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asif pixThe year was 1983. I was 9. In those days, colour TV was a rare commodity in Dhaka. We didn’t have it. But our neighbours next door, a middle-aged couple with a young girl, did. Luckily when we were at the roof, right by the water tank, we could hide and still get a direct view of the room where they had their brand new Sony colour TV. Once in a while, we would go and hide next to that tank to watch the ‘coloured’ ‘Incredible Hulk’. Who needs to listen to the dialogue when you can see the characters in colour? We were peeping toms watching our favourite monster go green in anger.

One night, however, the TV was not on air. Instead, we were introduced to a different monster – a live one, and it was none other than the man of the house. The husband was beating the wife while their 7-year-old daughter was begging mercy for her mother. I had never seen anything like that before. There was swearing followed by slaps, kicks followed by more swearing, slaps and kicks and it went on and on.

“Abbu, ar na, abbu, please ar na” – I still can hear the girl screaming at the top of her voice trying to save her mother, a respected teacher at Eden College.

Since the incident, I never tried to watch the green monster on their TV; I’ve seen that in real life. But a few days later, I saw the couple again. The husband was sipping tea and the wife reading a newspaper. Life went on as if nothing had happened.

Shhhhh… The culture of silence continues. Mum’s the word.

10 years later, I went abroad for higher studies. I took a job at the International Student Office at the university I was studying. I was the first point of contact for all the international students and so I knew the small group of Bangladeshi students there. We used to hang out as well. One of the most crowd-pulling members of that group, a PhD student, had just gotten married. He married his long time girlfriend. There was celebration, bodhuboron amid much laughter and fanfare.

Then, after a while, there was that phone call in my office:

“Asif, I don’t know if you can do something about this but he is very abusive. He kicked her out of the house and had her shiver in cold for hours.” One of the local bhabis was calling for help on behalf of the newly-wed girl, without her permission. “He beats her because he cannot control his anger,” she added.

Bewildered I asked, “But I thought this was a love marriage and they were together after a long separation”.

“He just has a strong temper” – was the rationalisation.

So I secretly sent her a note about the possible help she can get should she decides to leave him. But she didn’t. A few weeks later they both came to a party. We acted as if nothing had happened. She was putting on a smile of a lovely wife while he was cracking jokes and lecturing on how Bangladesh could be saved.

Life went on for the immigrant NRBs.

Shhhhh…The culture of silence goes on. Mum’s the word.

17 years later in 2010, I have moved back to Dhaka. A friend working at a very prestigious institute calls up.

“I have been trying to reach you for some time. You cannot tell anyone about this but you need to help me. I was living with a monster for 10 years. I was beaten unconscious once.”

How long did it continue, I asked?

“It started after a couple of years of marriage.”

“You are a highly educated, economically independent woman. Why did you stay with him for such a long time?”

“I thought it was going to be okay. He would apologise after every incident and everything would be fine for a couple of months and then it would start again. Finally, I had the courage to leave him. Now he wouldn’t leave me alone. But please don’t tell anyone. This is not very pleasant.”

Shhhhh… Still the culture of silence continues. Mum’s the word.

I don’t know the epilogue to the first two incidents I mentioned as I am not in touch with them. But I bet it is not much different from the third incident where the woman painfully woke up to the reality that once an abuser, always an abuser.

It has been 30 years since I saw the Eden College teacher get beaten black and blue by her husband in front of her daughter. A lot has changed. Colour TV is now available even at slums.

And yet, on some important matters, how little has changed!

The optimist in me would get excited in the statistics that 80 percent of the divorces in Dhaka last year were initiated by women — signalling that at least some women are realising that enough is enough. But I know I will be a fool to think that they are the majority. If Rumana Monzur too had shown the courage a little earlier, probably — just probably — her eyes would not have been ruptured to the point of going blind.

Hers was an extreme case, perhaps, and the ‘shobhbhyo shomaj’, as one newspaper called it, has been stunned by the sheer brutality of the crime. But this very ‘shobhbhyo shomaj’ would regularly pressurise the woman to ‘compromise’ (maniye cholo) in the other not so brutal (to-be-more-brutal) cases.

It took a monster to bite the nose off his wife to wake us up to the reality that we have a very serious problem in our society. But in all likelihood this culture of silence and ‘maniye chola’ will continue — sometimes for the children, sometimes for the society.

