The negative religious experiences in my previous marriage left me appalled and confused. It is a trauma that did not require “Maybe Allah is testing you” or “Make doa that Allah will soften his heart”. It only left me bitter again because it was the words relating to “God” that were used against me. I knew “religious” support groups did not help my healing as they dismiss my experiences.

Penawar gave me a place where I did not need to put on a mask. I was able to speak about the nuances of religious trauma that can be so hidden, manipulative and subtle, it can only be understood by people with similar pain. Penawar is a safe space to unpack our taught beliefs by discovering ourselves, the religious community and the religious institutions.

Through that, healing has become a work of discovery for me. I see it as looking at myself in the mirror and uncovering why I believe certain beliefs, behave or feel a certain way and react/respond to people and the world a certain way. As much as healing is painful, it has unveiled my mask and gave me a clearer perception beyond mere religious rituals.