Four Dutch-Moroccan women, Rabea, Zohra, Ibtisam and Saïda, were all sexually abused by members of their families: their fathers, uncles, brothers or cousins.
After years of silence, they have decided to speak out because they know that many other Muslim women suffer the same fate. A care worker: “Taboos, secrecy, silence, shame and a closed community are almost a recipe for sexual abuse.”
The idea of ‘family honour’ meant that Rabea, Zohra, Ibtisam and Saïda kept their mouths shut. Now they are telling their stories to try and break the taboo surrounding sexual abuse in Muslim families. They no longer see themselves as victims. Their mission is to help other women who are in trouble now.
Their stories are individual but share much common ground. They were all around four or five when someone in their family started abusing them. The girls all kept silent because of threats, but also for fear of bringing ‘dishonour’ on the family. They didn’t even consider going to the police. Even now, they think that would be going too far.
See also: Netherlands: Code Red - Honor Murder