Becoming Allies: Introducing a Framework for Intersectional Allyship to Muslim Survivors of Gender-Based Violence
Keywords:Gender-based violence, GBV, intersectionality, allyship
Multiple social movements (e.g., Black Lives Matter, The Combahee River Collective, Musawah, and #MeToo) have highlighted the systems of oppression (e.g., racism, sexism, Islamophobia, and classism) in this country and globally that have targeted different marginalized groups. The traumatic experiences of gender-based violence (GBV) are compounded by the trauma of a long history of structural violence and the unique experiences of different social identities, including race, religion, and gender. One example in the Muslim American context is how Oyewuwo (2019) analyzes the unique experiences of Black Muslim women seeking help for GBV. Her work illustrates the ways in which these women, growing up in a system of oppression and injustice, shaped their response to GBV by creating patterns in which they endure violence and pain. As a South-Asian-American and an Arab-American researching GBV and working within the field, we ask: how do we, members of the Muslim community, become allies for Muslims experiencing GBV within the context of systematic oppression (in ways that prevent privileged groups from reproducing and maintaining patterns of inequality)?
In this paper, we aim to envision possibilities for our role as allies by looking into the intersection of Islamophobia, racism, sexism, and domestic violence within Muslim communities. We present a theoretical background to some of the existing literature on intersectionality and allyship and provide a framework to combine them. The resulting framework will build off existing social movements and apply these learnings to the context of GBV within the Muslim context. Finally, this framework gives community allies, including faith leaders, activists, and community members, a guideline on the role they play in this critical social issue.