Tuesday, February 25, 2014

First Day - Family, Culture, Religion

My first day at the EMC Bronx office. First girl arriving around 10:30 am with her boyfriend. She is not that young but she is tiny and very sweet. I look at her but I am not sure were she is coming from. She is very polite, she has positively finished her studies. She seems to be smart and to have her feet on the ground. She is nervous, hen skin, and her eyes moving quickly from the floor to the woman that is supposed to counsel her. The first thing she says when she sits down on the chair of that cold room is she came to us looking for counseling. Then she starts answering carefully all our questions trying not to show ho
w afraid she is and paying attention to every single word she is been told.

She is in love. She has been dating her boyfriend for a long time now and she has no doubt he is the right person for her. She knows she is pregnant. They were using protection, unfortunately it broke and she had to go for plan B. However, she has been part of that 1% ineffectiveness. After the pregnancy test, the counselor calculated an approximate due date. She is now 6 weeks pregnant. She is considering the abortion pill but still wants to listen to any other alternative. She refuses to give the baby in adoption. 9 months taking care of a vulnerable life in order to give it away later on is something she would not be able to stand. But there is something else. The counselor talks with her about the fetus and shows her a picture of its current stage of development. She burst into tears asking herself "why she has to do this". As I said, there is something else.

Sometimes, men do not support women. Sometimes, they do not enjoy stability or have financial problems but this was not the case. Both have gone to college. They were both working and studying. She is living with her parents and so is him. They would have to make an effort and move together and have the baby as a family but still that was not the problem. Finally she said very cautiously was she had in mind all that time since she first arrived an hour before. "My father would kill me, you do not understand". She had been raised within a Muslim family, very conservative,coming from a very different culture. She came here very young, she has grown as any other American and always standing in the line that separates such different two cultures. She understood her parents opinion, believes and values as no one that has not been raised with them could but she could not help feeling herself very far from her roots now.

She repeated once and again that we really did not understand her. And certainly we really do not. Pre-marital sex is absolutely forbidden in Islam. Pre-marital sex is a sin punishable by the Islamic court.
If an unmarried man and an unmarried woman are found guilty of fornication in an Islamic court, their punishment will be as the following: The woman and the man who fornicate scourge each of them a hundred whips; and in the matter of God s religion, let no tenderness for them seize you if you believe in God and the Last Day; and let a party of the believers witness their punishment. (24:2) If the unmarried man or woman commit fornication more than once, then they will be punished three times by hundred wipes, and if they are proven guilty for the fourth time, then they will be put to death. (See the chapter on "hudud" in Sharaya' and Sharh Lum'a also a;-Khu'i, Takmilah, p. 37-8) (As for adultery, its punishment is even more severe because married persons have no excuse, whatsoever, to commit adultery. The shari'ah says that married persons guilty of adultery should be stoned to death.) 
The truth is that, even if it is hard to believe, there are some cultures, specially Muslim people around the world, who consider that having their daughters having a baby outside marriage would be worse than having them killed before they do so. The embarrassment can be so humiliating for the family's honor, that the same family repudiates that woman or even kills her as a punishment for her sin. Families allowing such behavior would not be consider respectable anymore.

I cannot forget the sorrowfulness and the pain in her eyes. She was desperately crying for a solution, for an alternative. She wanted to keep her baby, she wanted to have a family. She wanted to save that life and she was ready for everything coming. She was just too scared and too alone to face it. She needed some time. But if that baby comes to the world, even if she has to raise him or her on her own, she will never again be alone. Because she would have all that love coming from the only person who really loves her unconditionally. Her baby. It is dramatic that still nowadays religion, customs, culture and even family can separate a mother from her child and even be the reason why she would be considering sacrificing a life.

Fear should never be there. We are here to help you. You are never alone. God will find you.

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