Blinded because she wanted an education: Rally for Rumana Manzur

Hundreds gathered outside the Vancouver Art Gallery, slowly but surely people came streaming from every side of the square, looking around at each other, looking towards the steps, knowing their purpose was to Stop Violence Against Women. What sparked this solidarity was Rumana Manzur who was blinded days ago by her husband, her nose partially ripped from her face as he bit her, a vicious attack…Why?….because she is a woman who had the audacity to pursue her education.


Rumana, who is from Bangladesh, had experienced violence from her husband before but kept the abuse private from many her knew her. Despite this abuse she bravely continued her life as a wife, mother, scholar and University of British Columbia student. It was while in Bangladesh, writing her masters thesis, where her life would change forever. I wish I could say that this life altering attack  was unique but we all know many women around this globe try as best as they can to survive unspeakable acts of abuse against their minds and bodies. The role of justice for Rumana is being critically observed. There are now many eyes on this case which one hopes will mean something to those who hold the power to ensure her safety, adhere to the laws and punish her husband.

The University of BC’s students, faculty and friends of Rumana did a great job of organizing this rally with a goal to raise awareness about violence against women as well as support Rumana’s cause. Men and women of all ages and ethnicity’s showed up; this was truly not a gender or culturally slanted gathering. Instead, couples, families, young and old shared the experience of demonstrating.


My husband stood side by side with me, as he was just as outraged about this attack as I was and that is how it should be.Violence against women is not a “woman’s issue” it is a human issue.

Men need to be just as irate about abuse against women and this statement was made at the rally; men must stop this! They can begin by not supporting other men who exhibit abusive behaviour; if they hear of abuse from a friend or family member they should speak up. I agree, that when men become fully involved in this issue there will be political, judicial, community, cultural and family shifts that can help reduce the incidences of abuse. 

Rumana fought bravely for her life, enduring considerable pain all within view of her tiny daughter. Multiple lives have been impacted by an act of extreme hatred. The unconscionable conduct of men who have feared the advancement of women, men who have laid claim to their wives and daughters as property to be managed rather than respected, has caused considerable grief to many. We all pay for their hatred. If you wish to give to a campaign to help Rumana with her long road ahead please go to



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