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June 22, 2011

Rumana Monzur

Today I went for a wonderful hike up the back of Mount Maxwell on Salt Spring. Most people drive up the long road. But, it`s possible to drive only part way up by taking a different road and then hike the rest by coming up the back on a marked trail. It was sunny and I'm aware of the signs when my mind is seeking relaxation to replace concentration on work. It was that kind of day. 

I went by myself after being shown the way by photographer John Cameron last week. I wanted to retrace our steps to see if I could choose the right fork in the road  while driving on the gravel road to find the small trail sign and to enjoy being in a wild place soaking in the energy of the trees, appreciating the green and feeling movement in a body that doesn't get nearly enough movement. I wanted to be alone with my thoughts in nature.

As I came back down from the walk which takes in the most spectacular views at the top, and I had my camera in hand, I stopped along the trail to inhale the silence; marvel at it actually. I remember thinking how wonderful, how freeing it was to be able to walk alone, in a forest, without fear for my personal safety.  I thought about nature deficit disorder and how much beauty surrounds us all daily in nature and how few people I ever come across when I go on trails here.

It wasn't until I returned from my hike that I saw the headline in The Vancouver Sun  newspaper about Rumana Monzur, a graduate student at UBC from Bangladesh (a fulbright scholar) who returned to Bangladesh to visit her four year old daughter and apparently in a vicious attack during an argument, her husband gouged out her eyes and bit her nose disfiguring her face. 

Now she is blind. Barbaric doesn`t describe the horror.  I thought of my own experience. Can you fathom how so few women in the world will experience what it is like to walk alone in a forest and be safe?

One in every two women is a victim of domestic violence in Bangladesh and around 60 per cent of women are subjected to torture in the hands of their husbands, a UN World Development report says.
On Sunday there will be a demonstration in front of The Vancouver Art Gallery at 3pm to show support for Monzur.  You can sign this petition to appeal for a timely judicial response in Bangladesh to her brutal attack by her husband.

Read if you`re curious, some up to date statistics on Family Violence in Canada.

Do you know the signs to watch for in your own relationship?


Nicole said...

There is a rally at the Vancouver Art Gallery on Jun 26, 2011, 3pm. You might be interested.


Also a website for Rumana:

Gayle Mavor said...

Thanks for the info Nicole.