by Elizabeth Turnbull
Muslimah’s Against Abuse Center (MAAC) opened in South Seattle in 2020 to help women facing gender-based violence. The organizers created the non-profit organization specifically to help other Muslim women of color and to provide healing circles, support groups and other resources to support women in various ways.
“There is so much stigma around abuse within East African communities,” said Rahma Rashid, founder of MAAC. “Often these young women are humiliated by their religious leaders, their families and members of their community… We are providing a resource that does not exist within our communities and that no one outside is providing.”
Rashid, from Somalia, founded the association after her own experience of abuse, which opened her eyes to the needs of women around her and in her community.
“I survived a long, abusive relationship and at times felt like there was nowhere to turn to when needed,” Rashid said. “I know if I had had a space like MAAC it would have made a big difference in helping me find the courage to leave my abuser.”
Based on her own experience, Rashid wanted to fill the void of culturally appropriate support for women in her demographic. Since not all abuse facilities and resources are familiar with cultural and religious practices, many Muslim women may feel left out in times of need.
Rashid said she had a client who was told by staff at a shelter to seek help elsewhere after asking for pork-free meal options.
“At that point, my client felt neglected and embarrassed that he even had to ask for help,” Rashid said. “Stories like this are not unknown to us. “
In addition to providing education on healthy relationships, awareness sessions for adolescents, and support groups focused on the prevention, treatment and healing of abuse, MAAC is open to Muslim women and girls of color who wish to discuss topics that may be taboo elsewhere, such as gender-based violence, mental health and the effects of COVID-19.
Rashid also wants MAAC to be a place that professionally supports Muslim women. In this vein, MAAC will be hosting a Muslimah Networking Night on November 20 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Sea-Tac Community Center. The event is intended to connect Muslim professionals and provide young female students the opportunity to connect with potential mentors to encourage them as they continue their studies.
To register for the networking evening, participants can contact 206-556-2981. Tickets cost $ 25.
Elizabeth turnbull is a journalist with reporting experience in the United States and the Middle East. She has a passion to cover human-centric issues and to do so in a consistent manner.
?? Image presented by Alex Garland.
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