Rumana Monzur to study law

Rumana Monzur, who lost both her eyes to a brutal assault by her husband, has spent the past two years on a remarkable recovery that saw her finish a master’s degree at the University of British Columbia.

The Huffington Post says she now lives with her 6-year-old daughter and her parents and is preparing to attend law school.

She said she decided to change disciplines, rather than continuing onto a PhD in political science, in part because of her experience with domestic violence and the justice system of Bangladesh.

Monzur was attacked in June 2011 during a trip back home in Dhaka. She left her daughter, her husband and her parents a year earlier to study political science in Vancouver.

Students and faculty at her university raised almost $100,000 to cover Monzur’s medical and living costs once she returned to British Columbia, and the case fuelled a debate about violence against women in Bangladesh.

Monzur returned to Canada a month after the attack and the efforts to raise funds were already well underway. At Vancouver’s airport she was approached by reporters as she was being wheeled with dark glasses and wounds still visible on her face.

Doctors in Vancouver were hopeful they might be able to recover her vision, but within days, it became clear that the victim of domestic abuse would never see again.

Two years after her attack, Monzur learned to read braille and made use of adaptive technology to be able to read and write. The scars on her face have faded and she no longer covers her eyes with shaded glasses. She now uses a cane to navigate and walk.

This past spring she successfully presented her master’s thesis on examining the impact of climate change and rising ocean levels in Bangladesh. She was recently accepted to several law schools.

She however decided to stay at the University of British Columbia and enter its law programme this September.
Monzur said she tries not to think about the attack that robbed her of her vision, which she refers to only as “the incident.”

“If I think about it, it just leads me nowhere,” she was quoted as saying by the Huffington Post.

“I can’t think positively, and I just end up asking, ‘Why did it happen? Why did it happen to me?'”

A report posted on Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board website cites 2003 data that suggested 65 percent of Bangladeshi men believed “it is justifiable to beat up their wives,” while 38 percent didn’t know what constitutes physical violence.

Monzur is hopeful that other women and girls — including her own daughter — can learn from the horrific ordeal she experienced at the hands of her husband.

“First of all, I don’t want people to see me as a victim — I want people to see me as a survivor,” said Monzur, and emphasised that violence against women must be brought out into the open.

“I wasn’t sharing my problems, my marriage issues or issues of domestic violence when I was experiencing it. I felt it was a shame for me, but I didn’t realize at that time that it is not a shame for me, it is a shame for the people who are doing it. That is the most important message I want to tell women who are experiencing it and keeping silent.”

Monzur’s former husband, Hasan Sayeed Sumon, was arrested and charged with attempted murder soon after the attack, but he died in prison under mysterious circumstances in December 2011.

Monzur is still unsure about what she will do after she finishes law school. She intends to pay for it with a combination of scholarships and student loans.

“After this happened, I went through the legal systems in Bangladesh. The challenges I was facing and especially the social challenges, I was thinking that I felt the need to have a legal background, which will be helpful for me to lead a meaningful life,” she said.

“I want to learn first and then decide where I want to go,” the Washington-based Internet newspaper futher quoted her as saying.

Source: Bd news24

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