Life

Lawyer Rumana Monzur Shares Why Leaving An Abusive Relationship Is So Hard

The UBC graduate and lawyer was blinded by her husband after asking for a divorce.

Rumana Monzur thought things had gone surprisingly well after she asked her abusive husband for a divorce in 2011. He was quiet and left the house.

The now-University of British Columbia graduate, lawyer and activist had returned from Vancouver to her native country of Bangladesh to deliver the news.

What happened next changed her life forever: her husband came back later and attacked her viciously. He dug his fingers into her eyes, and bit off chunks of her face. He was eventually arrested and died in jail.

Rumana Monzur.
Rumana Monzur.

Monzur was permanently blinded. But her story is one of surviving and thriving: she went on to graduate, and then applied to and was accepted to law school. Now she’s a practising lawyer and works with the federal justice ministry.

Her determination to flourish in her new country was partially because she wanted to ensure her daughter’s well-being, but it was also a way to find herself.

“I realized how empowering law was. I really wanted to empower myself... my passion has always been to create my own identity so I did that.”

In the video above she goes into detail about her story, how she’s raising her daughter, and her hope that people view survivors of domestic abuse as courageous rather than as victims.

Monzur’s story, and the stories of three other women trying to achieve their own hopes and dreams in a deeply patriarchal society are told in a new documentary called “Untying The Knot.” The film premieres on Nov. 24, the day before the U.N.’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, on documentary channel.

While the film focuses on the situation in Bangladesh, its message is universal: every six days, a woman in Canada is killed by her intimate partner, so ending violence against women is a global issue.