A Reflecting Arab Muslim Girl From Around the Corner

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Hands Clean.

These are the lyrics to Alanis Morissette’s ‘Hands Clean’

If it weren't for your maturity none of this would have happened
If you weren't so wise beyond your years I would've been able to control myself
If it weren't for my attention you wouldn't have been successful and
If it weren't for me you would never have amounted to very much

Ooh this could be messy and
Ooh I don't seem to mind
Ooh don't go telling everybody
And overlook this supposed crime

We'll fast forward to a few years later
And no one knows except the both of us
And I have honored your request for silence
And you've washed your hands clean of this

You're essentially an employee and I like you having to depend on me
You're kind of my protégé and one day you'll say you learned all you know from me
I know you depend on me like a young thing would to a guardian
I know you sexualize me like a young thing would and I think I like it

Just make sure you don't tell on me especially to members of your family
We best keep this to ourselves and not tell any members of our inner posse
I wish I could tell the world cuz you're such a pretty thing when you're done up properly
I might want to marry you one day if you watch that weight and keep your firm body

My friend and I were talking about this song and I told her that I think it’s about abuse. She replied saying that she thinks it’s about a woman who knows what she is getting out of a relationship, and despite its negativity at times, she has decided to put up with it because that is what she wants. “You always see things differently – as if the woman is always the victim and innocent” she told me.

It is interesting how our life experiences shape how we view the world. It’s true…I am an advocate for women's right, and I always lean in favour of the woman’s innocence. It is what I have come to know.

When I first heard this song, it spoke to me.
It is him singing to me.

He always told me how mature I was, and how we should keep our relationship a secret. He would imply it being ‘messy’ because of the age difference and proximity, but he continued to ‘overlook this supposed crime’.

Once he asked me what I would do if I would become pregnant by mistake. First, I figured it was impossible. How could we get pregnant if we never penetrated? But, I worried why he would ask me that. I thought about it and told him that I would never tell my parents it was him. He immediately jumped on the idea, “yes you should tell them you met some boy and this happened…a one-off thing”. He praised me for my reply. I explained that if I were ever to get pregnant out of marriage, my parents would already be upset by that… “there is no reason to make things worse by telling them by whom”.

I am always sympathetic to young girls who get pregnant before marriage. There are those girls that are overtly promiscuous and well aware of the risks that they expose themselves to on a regular basis. But there are others who somehow find themselves caught up in a mess. They do not know how things evolved, nor what to do about it.

On about two or three separate occasions my period was late. The stress and worry was unbearable. We both panicked and he bought me pregnancy tests each time. I couldn’t believe myself when I first tried it – I must have been in Grade 10 or 11. As I read the instructions and proceeded to use the test, it hit me how grave of an act I was involved in and how my life would change drastically if I did get pregnant.

Abortion in Islam is prohibited, but permitted if the mother’s life is put into danger by the pregnancy and, under some interpretations, if pregnancy has come about due to rape. I would wonder what God would think if I decided to get an abortion if I ever got pregnant. It’s a touchy subject for me - abortion for teenagers who get pregnant ‘by mistake’. Allahu A’alam. But God is Love and He knows hearts. If indeed what I was experiencing was abuse, I wonder how I would be judged by Him for having an abortion. I knew where the abortion clinic was. I did my research. If I did get pregnant, I certainly knew what I was going to do.

Writing this though, I think of how my friend interpreted this song. For her, it’s about a woman in a relationship who knows exactly what she wants. Maybe I knew all along. Maybe as I grew older it became less of abuse and more of a desire. Perhaps I did have more options and just chose to stay. May Allah forgive us. Am I trying to wash my hands clean by labeling this as abuse?

1 comment:

  1. No, you are not. This was abuse. A child shouldn't have to go through these things. What he did was wrong. You shouldn't have to worry about pregnancies. Or take tests. You are not trying to wash your hands clean, it was abuse.