But how long? How long will it take us to realise that staying in an abusive relationship is more harmful to the children than not staying in it? How many slaps will it take before we realise that we have a problem here that will not go away unless we take an initiative?

Yes, I am talking to you — you, the parents of the abused daughter, who think that looking the other way would make the problem go away. I am talking to you, the patient wives, who think these ‘little incidents’ of the ‘hot tempered’ husbands must be ignored for the sake of a peaceful coexistence.

All you people — take a cold, hard look at the battered and brutalised face of Rumana Monzur and ask yourselves — whose face are you saving?

Shhhh….don’t answer. Mum’s the word.

Asif Saleh is a co-founder and contributor to Drishtipat Writers’ Collective.

57 Responses to “Whose face are we saving?”

  1. Afsana Islam

    Loved the write up. Couldn’t agree more! Abuse is abuse, no reason and, I repeat, NO REASON can justify beating up another person! The woman in an abusive relationship just needs a bit of courage and a lot of will power to give up the relationship and never look back!

    Yes I know the giving up hurts as we always want to have another chance to make it right. But we should know leaving it behind makes life even better. Come on ladies, live your life with dignity and some pride! Don’t hurt your soul!

    I have been there and I was there in your shoes. I know I had a life back there, I had the best moments of my life there but I also had my worst! And the “best” couldn’t compensate for the “worst”. So the choice is always yours. But please don’t put up with any sort of abuse for the sake of love, family, kids, parents, society. They don’t share the bruises you carry on your body and soul!

    Be brave enough, courageous enough to live for yourself. For at least once in your life!


  2. Shamsul Kaonain

    Ok, I just want to point it out that while all this talk about women equality and empowering of women are a sign of progress, it is also nothing more than “affirmative action” to enable the weak and the incapable to get a better stand in society.

    Do you know that in the name of women equality women are securing and ‘seeking’ their “superiority”? Do you know how a fake complaint from a woman is enough to tarnish a guy’s reputation? He may even end up in jail!

    I understand that women do not enjoy equal status so they should be given the opportunity, right? Then why do I see job ads saying “Women will be given preference”?

    Why do I have to stand in a bus after a tiring day while a woman just gets on and is presented with a seat that is reserved for them? Why is it that a women can (mis)use “sexual appeal” (yes it IS true) to get a good grade than the more deserving candidates?

    Does anyone have a reply to this?

    Why is it that women are always considered as the weakling? It is because they themselves do not stand up for their rights. If a woman has a questionable character or gives birth to a scandal, then it is spread mostly by… guess who… ANOTHER WOMAN. If a woman messes up in a relationship, then they are criticised most by other women.

    As regards the Rumana Monzur case, what took place is brutal and violent. But why is it falling under ‘Nari Nirjaton’ category? Isn’t it a plain and simple nirjaton case?

    Why do women want to create division and yet claim equality? It’s clearly not logical.

    Tell me one thing honestly, if women want equality then why do women complain about a guy who’s living off his wife’s earning? Why is this a big deal in society and why is this considered a big deal by women? Clearly, women like the situation they are in because they get an easy life, but when their plan backfires then women are “restrained”.

    I am not saying this is how everyone thinks and works, but this is the usual scenario.

    I ask women folk to give me a reply and prove me wrong. I would like to know what goes inside their head. Why do women feel so “inferior” all the times while they have so much opportunities?

    If you cannot utilize your opportunity then is it “society’s” fault or YOURS? I truly hope that someday women will realize what “equality” actually means.

  3. Lonely Dreamer

    Thank you for writing this piece. It speaks volumes of how our society has this bizarre notion for women to compromise and tolerate. It’s high time we broke out of this pathetic gender assigned attributes imposed on us by the society.

  4. Atta

    It is the society as a whole that we need to change, otherwise these cultural norms would never allow women and men to live to their fullest.

  5. aronno

    I don’t know how many times we will be angered and talk about revenge. What’s the solution? Changing the society, changing peoples’ mindset are the solutions!

    Ever since my student life, I can recollect lots of domestic abuse. Many of my friends got hitched after lengthy love affair. But after a few years once I followed up their conjugal life, I found out that most if not all guys intend to treat their wives as their property. They refused to consider that their spouses too had feelings of their own and a mind of their own.

    I have also found out that once married, couples tend to lose their human being identity and turn out to be ‘husbands’ and ‘wife’ only. And then comes the duties and responsibilities of husbands and wives that the society has designated for them.

