Children and Domestic Violence: Part 1 – Behind the Closed Doors

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Maria Karim

Maria Karim is an artist by degree and a teacher by profession. She taught art and design to teenagers for almost eight years before embarking upon her journey on the path of Allah. She has been studying the Deen for almost six years now and aspires to remain a student of knowledge for as long as she lives. She has been involved in various Dawah activities for quite some time now. She is the Managing Editor at Muslimaat Magazine, a digital magazine for Muslim women. Besides her personal blog, called My Journal, she regularly writes for the section Almost Adults on Gems of Islam. Her articles have been published in Aailaa Magazine, Muslim Matters and Suhaib Webb.

violenceA sudden, dreadful crying and screaming woke Zainab up. She laid on her bed, burying her face into the pillow, trying hard to block out the growing noise coming from the other room.

It had hardly been two hours since she had cried herself to sleep. Her tender heart started pounding against her chest at the thought of what would follow this pattern. It was the norm; after her father would come home, her mother would scream at him, he would yell back and then it would get worse until she, being the eldest child, would intervene, crying and begging her parents to stop the awful fight, the reason for which those little children could never understand.

Zainab had secretly prayed to Allah (swt) many times to take her back to Him. She somehow felt responsible for what was happening between her parents. Often she felt that even Allah (swt) was not happy with her, for her Duas were not being accepted. The only thing she ever wanted was to see her parents happy together. Whenever they were happy, she would hope the time would freeze, so she could preserve every bit of it. But unfortunately, the happy moments would not last for very long; a simple disagreement would turn into a heated argument leading towards a terrible dispute.

What really wounded her heart was when either of her parents held grudges against each other and complained to others about each other. Or when other people would gossip about her parents, while disregarding her presence, as she was a mere child, supposedly devoid of feelings or a sense of understanding. This infuriated her and she started to accumulate hatred and resentment within herself.

Her fear and anxiety grew, as she could overhear the increasingly enraged arguments coming from the other room. “Stop! Please, stop!” Zainab screamed in her mind, tightly clamping her hands around her throbbing head, which felt like it would burst. Despite being huddled up in a warm and soft quilt, she could feel her feet getting cold. Tears of anger, rage and distress were rolling down from the sides of her eyes, fading away in the darkness, while she lay there in the emptiness of her room hoping that the yelling from outside too would soon fade away.

Does this sound familiar? Have you, as a child, felt the way Zainab was feeling? Or even worse, could your children be going through what Zainab was experiencing? Catastrophically, the innocent victim of such a battle is always a child, who has no role to play in a conflict between adults, except to helplessly watch and get destroyed.

Whatever excuses parents might have to justify their perpetual conflicts, ill temper or regular tantrums, whether towards each other or directed towards their children as a result of being frustrated in a mutual relationship, such situations are completely unacceptable and unjustifiable.

Since they, as adults, have been given the responsibility of raising a human being, they are liable for and therefore must be mindful of not only the physical upbringing of their child but also the psychological development, including the spiritual growth and emotional enrichment of this little individual.

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