Ask a Question: Sexual Assault

 

ask-a-question

If you have a question about sexual assault because you or someone you know has been assaulted, know that you are not alone. Our advocates below are trained professionals that can address your needs and concerns quickly and anonymously. Learn about them below and reach out to who you feel comfortable with.

hinaLI2Hina Malik, Chicago, IL

Hi Everyone! My name is Hina and I currently live and work in downtown Chicago. I work at a consulting firm placing C-Suite executives for Fortune 500 companies in the retail and apparel space. I graduated from Washington University in St. Louis in 2014 with a degree in Marketing and Anthropology.

I was born and raised in a very small, rural town in central Illinois where all of my friends and classmates were white Americans. As a Pakistani Muslim, I noticed that the different cultural expectations around sex education didn’t always align, which made me realize the important need for different ways to address sex education. Some cultures and religions stigmatize sex, and so conversations about sex are often avoided. However, I believe the misconception that sex education is unnecessary is a very dangerous one. Problems never arise from education, but from a lack of it. This is why I am so excited by the work that HEART does and to serve the organization as a resource for our community.

Additionally, I am a certified medical advocate with Rape Victim Advocates. I completed a 60 hour certification course to provide sexual assault survivors with support, information, resources, and advocacy in (and outside of) the ER.

In my free time, I love to listen and dance to rap and hip-hop music, go running by the lake, binge watch TV shows, and do dramatic readings of Yelp reviews. To ask Hina a question, please email her at hina@heartwomenandgirls.org.

1926262_10152344074087697_1910791427_oSahar Pirzada, Los Angeles, CA

Hello. It’s me. I was wondering if after reading this you’d like to email me.

My name is Sahar Pirzada and I am currently working as the Youth Development Manager for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Greater LA Chapter. Before moving to LA to work for CAIR, I lived in Singapore for three years where I worked on a project to promote gender-equitable interpretations of Islam with gender advocates in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. I passionately believe Islam is a religion that is sex positive and promotes healthy sexual relationships. I was blessed with the experience to work with scholars in Indonesia to study the texts of Islam and how religion can be used as a tool for women’s empowerment. As part of our program, I conducted sessions with youth and women about menstrual hygiene and health, sexual and reproductive rights, healthy relationships and comprehensive sexual education from a culturally relative and sensitive perspective.

While in Singapore, I came to learn about HEART Women & Girls and jumped on the opportunity to get involved. Since I’ve been back, I’ve been working as a peer educator with HEART in Southern California and am proud to play a role in this important cultural shift with such amazing women in our Muslim American community.

To ask Sahar a question, email her at sahar@heartwomenandgirls.org. To hear more about Sahar’s work and why she thinks it’s important for women and girls to be informed about their sexual health, watch this short Girl Talk piece.

henna bio picHenna Khawja, Plano, TX

Hey everyone!

My name is Henna and I have been working with HEART for just over a year now. My passion and professional training are both found in the field of Social Work, and looks like advocacy, activism, trauma counselling and arts education. The majority of my professional work has been with women and youth in Toronto, Canada; but, I have also worked with youth on the South Side of Chicago, differently abled youth in Islamabad Pakistan and youth in Zanzibar, Tanzania. In more recent years, I have focused on working with women who are survivors of domestic violence, sexual violence, honour-related violence and forced marriage. Most importantly, in the past year, I have become a Mother myself, and now care about this work in a way that is more special and sacred than ever before. I believe sisterhood is powerful and that art is a healing force.

If you ever need to talk, share a cup of tea, listen to Hip Hop/R&B, exchange good vibes, or you just need to make some crafts – I’m your woman. Holler at me: henna@heartwomanandgirls.org.