Student blinded in vicious attack graduates from UBC law school
Published Wednesday, May 24, 2017 1:13PM PDT
Last Updated Wednesday, May 24, 2017 6:14PM PDT
Six years after the attack that changed her life and took her eyesight, Rumana Monzur is celebrating an academic milestone – and looking ahead to a bright future in law.
Monzur was a University of B.C. political science student and assistant professor at the University of Dhaka in 2011 when she was attacked by her husband during a trip home to Bangladesh.
He gouged her eyes out and bit off part of her nose, because she had decided to pursue her education abroad. The violence happened in front of their young daughter.
Hassan Sayeed was charged with attempted murder, but later died in custody while awaiting trial.
But instead of giving up, the student used the experience to advocate for victims of domestic violence and reinvigorate her passion for learning.
When doctors in India and Bangladesh said there was nothing more that could be done to save her sight, friends and UBC staff made arrangements for her to be rushed back to Vancouver for treatment.
More than $95,000 in donations flooded in from around the world to pay for medical and living expenses, including bringing her daughter and parents to live with her in British Columbia. She completed her master's degree at UBC in 2013 and began studying law.
"I won't deny it was really hard. It's still hard when you can't go here and you can't go there and you can't see your own daughter," she said.
The journey has not been easy, and Monzur recounted her experience as the speaker for her graduating class Wednesday at UBC.
"I never saw the world again. UBC gave me direction when I was lost," she told the packed auditorium of students, professors and families.
Now that her studies are complete, the graduate starts work with an international law firm in the fall.
Monzur says she once wondered if she'd ever smile again, but that fear is now gone.
"I won't live a sad life," she said.
With a report from CTV Vancouver's Maria Weisgarber