Her mother was raped. This is how Melanie was born. For years, the sight of Melanie’s face reminded her mother of the sexual assault, so Melanie herself was verbally and physically abused through childhood. But Melanie’s obligation was to love and honor her mother, she told herself. This is what Melanie believed as a Christian, and it’s what she believed even more so after converting to Islam.
In the Qur’an, God commanded, “Reverence the wombs that bore you.” But what if those wombs broke you, and incited deep emotional trauma? What then?
In this groundbreaking book about healing from family abuse, internationally acclaimed author Umm Zakiyyah shares the true story of Melanie Davidson, a daughter of rape and abuse, whose commitment to family and self-healing offers lessons to us all. Each glimpse into Melanie’s life is followed by powerful commentary inspired by the words of mental health professionals, the teachings of divine texts, and the experiences of abuse survivors themselves.
“Long-overdue and much needed. Umm Zakiyyah has crafted an informative, accessible and captivating book that confronts a topic that is often hidden and swept under the rug – especially within families and religious communities. She and her co-author poignantly and sensitively explore issues such as mental illness stigma, shame and guilt associated with rape and how unresolved trauma is passed down through generations. Through the book’s real-life examples and self-help insights, readers will gain a better understanding of their own toxic relationships and how to move to a place of healing.”
—Dr. Nicole Monteiro, Assistant Professor of Psychology at Chestnut Hill College and author of Global Insights – The Zen of Travel and BEING in the World
“…[I am] almost without words to express how deeply I have been moved by this book…This is a narrative that is long overdue for addressing a victim’s rights to end abuse, create boundaries, and start the healing process while being free from religious guilt that they are displeasing Allah by caring for their shattered selves. For everyone who has ever been broken, this book will give you the strength to begin healing, and trust with absolute certainty, that Allah is on your side. “
—Megan Wyatt, founder of Wives of Jannah
“A raw and touching glimpse into the life of a woman whose own mother could not find in her anything to love. Melanie’s pain leaps out to envelop you. You’ll rejoice as her healing begins. The writing makes you feel the relief as she opens her wounds, to release the pain. Then love rushes in, and brings with it the hope that Melanie will find a way to actually love herself…if not her mother.”
—Faiza Coleman-Salako, Founder & Director of Words Heal, Inc.