    Here the reality starts talking. A husband should protect his wife, a wife should protect the family. The best is the wife, who can sacrifice her own wishes for the maintenance of the family. Two human beings get stuck in millions of ghost formulas. Some get angry, some get enormously powerful using this sentiment. A petty clerk with lean and thin health (talpatar shepai) husband after doing lots of oiling in office (yes sir, yes sir), comes back home and becomes an emperor. He shouts, beats his wife just to prove that he is the “husband”. And his wife keeps mum as this is what the society expects a wife to do.

    Domestic abuse will continue to exist until and unless the society changes its outlook and husbands and wives seen as human beings.

  6. Tahsin Azmain

    A great piece of writing indeed. A write-up very well addressed.

    I would like to share another concern to you all. In our society, any broken family, broken marriage is always seen as the woman’s fault. The guy ends up re-marrying and carries on with his life as if his previous marriage was no big deal. The girl on the other hand would suffer firstly because of her innocence and guilt (which at times is not her fault at all), and then because of the abusive eyes of the society and family. There once was a notion that parents don’t welcome their divorced daughter because of financial means but nowadays we see financially stable women are also being abused.

    It has gotten in our blood to keep an abusive attire over women but is it actually at all necessary? We should stop abuse at the initial stage like when a husband shouts at the wife for not getting the salt right in a dish and so on. Women have to be aware of their rights and maintain their dignity. At the same time, we should also change our view towards women. At least treat them with equal respect.

    Come on, it is our mother and sisters being beaten up everyday by no strangers but ourselves. I pity not the women but us, the men…

  7. kamal

    Dear Asif, people are being biased here. Male abuse is as severe and rampant as female abuse.

    Don’t forget that females are deadlier than males and the males endure at least five times more violence by their wives because the legal system of the country sides with the female. While Asifs are crying “Nari Nirjaton”, the society is turning a blind eye to “Purush Nirjaton”.

  8. M Azzajur Rahman Tapu

    One of the great pieces of writing I’ve ever read.

  9. shatraj

    It is really a mater of concern. We are facing a crucial situation; I think we should step forward and lodge mass awareness campaign about domestic violence.

    The new generation must know what is happening at home, gather information and be aware of it. As regards this, we must consider both sides of the story. We know that one hand alone cannot clap. If a male companion is beating up his woman, we can generally come to a consensus that the woman did something wrong. But no matter what the woman has done, beating her up cannot be allowed in anyway. It is inhumane. If this occurs, we can surely say what the male did was wrong and we should ostracise him.

    However, there are many other reasons behind domestic violence. Sometimes wives who stay home have nothing else to do but take care of the child and look after the household. As they have a lot of free times at hand, they get involved in extra-marital affairs or do something that is really unacceptable to the husbands.

    As I said, these are complex issues and needs to be dealt with sincerity and sensitivity without putting just party at the alter of crucifixion.

    • Karishma Mehjabeen

      It was refreshing to hear a man’s voice among all these chaos. Thank you for writing on this issue. It is a topic that has a personal appeal for me as I myself am a victim of domestic abuse and finally decided that it was about time I said ‘No’ to the inhuman torture.

      It took me a lot to realise that mine is not a marriage. It is a death sentence itself.

      When a woman faces domestic abuse, most if not all think of it as her destiny. They hardly try to fight back or ask questions about it. Rumana Monzur was lucky as she lives in Dhaka and her incident was highlighted. You cannot imagine the pain you go through when you face similar problem while abroad.

      I am glad to see Rumana’s news has received attention and likely the culprit will be punished. I hope the days are gone where only being a man allows you to do what you want and get away with it. I hope today all women do have the voice to say what they want, if not for themselves then for their kids, if even not for them then the people who gave birth to them, raised them. If that is not a good enough reason then just because you are born as a human being you should be living like one.

      No matter what you cannot beat another human being that is something which should be a part of our knowledge, imparted by our mother.

      If you want to build a strong nation, you need to have strong mothers.

    • Lonely Dreamer

      With all due respect, even if a woman is one of the “wives who stay home have nothing else to do but take care of the child and look after the household. As they have a lot of free times at hand, they get involved in extra-marital affairs or do something that is really unacceptable to the husbands” it still does NOT sanction domestic abuse!!

      Not only is it a layman’s excuse for condoning an act of violence, it is also startling how someone can use such a depraved and twisted form of reasoning to actually try to justify domestic abuse!

