Home Quranet Chapter 3 What should one say to a girl who has been sexually abused by her father?
What should one say to a girl who has been sexually abused by her father?
Chapter 3

حُرِّمَتْ عَلَيْكُمْ أُمَّهَاتُكُمْ وَبَنَاتُكُمْ وَأَخَوَاتُكُمْ وَعَمَّاتُكُمْ وَخَالاَتُكُمْ وَبَنَاتُ الأَخِ وَبَنَاتُ الأُخْتِ وَأُمَّهَاتُكُمُ اللاَّتِي أَرْضَعْنَكُمْ وَأَخَوَاتُكُم مِّنَ الرَّضَاعَةِ وَأُمَّهَاتُ نِسَآئِكُمْ وَرَبَائِبُكُمُ اللاَّتِي فِي حُجُورِكُم مِّن نِّسَآئِكُمُ اللاَّتِي دَخَلْتُم بِهِنَّ فَإِن لَّمْ تَكُونُواْ دَخَلْتُم بِهِنَّ فَلاَ جُنَاحَ عَلَيْكُمْ وَحَلاَئِلُ أَبْنَائِكُمُ الَّذِينَ مِنْ أَصْلاَبِكُمْ وَأَن تَجْمَعُواْ بَيْنَ الأُخْتَيْنِ إَلاَّ مَا قَدْ سَلَفَ إِنَّ اللّهَ كَانَ غَفُورًا رَّحِيمًا (سورۃ النساء, آيۃ 23)

Prohibited for you (in marriage) are your mothers, your daughters, your sisters, the sisters of your fathers, the sisters of your mothers, the daughters of your brother, the daughters of your sister, your nursing mothers, the girls who nursed from the same woman as you, the mothers of your wives, the daughters of your wives with whom you have consummated the marriage - if the marriage has not been consummated, you may marry the daughter. Also prohibited for you are the women who were married to your genetic sons. Also, you shall not be married to two sisters at the same time - but do not break up existing marriages. GOD is Forgiver, Most Merciful. (Sura Women, Verse 23)

Ruba is a ninth-grade student, full of the joys of life, a good student and liked both by her classmates and her teachers. At the end of the winter vacation, Ruba returned to class and it was obvious everyone that her appearance and her behavior had changed significantly. She had become very thin, hardly spoke, didn't participate in lessons or in school activities. The students and the teachers tried to find out what had happened to her. The homeroom teacher invited her for a individual discussion, but Ruba just looked at the floor and didn't say a word, and it was clear that beneath the silence Ruba was concealing some kind of severe pain. The teacher invited the parents. Only the mother arrived. She said that the change in Ruba's behavior was also noticeable at home. She isolates herself in her room, locks the door and refuses to come out and eat. Therefore the mother brings her food to her room. When the mother goes out, Ruba clings to her and wants to go with her. The mother also wanted to have her examined by a doctor because she had lost so much weight, but Ruba refused to be examined. Now, the mother tells the teacher, she is afraid that she is going to lose her daughter. The teacher suggested that the school counselor should become involved.

The counselor met several times with Ruba. As the trust between them grew, Ruba told the counselor that her father had abused her sexually. He threatened her that if she told anyone about it, he would kill her. Since then she feels contaminated and worthless, and has no desire to do anything except lie on her bed and cry. When the counselor heard this, the first thing she did was to open the Quran at Sura 'Women', Verse 23, which she read to Ruba: "Prohibited for you (in marriage) are your mothers, your daughters, your sisters..." Do you understand what this is saying? she asked Ruba. It is saying that you are not to blame for anything, and therefore you don't need to blame yourself and be depressed. Your father is the grown-up and the person responsible, and it is his job to protect you. He betrayed the trust, and instead of protecting you, he exploited you. All the responsibility is on him and not on you. This was the first time that Ruba smiled.

Explanation: Incest is a phenomenon that exists in all societies, and in all societies it is forbidden, both according to the religion and the laws of the country. The Quran particularly emphasizes this. When a girl is sexually abused she usually becomes depressed and tends to blame herself for what happened. She is liable to think to herself: Maybe I tempted my father or my brother or a relative? The truth is that a daughter cannot tempt her father. His role is to protect her and take care of her and to remember that she is his daughter. Therefore, the first thing that therapists usually tell a girl who has been sexually abused is that she is not to blame and is not responsible for what happened. It is her father who is responsible. The counselor did the right thing to use the Quran to reinforce the statement that Ruba is not responsible. In this, as in other cases, the therapeutic value of a single verse from the Quran is worth many words.