Domestic violence isn’t something that is being hidden today. It has affected many families in Bangladesh both rural and urban places. In the past women have heavily suppressed their cries and scars wife beatings. Why? I’ll tell you why because society has made families believe that by going public on private matters only brings shame and embarrassment rather than coming to a solution. As a result hundreds of women have hidden their stories.
There was a time when mothers passed on a tradition that encouraged women to not open up about domestic violence because it was so called “a duty” for the wife to help keep her husband’s good name in society. Women were forced to tolerate physical abuse and accept it as a part of culture. But at what cost? At what cost are we willing to lose innocent lives of women?
Rumana Manzur definitely paid the price; an University of British Columbia Masters student, who has been brutally attacked by her husband, Hasan. She lies in the hospital bed in India, as doctors work towards getting her eyesight back. Rumana tells media that the Hasan has always slapped and beaten her but never was is it this bad. Hasan not only hit her but he bit off a part of her nose and attempted to gauge out of her eyes. All this took place in front of their seven year old daughter who today is terrified of the consequences.
Zafar Sobhan writes in The Sunday Guarding that “The monstrous nature of the assault has shocked the nation, but the sad truth is that domestic violence is a casual and accepted part of life in Bangladesh“. Bangladesh is being identified with a cruel reality. Why? Because society has accepted this to be a part of their tradition allowing men like Hasan get away from actions.
The amount of international support that Manzur has received over the past few weeks show that this is something Bangladesh needs to evaluate in terms of protecting women from domestic abuse. Studies show that women who are more educated or have higher status in society than the husband are more likely to be victims of domestic violence. It’s quite unfortunate really as Bangladesh is constantly trying to increase the literacy rate. But it’s clearly a gender status issue as it was for Rumana’s case at least. It’s cases such as this that abide and hold this nation back from developing its literacy rate.
The question is what can be done to decrease and hopefully diminish domestic violence? Well for one, we need to constantly keep up our efforts to increase awareness about domestic abuse. So that future generations are well aware of the fact that it is not acceptable to let our fathers beat our mothers and accept it as a part of the culture. The current society needs to reform its ideas. Those people who think domestic violence is necessary to keep the women in line, the hell with them! They should be outside the community or behind bars.
Whether or not Rumana’s husband gets a sentence that he deserves, we as the society are also responsible for what has happened. If it not for society’s acceptance of this brutal act perhaps the outcome would have been different. Today we hope that Rumana’s eye sight will return so that she may live a life that she deserves with her daughter without any fear or regret.
Song about Rumana Manzur by Allen Sens.
UBC has created a website with various media sites in regarding Rumana’s case. Help raise fund for Rumana. Click here.