      So what if she was having an affair? I am pretty sure that that’s how most divorce attorneys ear their keep…also going by that same ‘reasoning’ would it be alright if the wife beats the husband up for cheating and having an affair?

      I’m pretty sure our misogynistic society would have something completely different to say about that!

      My point is, abuse is abuse. No one, and I mean NO ONE has the right to beat someone else up regardless of the reason.

  10. Tasneem Athar

    Dear Asif, I am touched by your observations and sensitivity towards the issue. Yes, mum’s the word!

    It is the so-called social “norms” that raises eye-brows towards a divorcee and ever ready to blame the girl and her parents for not instilling the “right” values in their daughter (like the women you mentioned in the piece).

    What bothers me is that when Islam has recognised the issue and provided the scope for divorce under valid circumstances, why do women need to wait till it gets out of hand and then pay with their lives?

    And another important aspect is there is hardly any professional counselling available in the country! I know of many people who are struggling to keep their so-called marriage intact but have no idea how and who to seek help from.

  11. Shahjahan Siraj

    I understand the feeling of Asif bhai. However, my opinion is, most of the time conflict takes place because of selfishness. We must have to be educated to overcome the selfishness, otherwise including domestic, no violence will ever stop!

    We are all mostly selfish. The clash occurs when subject and object both become arrogant, and don’t understand each other. The problem generally occurs due to lack of moral education. Children who don’t get proper education from parents, who don’t express sibling love, become crazy selfish in conjugal life. A selfish person tends to look at conjugal happiness from sexual and materialistic way. But real love comes when one really understand each other.

    My suggestion, our parents and family members should pay more attention in giving the child moral and psychological education. One person must be morally and psychologically fit for understanding other(s) before love and/or marriage takes place. Otherwise, culture of selfishness, culture of violence will never stop.

  12. Milton Gomes

    The worst thing is, people are now blaming the woman for having an affair with an Iranian guy who she went to college with in Canada.

    The mention of the Iranian guy is everywhere – print, electronic, internet media, everywhere.

    Many are also saying that as the father of the victim is an ex-army officer, he influenced the police to work in favour of the victim.

    Just like all other similar incidents of domestic violence, in this one too the blame will likely be shifted on the woman.

    When a woman/man wants to leave his/her respective spouse, just let it happen. The world is a big place where one will sure to find many others to love.

    Live and let live.

  13. Khairul Rahman

    Media should report both sides of the story. They shouldn’t be sympathetic to Rumana only, just because she is a teacher of Dhaka University.

    What she has done, did she set a good example to her fellow DU faculties and students? It was Rumana who started it and her husband Syed eventually ended it.

    Now both the families are suffering a lot because of this incident. Both Rumana and Syed should have thought about their little angel Anusha before what they both did. May Allah bless them.

    • Joao Ninguem

      “Rumana ‘can’t cheat'”

      Statements from people who knew Rumana during her stay in St. John’s College (an international graduate residence in which more that 150 scholars live “together” in The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada) strongly refuting the accusations by her husband.

  14. masud

    Physical abuse, whether it is implicated by a man on a woman (which is predominant even in USA and other western society) or by a women on a man, is not acceptable. What happened is not a simple physical abuse; it is the most ferocious attack on a human being by a monster. To my judgment destroying someone’s ability to see and deforming organs are crueler than killing a person. Even if the allegation that she has an extra-marital affair is true this brutality by her husband is beyond the limit of any civil society. If the allegation that she attacked him first, he could have run away and reported it to her parents, relatives, friends or police.

    So please do not try to justify his ugly action directly or indirectly. He should be given exemplary punishment. Only after his punishment, we can have philosophical debate about the roles and responsibilities of both the husband and the wife in keeping peace and harmony in their life in a difficult time when both the husband and the wife are constantly being tested by external pressure (it can be familial, romantic, professional or financial). Her action (if any) can also be investigated afterward so that the rest of the society can learn how to deal with this type of situation when the husband or the wife is not happy in their conjugal life and is seeking comfort through extra-marital relations.

  15. E Haque

    Excellent piece. The writer made a very important point here. I think it’s high time that women in Bangladesh stood up for themselves.

    Once an abuser, always an abuser. Agreed that abuse can go both ways and victims of abuse are not gender dependant BUT for the case of the university lecturer this is obviously not the case!

  16. Farin

    I am an executive at a renowned local bank. I had a similar experience in my life. From the third day of my marriage, I have been mentally abused, and physical abuse began within the second month of our marriage.

