Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Spousal Abuse: Beaten and Blinded in Bangladesh

B.C. student blinded in Bangladesh attack continues physical, emotional recovery


University of British Columbia student Rumana Monzur, who was beaten and blinded by her husband during a 2011 attack in Bangladesh, poses for a photograph at the university where she will begin law school in September, in Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday July 10, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl DyckUniversity of British Columbia student Rumana Monzur, who was beaten and blinded by her husband during a 2011 attack in Bangladesh, poses for a photograph at the university where she will begin law school in September, in Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday July 10, 2013.

Rumana Monzur can picture a towering mountain or the blue sky on a sunny day. She remembers what the ocean looks like and can still conjure an image of water stretching out to the horizon.
But she hasn’t seen her daughter in more than two years — when, during a trip home to visit her family in Bangladesh, she was the victim of a vicious domestic assault that left her blind and her husband charged with attempted murder.
“Each moment, I miss seeing her (my daughter) — and not only her, I miss seeing people,” Monzur, 35, said in an interview Wednesday.
“With nature, I have seen mountains, I have seen skies, so those things I can still visualize if anyone describes them to me. But for people, I really miss seeing my daughter and my parents, how they smile. That is really hard for me to accept. It still doesn’t make any sense to me.”
Monzur has spent the past two years on a remarkable recovery that saw her finish a master’s degree at the University of British Columbia, where she now lives with her six-year-old daughter and her parents. She is now preparing to attend law school. 
Monzur was attacked in June 2011 during a trip home to Dhaka, Bangladesh. A year earlier, she left her daughter, her husband and her parents behind in Dhaka to study political science in Vancouver.

... Monzur’s case prompted rallies and petitions both in Canada and in her home country of Bangladesh, where a high proportion of women face violence. A study released by the United Nations Population Fund in 2000 indicated half of women in Bangladesh experience domestic violence at least once in their lives.
A report posted to Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board website cites 2003 data that suggested 65 per cent of Bangladeshi men believed “it is justifiable to beat up their wives,” while 38 per cent didn’t know what constitutes physical violence.
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