Every so often a story comes along that makes you want to revert into toddler mode, kicking and screaming about how unfair a situation is, and make you wish you could just shut your eyes and have it go away. The case of Nurbanu is one of those times. Nurbanu is a woman living in Shatkira in south west Bangladesh, who divorced her husband after he was unfaithful to her. Just eight days later, he returned and threw acid in her face in an attack that blinded her, and has left her face horribly and permanently disfigured. For his crimes, Nurbanu’s husband spent just a year in prison, but that’s not even the worst of it. His mother, Nurbanu says, “made me sign an affidavit to have him released. She used my sons to convince me to marry him again.” Yep. She had to not only approve of his release from prison after a horrifying and brutal attack, but she has to live with the man who did this to her as his wife. Despite the fact that the attack rendered her not only blind but partially disabled, unable to even prepare a meal for herself, she receives no care.
Violence against women is hugely prevalent in Bangladesh, and “a major obstacle for women’s ability to access their rights”, as Monira Rahman, the CEO of the acid survivors association in Bangladesh says. In 2011, the number of recorded acid attacks alone numbered at one hundred and eleven in Bangladesh. Since re-marrying her violent husband, Nurbanu notes that the abuse has not relented, and she is still beaten by him on a regular basis.
“This,” she says, “is how my days go by.”