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Courage to Come Back: Physical Rehabilitation recipient survives spousal abuse, advocates victims

Last Updated Jul 30, 2020 at 8:01 am PDT

Rumana Monzur is one of Coast Mental Health's Courage to Come Back Month award recipients. (Courtesy Coast Mental Health)

Vancouver (NEWS 1130) – Spousal abuse left her legally blind, but still, she persisted. Today, Rumana Monzur advocates for others trying to escape abusive relationships.

The UBC graduate is the 2020 Courage To Come Back award recipient in the category of Physical Rehabilitation.

“Being in an abusive relationship is not okay,” she says. “You have other options, which I didn’t know [I had] when I was in an abusive relationship.”

In 2011, during a trip home to Bangladesh, her then-husband gouged out her eyes, leaving her legally blind and in need of reconstructive surgery. Monzur had to learn how to read and write again, all while caring for a small child and aging parents.

Listen to John Ackermann’s interview with Rumana Monzur:

Now, Monzur is a lawyer with federal department of justice and advocates for others trying to escape abuse. “I just want to show women, and even men, that they have other options,” she says. “It’s not the end of their lives. It’s my way of trying to give back to my community.

“I feel that I have learned as my journey progressed and I just want to share it because I just don’t want anyone else to suffer like me and end up like me.”

Already the subject of an award-winning documentary, Monzur is now working on a book she hopes to publish in the Spring of 2021.

“I feel that if I can change one woman’s, one person’s, thought who is in a similar situation, I would feel that my effort has been successful.”

NEWS 1130 is a proud sponsor of Coast Mental Health’s Courage to Come Back Awards, one of the largest fundraising events of its kind in Western Canada. COVID-19 has drastically impacted funding for Coast Mental Health and many services have been forced to close down to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. This year, instead of a singular event, Coast Mental Health is dedicating the month of July to Courage and the five extraordinary recipients who have overcome adversity to give back to their community. Every Thursday in July, NEWS 1130 will profile a recipient on-air and online. For more information or to make a donation, please visit couragetocomeback.ca.