On October 11, 2014, the Foundation for Appropriate and Temporary Help (FAITH) organized the first ever Fashion with Compassion, a modest fashion show to raise money for victims of domestic violence. More than 300 people came out to attend the evening of fashion and beauty. With the help of our gold and platinum sponsors FAITH was able to raise $13,000. The money that comes into our Safe and Peaceful Families Program helps families like the that of 12-year old Sayeed.

Sayeed was only 4 years old when he came to FAITH Social Services. A bright and loving boy who was academically talented and from a young age had been part of the gifted and talented program at school. Sayeed’s father used to beat him and he had been the victim of severe physical and emotional abuse. When his parents separated, Sayeed, his younger brother and mother had to live in a county women’s shelter. After an emotionally difficult time at the shelter, Sayeed’s mother was moved by the county to a Section 8 housing program.

In the past year, FAITH has worked with 76 men and women victims and 103 child victims who witnessed or/and were abused in their homes. The number of domestic violence victims is growing each year.

A national leading victim assistance organization, Safe Horizons, has found that without help with their trauma, girls who witness domestic violence are more

vulnerable to abuse as teens and adults. Alternately, boys who witness domestic violence are more likely to become abusers of their partners and/or children as adults, thus continuing the cycle of violence into the next generation. “If Muslims in America don’t take this reality seriously then the men will be in jail, the youth will be in detention centers and the Masajids will be empty,” said a leading activist who works with victims of domestic violence.

Sayeed is now 12 years old; his grades have steadily declined and he feels like a social pariah in the gifted program. Currently, Sayeed is being closely watched because he is at high risk of suicide due to his emotional state. A domestic violence case worker with over 10 years of experience said what is happening to Sayeed is not uncommon for children who come from domestic abuse households.

“We have seen some children of our clients who steal from stores, dropped out of school, became tyrants themselves, turned away from their faith, and tried to kill themselves, because they were left alone with a parent who could not be there emotionally for them.”

FAITH is currently trying to help Sayeed by providing him a counselor to work through his feelings. Additionally, FAITH is expanding its Children’s program to include the Bright Stars Program. This was created as a direct result of the increased numbers of abused children that have been coming to FAITH over the past few years

“Children survivors have lived very difficult years where they witnessed violence and were
also themselves part of it,” said the domestic violence caseworker, who asked her name to be withheld for security reasons. “They find themselves alone with their pain. No one is there to guide them to reassure them that they will be ok, these children like any other children need guidance and love so that they can develop into productive citizens.”

The Program Coordinator said through the Bright Stars Program she hopes to focus more on the emotional needs of the youth.

“The program will emphasize the developing youth’s emotional growth by providing a safe space to nurture their psychological needs and personal interests in a positive environment. She added, “this shift will create a future oriented focus by supporting these children as they face the challenges of growing up without strong support networks.”

The youth coordinator also worked on a pilot art therapy program with the youth and noted that the older kids were reserved and did not participate to their full potential.

“These children have often been neglected and their personal value and opinion is diminished in the face of an aggressor. Our program will include life skills, confidence building and empowerment techniques while also providing the youth with consistent attention. The Bright Stars Program is an investment into their future as well as the future of our Ummah,” said the coordinator. Domestic Violence has society wide implications and affects men, women, children, families and our Muslim Ummah.

Men and women are partners and Allah says in the Quran: “And among His signs is this: that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that you may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts). Verily in that are signs for those who reflect” (30:21)

The Foundation for Appropriate and Immediate Temporary Help (FAITH) is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit social services organization located in Herndon, VA Our mission is to provide humanitarian aid to needy individuals and families living in Northern Virginia. We serve all people regardless of their faith, ethnicity, or gender.

 

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