Everything we grow up with is normal to us, no matter if it really is or isn’t a good way to live. If we are brought up with abuse in our family or even system, we don’t see it as such. We have no words to describe and communicate the suffering and discomfort we experience, as they are not recognised as such, in an environment where they are the norm and you must simply deal with it all.
For this webinar, we have invited Ruby Usman, who is the founder of The Unshaming Project. Ruby was born in the slums of Karachi, Pakistan. She has experienced sexual abuse at the hands of many men as a child; some of them strangers and others, close family members. She grew up as a Muslim woman and witnessed violence and shaming of women recognising it as an integral part of society and culture. She now writes and speaks against these traditions that cause women to grow up with shame, disrespect and violence.
Ruby will help us explore these deep and difficult topics, as we will discuss how the interaction of culture, religion and systems expose women to despicable amounts of passive and active abuse in all possible forms, from social norms to cultural practices and beliefs that impact their rights, behaviours and self-perception.
We explore Islam and how the religious beliefs and social norms affect women in Muslim societies. What is a woman’s standing in society, what is her purpose, her right, her responsibility and what happens when women follow the rules without challenging them? How do women learn about sex and what are their sexual rights in a culture where sex is beyond taboo, it’s more like a poltergeist noone acknowledges, but is affected by.
What makes this discussion important and valuable?
Ruby: Some say that ignorance is bliss but in this case, I would say that ignorance for women is keeping them enslaved. For so long, we have accepted abuse as part of “religion” because that’s what Allah/God would have wanted. And we would get our reward in the afterlife.
I hope that by engaging in this debate, you (the listener) are able to challenge this status quo.
Maybe you can’t change things for yourself but you can certainly influence the future generations by opening their minds and giving them to ability to questions. It is the question that drives us and brings us to new ways of being.
What would people learn from watching the webinar?
Have the awareness about how subtle and deep the abuse of women goes. Once you are aware, your brain will automatically start ways of fighting this or resisting this. And this is the start of the change. More women start challenging the status quo, it is likely that things change And things are changing… we just need for us to create this momentum.