Link Love: Muslim Youth.net, The Coolest Place For Young British Muslims » Dare To Hope Campaign

In the name of God, compassionate & merciful بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ | Peace be with you السلام عليكم

The Dare To Hope campaign for women by Muslim Youth

What: {MuslimYouth.net} is Britain’s first guidance and support channel for Muslim youth. The street-cool site is designed and managed entirely by young people who reflect the diversity of Muslim communities in the UK.

Who: The project is also supported by Muslim Youth Helpline (MYH), a confidential telephone and e-mail counselling service for young people, which is taking vital steps to dealing with. Many of the issues profiled on Muslim Youth.net, reflect the concerns of young people who contact MYH.

MuslimYouth.net aims to raise awareness of the different social problems that affect young Muslims and provide culturally sensitive guidance to young people. The site encourages young Muslims to develop peer-support networks, access specialist services and care for their social and mental wellbeing.


A Campaign: The Dare to Hope Campaign launched on International Women’s Day, 8th March.

What is it all about?
Everyday a woman is abused, physically, mentally and emotionally. Everyday a woman suffers from depression. Everyday a woman suffers from an eating disorder. Everyday a woman attempts to cope by self harming. Everyday women Dare to Hope, Dare to Hope that someone will listen to them. Women are the strongest of characters, but they suffer in silence. We see mothers, sisters, aunties, grandmothers, friends but we don’t see their depression, their isolation, their suffering, their pain. At Muslim Youth Helpline (MYH) we do see this everyday, when a woman calls MYH she is hoping someone will listen and share her suffering, and we do, but we need your help to continue listening, to continue helpline and empowering. We need your help to continue providing our service. Dare to Hope is all about talking about these issues and making sure that women continue to get the support they need!

How do you help?
Join {www.muslimyouth.net} and {MYH on Facebook} to tell us what you think on all the issues that affect women. The issues need to be discussed so the women suffering know that they are not alone!

An average call to the helpline costs £5. £5 is all it costs to help us give hope. £5 is all it costs us save someone. What do you Dare to Do?

We want you to do something crazy to help MYH raise awareness of this issue. We have people jumping out of planes in April, Chief Executives wearing wigs to important meetings and people walking through London on Mother’s Day raising awareness of the issues women face - what do you Dare to Do?

Do something creative and get people to sponsor or donate to the cause at:: {www.justgiving.com/daretohope}.
“I had never ever spoken about my past to anyone before, but I felt the need to speak to someone for advice as my situation was not getting better. I rang MYH... Just speaking to somebody, who listened without judgement, has opened up doors for me which will never be closed.” Asma (Helpline user)

A message from MY to Muslimness readers:
"As part of the Muslim Youth Helpline ‘Dare to Hope’ campaign, bloggers have been encouraged to talk about “the issues women face in their daily lives and how strong these women are”. I am, by no means, ‘a blogger’ – I have a lot of respect for bloggers, they are a dedicated online community and I don’t waste nearly enough time on the internet to be counted as one among their ranks ; ) But I do think this topic is essential and was anxious to become involved - so et voila!

We were asked several questions about women to get our ideas flowing. But I’ve been thinking about my subject for a really long time. Ever since I was still visiting Yarl’s Wood for the SOAS Detainee Support Group last year, this topic has scarcely left my mind.

On the bus journey over from Bedford station, there was talk going on of the cases people have witnessed while befriending female detainees at the detention and removal centre. One of the saddest and most perplexing stories was that of women who have had to flee from their homelands because of their sexual orientation. It broke my heart. I had to find out more.

The more I read the more horrified I became. I learnt about corrective rape; the practice of men raping gay women in order to ‘fix’ them – turn them into heterosexuals.

Being a law student, I immediately switched over to Westlaw.co.uk and tried to find out how our country dealt with gay female asylum seekers arriving on our shores. The situation was pretty grim; if the courts felt that you were able to hide your lifestyle in your home country, you were unlikely to be granted asylum. Fortunately Lord Hope’s landmark judgement last year has improved things for the better ("To compel a homosexual person to pretend that his sexuality does not exist or suppress the behaviour by which to manifest itself is to deny his fundamental right to be who he is" -- HJ and HT v Secretary of State for the Home Department). This was definitely good news : )

Sadly, things are always harder for women. My search broadened beyond mere sexual orientation to female biological sexuality itself: I’m talking about the practice of FGM (female genital mutilation). This practice should not be described as ‘female circumcision’ – that would suggest something clinical, a routine procedure. It isn’t. Sometimes women’s entire external genitalia are cut away. Women undergoing this procedure either bleed to death or suffer infections as a result of the unsterile blade which was used to ‘operate’ on them. Of course, anesthesia is not used. The reasoning behind the procedure? Women should not be able to find pleasure in sexual activity. Women, and even young girls in the class room, who remain uncut are called ‘whores’.

Clearly, female sexuality is a huge deal. I won’t make any hard and fast generalisations about the topics I have just discussed – which you would hope are probably extreme examples. But make no mistake. FGM is happening in the UK. Imagine what it would be like if your loved ones believed this practice was best for you. Where would you go? Where do you seek help when your sanctuary, your haven, your family home, becomes unsafe for you?

Gay women (especially gay Muslim and/or Asian women) find it impossible, almost unthinkable, to talk about their feelings – especially in households where sexuality is a taboo. Imagine the suppression, how trapped would you feel, when you are unable to speak to your loved ones about something so important to you.

I try to picture it, and tears fill my eyes. God protect me and my dear sisters from such tests. But there are women in our lives who are undergoing these very emotions. They must be so strong to be able to lift such burdens!

I think we can do something to make it easier for them

I wish I could go romping up and down the UK rescuing everyone in this situation : ( But there are too many factors behind this suffering; and whisking people out of their homes away from the families that they are unable to face is not, I think, the correct solution.

Women often feel scared and vulnerable because they don’t know who to talk to about their sexuality. Really this topic is completely innocent, it is a universal issue, and we can no longer afford to be unresponsive to it.

We need to listen.

MYH provides an incredible service: their call operators are open minded, they are not judgmental, they are supportive and kind. I’m so glad people who have questions about their sexuality have a host of shoulders to cry on.

But we can ALL do more!

You and I have got to start talking about these things – we have to be there to listen. We have to talk to our sisters, cousins, friends; what if they’re confused about their sexuality? You each know the women in your lives best, and only you know what to tell them. I can only ask you to please be open minded, don’t turn them away with judgmental and/or fearful head-shaking/tongue-tutting. They are likely to be judging themselves harsher than you are. They are likely to be more afraid of how they are feeling than you are.

And if you are finding it difficult to confront your sexuality as a woman…or even as a man… please, talk to someone : ) If no one else, you can always call MYH – they’re there to listen : ) Don’t feel trapped and alone

I hope that one day, girls won’t have to be afraid of how they feel. I hope sexuality will not be a taboo, or a ‘dirty’ subject. I hope we will all realise how precious every single woman on earth is. I hope we will not let our sisters feel disgusted by who they are. I hope we, women, can protect ourselves together from ignorant people who misjudge us and wish to harm us.

We are women. We have got to support each other.

I dare to hope that someday, we will. Insha'Allah.

Those details again:: w | www.myh.org.uk 
The first Muslim Youth community on the internet 
t | 08088082002   donate | www.justgiving.com/daretohope  
fb | www.facebook.com/muslimyouthhelpline

Image & article:: Copyright © 2011 MuslimYouth.net


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