    It initiated, just as you said, on the pretext of ‘uncontrolled temper’. My husband was a complete monster. His greed for money, his alcohol and drug addiction, his overpowering mother – all pent up anger and frustration could find only one outlet and that was beating me up like crazy. I had to go to the doctor twice after he beat me up severely.

    And, after every incident, he would break into tears, grovel at my feet and promise never to repeat his brutal act although the torture would again take place within a few months.

    When I got tired of acting a happy wife to the outer-world, I decided to divorce but, a number of my relatives persuaded me not to, rather to carry on, as according to them, the society is more dangerous for divorced singles.

    Then one day, after another round of beating up, I ended up almost unconscious, vein of one of my fingers almost slit, bruises all over my body.

    I went to Gulshan Thana, after three days of hospital stay, to file a case. But, none of the police inspectors was cooperative. I went there three consecutive days, and, by that time, I learnt that my husband, Mir Mofazzal Hossain, already had bribed the police with one lakh taka. This is how justice works in our country.

    Now, my relatives console me saying I should be thankful to god, as I am still alive despite of living with a monster. But, I am still counting on days to see all these monsters heavily punished.

  17. Tanisha

    Rumana’s husband’s account of the event sounds nothing but concocted and phoney. Does he really want us to believe that the attacks on his wife were not intentional? “I lost my glasses so I couldn’t see, she might have gotten hurt in the process”? This is the type of excuse primary school children come up with for not having done their homework.

    Unfortunately, a lot of people are ready to accept such an excuse from an abusive husband. In this culture, when a woman decides to leave her husband, we malign her with things like “Extramarital affairs.” Seriously, how many times have you all heard this? “Meyetar choritro kharap.”

    Asif, whenever you are in a position to stop an abusive relationship from continuing, please act. Sometimes it takes more than words of support to persuade an abused person, whether man or woman, from leaving a relationship that they have invested in.

  18. Maria

    When a divorce takes place in any known girl’s life, my mother says, this is the problem of this generation. The girls of this generation can’t adjust. If you compromise then things may change in future.

    I get scared thinking if I have to take a similar decision i.e. get a divorce, my mother will not support me. She will tell me to adjust till my last breath.

    My mother also says that I may have problem in future as she thinks I will not be able to adjust because my excellent academic result is making me unruly.

    I am just petrified thinking what would happen if I become a victim of domestic violence.

  19. Farhanaz

    A very thought provoking piece, makes me wonder whether we are actually doing the right thing i.e. creating hullabaloo over a few incidents and then forgetting about the remaining women (in hundreds and thousands) who are victims of domestic violence.

    Apart from condemning these brutal attacks on women, we should launch more and more awareness campaigns, hold talk shows etc. Have you noticed how the media is treating Rumana’s case? Do we find any social worker, counsellor, activist speaking up in prime time TV on matters of domestic abuse? No. The truth is our society is very uncomfortable dealing with domestic violence. We need to change our attitudes soon, before another green monster pounces on another Rumana again!

  20. Russel

    Men are magnetic and women are electric. Electricity is must to run the motor (which is made by magnet). So women are a valuable part of our life.

    I am shocked and astonished to hear about a Dhaka University professor like Rumana Monzur being tortured by her husband who is also an educated person (from BUET). How can an educated person like him act so ferocious towards his wife?

    I demand exemplary punishment meted out to that beast.

  21. Sutapa Das

    An eye opener. But it will go on and on unless everyone comes forward and resist domestic violence. Do not expect the victim only to protest such torture.

    Others should also come forward and not stay away saying that domestic violence is a personal matter.

  22. shakil

    It is very interesting that some of the comments are withheld or censored by the moderator. I do hope the moderator is not trying to censor those comments sent by males.

    Women these days have become more powerful than men. Dear Moderator, please publish all the comments — support us, men, too.

    This article is completely biased that generalises the entire male folk.

  23. Meer Ahsan Habib

    Thank you for your piece. It’s time to break the silence and ring the bell.

  24. Sumon (Brooklyn Park)

    One solution to this problem i.e. economic emancipation of women.

    In our male dominated society, we take advantage of our wives only when we know that she has no places to go. We must pay more attention to women’s education and punish those who commits domestic violence.

    • Tasneem Athar

      Yes unfortunately even educated women take such torture and abuse, mental and physical, for the sake of future of the child, fearing social stigma, etc.

