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COLLECTIONLetters from the Universal House of Justice
TITLEChildhood Abuse, and Revoking Parent's Right of Marriage Consent
AUTHOR 1 Universal House of Justice
ABSTRACTGuidance on therapy and recovery from sexual abuse. The abusing parent's right to consent to marriage can be revoked.
TAGSAbuse; Domestic violence; Marriage; Psychology; Sexual violence; Trauma
CONTENT Dear Bahá'í Friend,

Your letter of 23 October 1992 addressed to the Universal House of Justice was received on 29 November 1992, and we have been asked to provide the following response.

The House of Justice is very pleased to learn of the progress you are making in recovering from the difficulties of the past, and is delighted by your wholehearted and enthusiastic commitment to the practice of the Teachings and your involvement in Bahá'í community activities. It is confident that, with the passage of time, you will proceed from strength to strength, and that your earnest endeavours will be reinforced by the spiritual potencies of the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh.

Turning now to the questions you have raised, the House of Justice has decided that when a Bahá'í has suffered sexual abuse such as incest from a parent, that believer is free to approach the National Spiritual Assembly for a determination that such an action warrants deprivation of the right of the parent to give consent to marriage. At present such matters have to be referred by a National Assembly to the Universal House of Justice on a case by case basis.

You are encouraged to follow the advice of your therapist in regard to the absences which you should take from your employment in order to facilitate your healing from the trauma you experienced in the past. The time taken away from work beneficial to society would doubtless be more than compensated for by the increase in effectiveness with which you will be able to perform such functions when your healing is more advanced. Your therapist is also in the best position to assist you to distinguish between those events which have occurred, and any other impressions in your memory which may not be based on actual experiences.

The House of Justice has asked us to reiterate the expressions of sympathy and loving concern expressed in the letter of 9 September 1992 sent to you on its behalf, and to assure you of its prayers at the Sacred Threshold for your continued healing and for your abiding happiness.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

For Department of the Secretariat

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