Domestic Violence Workshops for Muslim Female Survivors

A specific workshop for domestic violence and abuse Muslim female survivors was held by Rahmanara Chowdhury in early 2021. The workshop aimed to support survivors in understanding their experiences from a psychological, emotional, and spiritual perspective and furthermore empower survivors in moving forward in their lives, within each of these domains.  The unique approach of embedding theological perspectives with psychological insight, facilitated a deeper understanding of individual identities as experienced by those in attendance. With faith forming an integral part of identity for those who follow a faith tradition, and with mis-use of faith often intertwined with the domestic violence and abuse, Rahmanara has found addressing this element to be critical. Without it, survivors often reported not being able to fully understand their experiences and therefore hindering their recovery process. It also resulted in being unable to ask sensitive questions for fear of negative reprisals and victim blaming attitudes. Yet having answers to faith-related questions allowed survivors to gradually stop blaming themselves, take back control of their faith identity, and set themselves a vision for the future.

The workshop touched upon topics from Rahmanara’s second book entitled ‘Road to Recovery, Healing from Domestic Violence and Abuse’, Ta-Ha Publishers. The book was written as a companion to a faith-informed recovery programme developed and delivered by Rahmanara during her previous practitioner work. The book was written at the request of the attendees.

The workshop was held online over a two-hour period, with 15 survivors attending. Participants provided the following feedback:

“This session has to be the best 2 hours I’ve spent in years on something that was truly so deep and helpful. I’m glad I was on the session, a few tears but so much support at the same time. Comping mechanisms everything. It’s strange I never knew until separating that what domestic abuse was. I thought it was only to do with violence. I never looked into it. I thought this was normal in marriage what I was out through all these years and now recognising it is really painful. Even though violence isn’t normal but we put up with the slap here or there thinking it’s part of marriage. Say sorry and make up. I feel so stupid now all those years of it where was my mind. A big eye opener after separating and taking the right advice and help In Sha Allah will come out stronger and be where we want to be in the future. I know I shouldn’t put a timescale to it but. I want to be stronger than ever in a years time in Sha Allah and be where I use to be before the marriage. Where I didn’t really care what anyone thought it was what was best and right for me without hurting anyone. Now it would be for me and my kids.”

“Jazakallah (may God reward you) for arranging such an enlightening and empowering session. It was refreshing to have a psychologist to cover and explain the deep aspects of trauma from a psychological point of view, but also bringing in Islam too. Was so helpful and it has given me clear strategies and tools to use to move forwards with.”

“A very detailed and insightful session with Sister Rahmanara. Beautifully explained and loved how she added on the Islamic perspective in it too.”

“Sister Rahmanara provided a comprehensive, succinct and eye-opening session. I appreciated the blend of research, theory and practical advice within an Islamic framework. Rahmanara was very sensitive to the topic of trauma and DA and I enjoyed the activities. It was a lot of food for thought and am appreciative this session was able to be taken online in order to benefit from it.”