      There has to be exemplary punishment meted out to the abuser. Women should be provided stronger legal protection where they do not have to show torture marks to convince the police to take up their case. The Nari Nirjatan law, I am told, requires such evidence. What about mental torture? What evidence do we have to prove that?

      • Harun

        Dear Tasneen Athar: Your point is valid for ABUSED MEN too. Many women are abusing men everyday at home (physical, mental and financial). However, there is no law to protect men from physical abuse by women forget about protecting them from mental and financial tortures.

        Will you be so kind to raise your voice in support of abused men too and call for “Purush Nirjatan Law” to stop domestic abuse against men? Then, I will call you a real human being. We need your support, ladies. We men are abused by female partners and suffering everyday, throughout the country, all over the world.

        Please help and protect us, ladies.

      • Milton Gomes

        Harun, grow up.

        Men have more physical strength than women so stop crying and act like a man.

  25. Susan Davis

    Thank you Asif for this excellent piece that aims to break the silence as regards the “the green monsters” inside us. The truth is that people who have been abused often go on to become abusers themselves and perpetuate the cycle. Self-abuse and hurting others is pervasive in all cultures, classes and genders. The solution lies in fostering greater social and emotional competencies: self awareness, self-regulation, social awareness, responsible decision making and relationship skills. Self-regulation or self-control of our emotions is the key to managing anger, frustration, humiliation and other powerful feelings. Lack of impulse control and poor ability to manage these emotions leads to these kinds of violent explosions. Lack of self-awareness keeps us trapped. Indeed, the ‘journey inward is our longest journey.’ I am glad there are larger numbers of people willing to take these brave steps.

    • Mahfuz

      Thank you Susan for the excellent comment. I absolutely agree with you — “the solution lies in fostering greater social and emotional competence …” Unfortunately, we are really behind in these regards – even our write-ups lack these points.

  26. sajjad

    It goes both ways. We heard one side of the story. And we started a media trial right away. The husband too may have his own story to tell us. And we do not know who attacked who and why.

    Male-abuse is always side-stepped in our society. There are many husbands who are daily battered by their wives, physically or mentally, and no one to rescue. Women are a clear majority in this country of 170+million people and cruelty to husbands need a society to prevent.

    • Asif

      Regardless of whatever story the husband has, biting someone’s nose off and gauging her eyes out is taking it too far, unless we find out that the lady attempted to kill him at that moment and he was only defending himself. Also, we may not know who started the physical abuse, but we do know who became the main victim. Had the husband been harmed seriously, he wouldn’t be able to flee the scene. He would have gone to some hospital too.

      Also, male abuse does happen and we should focus on that too but I don’t understand how that is linked to this one. As far as this case is concerned, the issue of male abuse is irrelevant as of now. We have a wife who has been severely wounded by her husband and a husband who instead of facing things rationally and legally, ran away.

      • shakil

        According to media reports, Rumana also tried to kill Sayeed on June 2, 2011 forcing him to take 101 sleeping pills and Sayeed was in the same hospital, Lab Aid, for three days.

        Allah saved Sayeed. During then where were you Asif, to protest this attempt to murder? Rumana should be tried for attempted murder. No law is supporting men. They are abused too. Did you see any woman ever supporting men who are abused by women?

    • Chitro

      Sajjad, this is the kind of mentality that has gotten us to this sad point. No matter what the situation is, beating the spouse (or even anyone else for that matter) is an absolute no-no.

      For any issue, there is a more civil way to resolve things. But apparently the culture in Bangladesh (and in some other nations) has formed in a way that beating the spouse is more acceptable and often praised than seeking separation. Having a discussion or a dialogue between the spouses can often be seen as a weakness.

    • Emrose

      Mr Sajjad, you should be ashamed of yourself on putting up this sad excuse in your comment. Agreed that there maybe another perspective to the story, and yes perhaps it may even be true as some media reports suggest, that she had an extramarital affair, however, that does not give him rights to gauge out her eyes! And as for your comment “we do not know who attacked who and why” – are you completely out of your senses? He seems to be in fine shape for a man ‘attacked’ by his wife!

      “There are many husbands who are daily battered by their wives, physically or mentally, and no one to rescue”- do you really feel we live in a society where males are oppressed?

      Your comments are a joke. Free up your mind a little, maybe guys like you are the reason we are faced with problems like these.

