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“Untying the Knot”: Misogynist Bangladesh Exposed

“Untying The Knot” is a very unpleasant documentary as it applies to “partner abuse” in Bangladesh where 73% of married women are subject to abuse by their husbands. That is a shocking number but what is more shocking is that it is accepted as a social norm by many. Most women are treated as maids and baby makers. Divorce is a slap in the face to masculinity.

We hear the stories of unhappiness and misery from four well educated and very intelligent women. The beatings are often vicious and unprovoked. One poor women Zasmin, taped an attack by her husband on her phone. The degree of violence and its intensity is frightening.

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In the midst of this misery we encounter Jannatan Naima who seemingly has hit the jackpot with a man who seems to respect her and her fierce sense of independence. But the Bangladeshi macho slowly grows until he simply has to know at all times where Jannatan is and what she is doing. Well that marriage didn’t last long.

While Director Zana Shammi wanted viewers to witness Bangladeshi marital abuse and misogyny there is a central tale of courage, reliance and hope as we see the bittersweet story of Rumana Monzur As a visiting student at the University of British Columbia completing her Masters in Political Science she returned home to Dhaka in May 2011 and told her abusive husband she was seeking a divorce. That news did not sit very well with him and he viciously attacked her gouging out her eyes and biting part of her nose off.

It was only after two weeks of public protests in Bangladesh that the husband was arrested! He later died of a cardiac arrest in custody. After seeing a video of Rumana recovering in the hospital fellow students send audio messages of support to Rumana giving her the courage to continue.

She eventually returned to Vancouver bringing her family with her and successfully completed law school at UBC and currently is working in the Department of Justice Canada. What a story about overcoming adversity!

“Untying the Knot” makes its broadcast premiere on documentary Channel on November 24 at 9 pm ET/PT in advance of the U. N.’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on November 25th.

I find Director Shammi’s statement quite revealing, “I have never witnessed or experienced intimate partner violence. Before hearing Rumana’s story, I was naïve to believe that abuse only exists in uneducated or otherwise disempowered families.”

If Untying The Knot refers to the knot of Bangladeshi misogyny it is Gordian Knot!

To see the trailer

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