be the cause of deaths of our parents, not our brothers who have forgotten that their parents are their parents.

I am only writing this in the forum because I know a lot of Muslim girls can relate to this. I don't feel close to Allah and Islam anymore because of all the violence that has been justified in the name of Islam. I know Islam is perfect, muslims aren't, but as a young person I am able to differentiate between normal behaviour and telling off and violence and bad parenting. My parents don't have bad intentions, they want the best for all of us but they don't see the bad in their sons, only in their daughters. I feel wrong to call my parents abusive, i have never been left with any significant bruising or scarring physically but all of this has had a much bigger impact on me mentally than physically despite all the physical violence my sister and I have been through.

My question is, is my family abusive? my parents love me and as a family of 6 we have all had wonderful times together; my parents have always loved us selflessly and never said no to anything that we've asked for, but we have flaws, we are imperfect and part of me knows they are handling things in a very non-parent-like way but I don't feel right in blaming my parents and pinpoiting the word abusers with them. However, I am certain that their violence has created monsters (my brothers) and they cannot be stopped. Please guide me. I am very upset by how my brothers treat me and my sisters and my parents. Is there anything that I can do? Please help me.



Tagged as: , , , , , , , , , ,

3 Responses »

  1. Assalaamu Alaykum sister,

    I think you have brought attention to an important aspect that many who have endured violent/abusive relationships are working through: Is there a difference between violence and abuse?

    The truth is, violence is wrong. Once or numerous times, it is still damaging. Violence doesn't need to be upgraded to 'abuse' to be responded to.

    I think the best thing you can do is start where you already are. You know you have a violent family. Now start asking the questions: What does this mean to you, your identity as a woman, a muslim, an individual? What do you want to do for yourself, knowing that your family is violent, and that they will always be your family? What do you feel comfortable with, as far as they are concerned? What are you willing to do to create a life for yourself that eases your confusion and discomfort?

    In the end, whether you labeled them as "abusive" or not, shouldn't change anything. You already know that violence is wrong. You already know that you don't want to be a victim or perpetrator of it. That is a life you can create, and that is where your focus need to be: in creating the peaceful life you deserve.

    -Amy Editor

  2. I'm sorry to hear about what your going through ukhti. I ask Allah (Swt) to keep you safe and protect you. Is it possible for your brothers to move out and live in a place on their own?

  3. This is definitely abuse. I don't know how old you are but in some place you can be emancipated before you are legally an adult. I don't know how much child protective services can help you but I would contact them as well if you don't think they would worsen your situation. There are hotlines for abused children and teens as well as adults. You are obviously a very intelligent person, and I know personally how being abused can skew your self-concept and make you doubt whether it is actually abuse. Please talk to someone you trust about your situation. It should not be blamed on you for any reason.

Leave a Response