Peter A Allard School of Law

Out of Darkness: A conversation with Denise Chong and Rumana Monzur

Event Description

Join us to hear from author Denise Chong (BA ’77) about her new book, Out of Darkness: Rumana Monzur's Journey through Betrayal, Tyranny and Abuse. The book explores Rumana Monzur’s (MA’13, JD’17) story of domestic abuse in times of cultural turmoil and celebrates her irrepressible spirit as she found light in sudden darkness.

From the outside, Rumana seemed an unlikely victim of domestic abuse: well educated, married to a man of her own choosing, and progressing in her career as a professor of international relations at Dhaka University in Bangladesh. But in 2011, on return from graduate studies at the University of British Columbia (UBC), her husband attacked and blinded her in front of their young daughter. Rumana's UBC friends rallied to support her, drew international attention to her plight, and helped bring her to Vancouver in an attempt—ultimately futile—to restore her sight. Rumana’s story reminds us that there are no typical victims of intimate-partner violence, but also that there is tremendous strength in community:

Throughout my challenging journey, there were moments when the weight of my hardships threatened to overwhelm me. Lost in a sea of doubt, I succumbed to a loss of faith in myself. It was during these darkest times that my UBC family emerged as a beacon of hope. Their unwavering support not only restored my faith but made me feel as if I had lost two eyes, only to gain hundreds. (Rumana Monzur)

This special event will bring together Denise and Rumana for a thoughtful conversation about Rumana’s personal journey from Bangladesh to Vancouver, the UBC community that supported her escape from domestic abuse, and the global effort to expose and combat intimate-partner violence. 

Doors will open at 6:30pm, the formal program will begin at 7:00pm, and the reception and book signing will begin at 8:00pm. Out of Darkness: Rumana Monzur's Journey through Betrayal, Tyranny and Abuse will be available for purchase on site. Light refreshments will be available during the reception 

This event is presented by the Peter A. Allard School of Law, the UBC Faculty of Arts and St. John's College UBC and is free, but registration is required. 

Speakers

Denise Chong

Denise Chong is an award-winning author whose work portrays the lives of ordinary people caught in the eye of history. She earned a BA in Economics at the University of British Columbia (1975) and an MA in Economics and Public Policy at the University of Toronto (1978). Chong began her writing career as a journalist on the Ubyssey, the UBC student newspaper. Best known for her family memoir, The Concubine’s Children; The Girl in the Picture about the napalm girl of the Vietnam War; and Egg on Mao, a story of love and defiance in China of 1989, she lives in Ottawa.  

Rumana Monsur

Rumana Monzur was born in Dhaka and lost her sight in 2011. After surviving a brutal attack in her native Bangladesh which left her blind for life, her decision to complete her Master’s in Political Science at the University of British Columbia (MA, 2013) and pursue law at the Peter A. Allard School of Law (JD, 2017) - all while learning to live without sight - was itself a study in patience - with a steep learning curve. Rumana’s persistence and passion remain unabated. Today, she lives and practices law in Vancouver and continues to champion the rights of women and of persons with disabilities. 

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Affiliation

  • Allard School of Law
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