      • sajjad

        Joke or not, I stand by my comment that media trials have become a part of our culture. Let the law decide who was to blame for it. In a fight, if one party is hurt, you can’t just conclude that the other party was guilty.

        And, just like we have Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, we also need to have Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Husbands! Becoming blind by media reports is not a good thing.

      • Emrose

        Mr. Sajjad, I am in agreement with you on media trials, and also agree that media often distorts facts to gain popular momentum.

        You say that in a fight, if one party is injured, you can’t just conclude that the other party was guilty. In this particular case though, where we know there was a fight between the two parties (Ms Rumana and her husband), and one was badly injured (Ms Rumana), are we to assume the husband is innocent, or did Ms Rumana inflicted the injuries on her by herself?

        Your illogical reasoning baffles me, and once again the male ego has drowned out all reasons.

      • Harun

        Why should Sajjad be ashamed of his comment? I think, Emrose, you need to be ashamed of for your racial, feminist outlook.

        Why don’t you ladies try to listen to the male plight as well? We, men are abused too by our women partners at home. Why don’t you ever raise your voice to protect male from domestic violence?

        On June 12, a naval officer was murdered by his wife and daughters — but no one, not a single woman, not a single piece of article, is raising voices against Martin’s murder. Martin was a poor fellow, a male. And males don’t seem to have right to be protected by any law. Whereas the whole media is sympathetic towards and talking about Rumana, who tried to murder her husband, Sayeed, on June 2 2011.

        We need a “Purush Nirjaton Law” like “Nari Nirjatan Law”. We supported you for “Nari Nirjatan Law”. Now please support us ladies for adopting “Purush Nirjatan Law”. This to ensure there is no domestic violence against any human being, be it male or female.

    • Meer Ahsan Habib

      It goes both ways – in such case you have the choice to abandon her, divorce her, can stay separated and so on but physical torture to this extent!! Good lord! What are we defending?

      • Akhtar Shah

        Spot on Mr. Habib. Such brutal attack on ANYBODY is condemnable.

        Inability to deal with “anger” is deep-rooted in the psyche and no “silver bullet” solution is available.

        I understand that a “start” needs to be made somewhere. I would suggest primary school would be a good place to start, teaching youngsters at an early age that there are other non-violent ways of resolving “conflicts”.

    • Russel

      Dear Sajjad, stop coming up with excuses. You are depicting or fabricating to express your racism against women.

      This may be called “ranting”.

    • Mahera

      Sajjad’s comment is the reflection of our so-called “shobhyo shamajer chehara”. This is so disgraceful! How can one think such way!

      Shame! Shame!

  27. Habibullah N Karim

    Excellent piece, Asif! Very moving. Hope it moves people into action. Best, Habibullah Karim

  28. BDeshi Mahathir

    None can do anything to prevent such torture other than the victim herself. Law can punish the torturer but cannot prevent such torture. The state cannot appoint police at every house — neither can afford it, nor can invade privacy.

    What the society can do is change its outlook towards separated, divorced women and react sympathetically if any woman shares her story of torture by her husband. Only then will women prefer to speak out, talk about the torture by their husbands, and stop keeping mum.

  29. Rubo

    For no apparent reason, I decided to remain a bachelor, but it did not deter me from attending wedding ceremonies going “borjatri” etc. Being fond of kacchi biriyani, any wedding invitation is always a welcome news for me though it cuts the corner of my pocket a bit. And I always reserve my best wishes for any newly wed couple.

    Anyway, I have seen the lives of many couples which made me realise that not all marriages guarantee happiness. Many couples apparently seen in public as very happy, which sometimes may make others jealous, theirs are nothing but acting. In reality, within the walls of their real life, it is painfully painted with tears and sometimes blood.

    Rumana’s case is another classic example. This gentleman has been living with his in-laws for years and the victim’s father living in the same house did not know until this incident that his daughter was facing abuses for years. Very strange indeed!

    It will be unwise to blame the husbands only for the differences, quarrels, abuses and other causes instrumental to ruin married lives and depriving the couples of divine happiness. Some way or the other both contribute to the bitterness. In any marriage, divorce is always an option. When differences become irreconcilable, it is better to go for divorce.

  30. Sumon

    What do you suggest for those 80% divorcees! Ask those 80% divorcees after a year of their divorce how is life treating them! How those so-called women rights activists are treating them! How many of them are better off!

