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May 06 2012

“So He Cut Off Her Fingers” Update

In December, I passed along the story of Hawa Akther, whose husband cut off the fingers of her right hand when he found she was attending college.

The BBC has an update, with both good and bad news. The good news is, Ms. Akther is a remarkable woman. Her right hand has been surgically modified by rehabilitation doctors so that she can hold a pen or pencil, and she is right back on her quest to become a lawyer:

“All those horrible things happened to me because I wanted to study. So, I will pursue my education. Doctors say I cannot write [in] my exam for three hours at a stretch. So, I need a writer for the exam. But I will continue practising with my right hand,” she said.

Her determination to fulfil this objective has even tempted her to break rules at home.

“I had to register and pay exam fees three days after my fingers were cut off. So, my parents told me not to sit for them this year,” she said.

“But I didn’t want to miss it. So I took money from my mother’s handbag without her knowledge and paid my fee,” she said with a giggle.

The bad news is that she is but one example of what is a growing problem:

The 2011 Human Rights Report by the Odhikar organisation points out that violence against women is on the rise in the country.

It said that more than 300 women may have been killed in dowry-related violence last year. In addition to this, dozens of women were also killed in rape and acid attacks.

There is social stigma attached to reporting such incidents; I can only hope that Akther’s case makes her an international hero, that she can model perseverance and courage, and that newly empowered women will change the world.

4 comments

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  1. 1
    Paddy

    Sometimes, when I read stories like this (about the cutting off of the fingers, not about the remarkable woman driving on), I have to just get away from the internet and stop reading news, etc.

    I’m so overwhelmed with anger and confusion, that someone could actually think this is the right thing to do, and with frustration at how far the world still has to go to eradicate this kind of insanity.

    How do you keep from falling into despair, Cuttlefish? How do you mitigate the feeling of utter exhaustion that comes over you after reading the 100th story like this…

    Maybe I just need sleep, but wow, I need to step away.

  2. 2
    janiceintoronto

    What country is this? You didn’t say.

  3. 3
    Cuttlefish

    Sorry, Janice– that would be Bangladesh.

  4. 4
    WandP

    In working as an Accident lawyer I hear about a lot of injuries but to hear about something like this- an accident purposely inflicted by another human being is just disgusting.

    This is so disheartening to hear about. I totally agree with Paddy. This is confusing and truly disturbing. I am happy to hear that Ms. Akther is continuing to pursue her college career. She truly is a remarkable person.

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