Many Muslim communities are rooted in cultures that consider speaking about sex and sexuality taboo. Consequently, victims of sexual assault, who are often children, stay silent about their abuse. The shame and hush-hush mentality associated with this topic is one that must be changed. Victims should not fear ruining their family’s name by coming out about their abuse, nor should they feel so embarrassed to tell their parents that they keep this hidden their entire lives. The attitudes of disbelief, denial, and ignorance must be transformed into attitudes that help survivor's cope and know that they are not at fault. As a community, we must battle the current environment, which perpetuates impunity for the assailant who lives without blame, knowing no one will speak out. The first step towards this change is opening up and speaking about this issue with community members, educating parents and elders about how to look for signs, how to cope, how to help, and what Islam teaches regarding these issues, and educating women and men to recognize if they or a loved one has been affected by sexual assault or abuse. Breaking Silence features several strong figures who are sharing with the world their own experiences in hopes of helping others that might be going through the same ordeal. By sharing their stories, they are helping to start the conversation in Muslim communities and other religious communities alike.
Sexual assault and abuse affect people of every gender, age, sexuality, culture, race and religion. The majority of sexual assault and rape cases go unreported, resulting in predators and rapists never being charged or shamed.
In the US, almost half of all reported rape and sexual assault victims are children.
More than 60% of the time, sexual assault is committed by a friend, family member, or acquaintance.