The Sick Rose
BY WILLIAM BLAKE
O Rose, thou art sick!
The invisible worm
That flies in the night,
In the howling storm,
Has found out thy bed
Of crimson joy:
And his dark secret love
Does thy life destroy
I first read and studied this poem, whilst studying Alevel literature, at the time I failed to grasp its dark and revealing message. Yet, today, five years on, I find this poem perfectly encapsulates the sad state of affairs within our community.
My immediate reaction after reading was sadness. I expected to feel angry, or frustrated but instead I felt this deep sadness. A sadness at the poor state of affairs. Sad at the fact that yet again, poor innocent young girls have been abused for the sexual pleasure of immoral men. Men who have behaved like animals. It makes me wonder, what must these men be thinking. Seriously what on earth must be going through your head if you think that its ok to sexually exploit a child (yes they are considered children as they are underage)
In my opinion, I believe there is a long list of factors that leads to such behaviour. Firstly I believe that our community has a huge role to play in tackling this issue and issues like it. I know from experience that certain groups within the Pakistani community treat their men like gods and their women like slaves. It happens. In my lifetime, I have witnessed countless occasions when the birth of a daughter is mourned and a birth of a son celebrated. I have heard and seen men cheating on their wives, and their wives have been blamed for ‘driving the man to an adulterous affair’ because she is either ‘too fat, or won’t perform sexually what other will do.’ Yes i have heard and seen it all. I have lived in a community, where no one likes to talk about this issue, and if you do talk about it, you are the one branded, defamed and vilified.
It is a sad state of affairs that all the men in this news article, guilty of sexually abusing these girls, have Muslim names. It is a sad state of affairs that despite they’re being numerous influential Muslim organisations, they are too afraid to stand up and speak out. It is a sad state of affairs that some even go as far as to preach that the man is higher in status then the woman, when the Quran and Sunnah speak of equality in all matters. It is a sad sad sad state of affairs, that i have grown up in a community battling the struggle between religion and culture and that today i feel that battle is as strong as ever.
When are we going to stand up in unity and condemn what is bad and enjoin in what is good? When are we going to publicly shame those who practice evil and protect the vulnerable at any cost necessary? When will we learn that accountability does not lie with the people but with God and ultimately we are all accountable to Him? When will our elders learn that reputation is not to die for? When will our mothers learn to treat their daughters and sons equally?
the answer is now! if we do not stand up, educate and correct those that are ignorant now, then they will continue to perpetuate evil to their children and their children. The responsibility and burden of truth and justice lies on the shoulders of those of understanding, i.e. those who are rational enough to recognise that bad is occurring. It is our duty to condemn these horrible men, and to protect these girls. To protect every other vulnerable girl from such evil. Because if we don’t, we are as guilty as those who commit such atrocities.