    You have spoken about a real problem – thanks for that but we all know that! Why are you suggesting people to get into bigger trouble? Breaking the silence is ok but shame on you if you are suggesting going to law enforcement agencies for redress! Suggesting a workable, descent solution does not have to be a Nobel laureate’s job! Why did you not suggest an alternative to keeping “Mum”?

  31. Faisal

    Asif, exactly the same sentiment I hold on this. God knows whether this society will ever change; but we all have to try.

  32. Firoz Salahuddin

    Dear Asif Bhai, I am touched and thrilled by your write-up. You are absolutely right that girls are treated so brutally in their family lives whereas their parents think these ‘little incidents’ of the ‘hot tempered’ husbands must be ignored for the sake of a peaceful coexistence!

    Like Rumana Monzur, I too have a friend who was beaten up by her husband who tortured her for the last 10 years of her married life. The last brutal torture was in front of their daughter and coincidently like Rumana Manzur, the incident took place in her father’s house! Since then she is living with her parents but the same ‘maniye cholo’ mentality works here. Her parents continuously tell her to compromise and return to her husband!

    We all should take steps to motivate and educate the parents and girls to raise their voice against all tortures and abuses. Incidents aplenty around us.

  33. rumana

    The writer is absolutely right. Every woman wants her child to have a father and keep the child protected by a father. So the mothers keep their voices unheard even if they are victims of domestic violence.

    Thank you for realistic piece.

  34. shakil

    Darwin’s theory 101: “men evolve to attract the opposite sex”. So, by writing this one-sided article to generalise and victimise the male gender, the author might attract lots of opposite sex support.

    However, the author should remember that he will be attaining that at the cost of the pain of millions of untold stories of abused men all over the country (Bangladesh) and the world.

    Domestic abuse against men is a reality — men are abused at the same rate like that of their counterpart.

    Sorry, I do not agree with this cruel article generalising all male and portraying only one side of the story.

    • Lonely Dreamer

      Yes men ARE abused but allow me to point one simple thing out to you. They are statistically LESS abused than women. And yes, figures are important when dealing with cases like these.

      But before you decide to run off with that statistics and decide to make every man on this planet a martyr deserving a knighthood, let me state a few things.

      I am pretty sure the writer did not imply in any form or way that all men are abusers (please try to understand the age-old story of causation vs. correlation, it’s Psychology 101….also umm just out curiosity where did exactly Darwin say that? I did read his Origin of Species once…paraphrasing is a tricky business).

      There are men who are abused, just like there are women who are abused in greater number. Pitting one of them against the other is not only disgraceful but shows a lack of tact. It’s almost like saying how someone who lost a leg is more handicapped than someone who lost an arm! It makes no sense.

      DO try not to undermine the fact in our society that more women are abused than men, and while society is far kinder to men it is, pardon my choice of words, a hellhole full of people with more influence and less of a brain and conscience, for women.

      Furthermore, this is a case, a singular entity that, by no means can be used as a representative of the mass. It can, however, be used as a beacon of undiluted darkness that abusers are capable of, which just happens to be in this a male abuser, brutally abusing his wife.

  35. Zubaida Iqbal

    I am working towards my doctorate in jurisprudence and recently learned a term in criminal law ‘Battered woman syndrome’. This syndrome has a cycle (Love-tension building-beating the wife-repent and apology-love).

    During the repent and apology period, the wife tries to believe that everything will be okay but the cycle keeps repeating itself over years.

    Person in the abusive relationship can use ‘Battered woman syndrome’ in the court to leave, punish the other spouse and also as defence if the battered person fought back and injured the abusive person.

    It is high time we demanded laws for battered women especially in this society where battery has become a common phenomenon.

    • shakil

      Great. I encourage Zubaida Iqbal to study “Battered MEN syndrome” too. Some scholars should study this important topic as domestic abuse against men is increasing all over the world. As a woman, herself, Zubaida can lead this kind of research on “Battered MEN syndrome”. It will produce interesting output in this 21st century.

  36. Faizul Momen

    “How many slaps will it take before we realised that we have a problem here that will not go away unless we take an initiative?” — sad but true in our society, especially where wedding events are unbelievably and disproportionately expensive, as well as the divorced women are still regarded socially misfits.

    This cannibalistic monster’s act should wake us up before it’s too late!

  37. Mohammad Zaman

    This is a wonderful piece.
    I have not read a piece like this for long.

    You are really a “Su-Jon”.

    When I see people like you going back home, I can see the light at the end.

    Keep the good work.

    Zaman Bhai

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