The American Muslim Intimate Partner Violence Study

How people can contribute to efforts to gain knowledge on DV

By Tahani Chaudhry

January/February 2023

Anas ibn Malik reported: The Prophet said: “Seeking knowledge is an obligation upon every Muslim” (“Sunan Ibn Majah,” 224).

The Peaceful Families Project (PFP) deeply values and prioritizes the efforts to seek knowledge and make it accessible to the Muslim community. PFP has a long history of engaging in scientifically based investigations, alone and with partners who seek to increase Muslims’ knowledge of the range and impact of domestic violence (DV), child abuse, sexual violence, gender-based violence and other related topics on our community, both here and abroad. Our research and resource development program aims to utilize this knowledge to explore our community’s unique strengths to deal with these social issues and utilize an integration of Islamic teachings and psychological knowledge to serve as a foundation for the prevention activities and resources (evidence-based practice). 

To eliminate DV from our community, we must first know what it looks like. Unfortunately, due to stigma and lack of resources, this knowledge is limited. In a 2009 survey of 241 American Muslims conducted by Sound Vision and Islamic Social Services Association USA, 70% of respondents knew someone who had experienced DV. In 2011, PFP and Project Sakinah launched a national survey of DV in our community. Half of the 801 respondents had experienced some form of DV, and one-third of respondents had experienced abuse in an intimate relationship. In this sample, men tended to report having experienced child abuse, whereas a majority of those reporting intimate partner abuse were women. The scarcity of data limits our ability to address this problem.

In an effort to increase and update our knowledge, Dr. Olubunmi Basirat Oyewuwo and PFP have launched a survey to study DV in the Muslim American community. One of its goals is to learn the attitudes, beliefs and experiences of DV in our community in order to inform the creation of new ones, and to support existing intervention and prevention strategies. The lack of relevant data presents funding challenges to those who desire to prevent, intervene and inform our knowledge of DV. 

As a reader, you can, among other things, support such efforts by taking the American Muslim Intimate Partner Violence survey. Anyone who identifies as Muslim, is aged 18+ and lives in the U.S. is eligible to participate. The survey takes about 30 minutes to complete and can be completed by phone, tablet, or computer. Your voice is essential, and we want to hear from you. 

Tahani Chaudhry is a graduate research assistant in clinical psychology at George Mason University.

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