Home Quranet Chapter 8 How can we restore hope to an abused child?
How can we restore hope to an abused child?
Chapter 8

وَلاَ تَحْسَبَنَّ اللّهَ غَافِلاً عَمَّا يَعْمَلُ الظَّالِمُونَ إِنَّمَا يُؤَخِّرُهُمْ لِيَوْمٍ تَشْخَصُ فِيهِ الأَبْصَارُ (سورۃ ابراهيم, آية 42)

Think not that Allah doth not heed the deeds of those who do wrong. He but giveth them respite against a Day when the eyes will fixedly stare in horror,- (Surah 14, Verse 42)

Shirin, an eleventh-grader, asked for a meeting with the school counselor on a very personal matter.

Counselor: I'm here to help you. You can ask anything, I will do whatever I can.

Shirin: It's a big problem and I don't know where to start. I've never talked to anyone about it...I don't want anyone to know...

Counselor: I can't promise not to tell anyone because sometimes in order to help I have to confide in the education team on certain matters. But I promise to let you know about every step I take and to consult you first. I'm glad you've decided to come to me.

Shirin: The truth is that I have a big problem at home. I don't know what to say, I'm living in sheer hell and I don't know what to do... (starts crying. The counselor gives her a glass of water and Shirin takes a deep breath and continues). My mother died four years ago. I spent a year alone with my father. It was hard for him to take care of me and run the household and work. A year ago he decided to marry...He met a girl and chose her as his wife and as a mother for me. He brought her home to meet me. She was so nice to me, hugged me...and I felt that there would be love again in the house and I'd have a mother again...but it didn't happen. My happiness was short-lived. It flew out of the window and followed my mother...Several days after the wedding I found out that we had brought a witch into the house. When my father is home, she is very sweet to me. When he is out, all I get are shouting and scolding...she is always angry at me...I do everything I can to maintain a quiet atmosphere at home. I help her, tidy my room, but it seems to irritate her more. I don't want to involve my father because I can see he's happy with her and she treats him well. Several times I've thought about leaving home but I thought about my father and couldn't do that to him. I appealed to her and said that I want good relations with her and for us to be friends. She said that I pester her and don't let her live freely and in peace ...Now I lock myself in my room or go out with my girl friends and I spend days at a time in my grandmother's house so as to give her freedom. But none of it helps and when I come home she shows me how hard and cruel she can be.

The counselor suggested that Shirin talk to her father but the girl insisted that she didn't want to talk to him or other relatives. "There's no solution and nothing will change that woman", she said. "I just want my father at least to be happy and have a quiet life, even at my expense".

The counselor felt that she had no solution to offer Shirin except to try and talk to her father and step-mother. So she told Shirin that she was a big girl and would soon be leaving home for a life of her own. Then she could decide with whom to live and could run her life as she saw fit. "You must be patient", she explained, "until the time comes when you will be happy and live peacefully. As for that woman, the day will come when your father will discover who she is and she will receive her punishment, which she brought on herself". The counselor opened the Quran which was lying on her desk and read out: "Think not that Allah doth not heed the deeds of those who do wrong. He but giveth them respite against a Day when the eyes will fixedly stare in horror".

Explanation: many children whose parents or relatives or friends abuse them have only one hope in their hearts: to grow up fast and get away from the authority of those who are torturing them. Rarely, in extreme cases, does the state decide to remove a child from his parents' care and transfer him or her to another family or a children's home. In most cases, children suffer in silence through a long, harsh childhood and yearn to leave home. What can a teacher or counselor say to someone like Shirin? They cannot alter her destiny and in many cases cannot persuade the parents to change their attitude. It is of course desirable to talk to the abusive person and it is essential to make the effort. It is a pity that the counselor gave in so fast. It would have been preferable for her to summon the father and step-mother for a talk. In cases of physical or sexual abuse it is obligatory to involve the police. But in most cases the impact of a talk on parents will be minor and they will persist in their attitude. Here the Quran comes to our aid and instills hope in the victim, giving him or her the strength to withstand the suffering till they can leave home.