A Bangladeshi woman has been left blinded and her face mutilated after a vicious attack by her husband — prompted, allegations say, by her commitment to her studies.
Rumana Manzur has been attending the University of British Columbia since September, pursuing her Master’s degree in political science. She also works as an assistant professor at Dhaka University’s International Relations department. When she departed for British Columbia last fall, her husband Hasan Sayeed Sumon and 5-year-old daughter remained in Bangladesh. Manzur recently returned to visit her family after being separated for over 9 months. Within days of her return, however, her husband turned on her, beating her violently – in front of their daughter — because he felt she was too committed to her studies. Manzur’s injuries were significant. Her eyes were severely damaged, leaving her blinded — likely permanently — and part of her nose was bitten off.
Manzur remains in the hospital awaiting plastic surgery to restore her nose. Doctors in Bangladesh and India have both stated there is nothing they can do to restore her eyesight; her family has sent her medical files to North American hospitals in the hopes that something could be done here.
Manzur’s husband was arrested 10 days after the attack and has reportedly confessed to the crime. The coverage in Bangladesh has been mixed, with much of the news media reporting on the reasons her husband allegedly attacked her — from accusing her of having an affair with another graduate student to having taken issue with the fact that she was pursuing studies at all. However, many groups have loudly defended her, and demanded harsh punishment for her husband and for offenses of violence against women in general.
A rally is planned for 3 pm Sunday afternoon in Vancouver to support and raise funds to help Manzur and her daughter.
Manzur, meanwhile, can only hear and touch the daughter she had waited long months to see.
Photo credit: Sherratsam on Flickr.