Photo Essay

A Tale of Bibi Zohora

A Tale of Bibi Zohora_01

Bibi Zohora, 19, was admitted to Dhaka Medical College Hospital with a severely broken neck. Tortured by her in-laws for dowry, she had returned to her parental home in Nolua, Kabirhat, Noakhali and had a failed attempt to commit suicide by hanging herself from a mango tree. Her poor parents had somehow managed to take her to Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) for her treatment. But what treatment had been awaiting her? Bibi Zohora was now at the ICU of DMCH, lying amidst another 21 critical patients. But there were only three doctors who seemed rather interested in their private talk. Her parents were the only attendant there to look after their gasping daughter though nobody except the medical staff is allowed to enter any intensive care unit. However, the mother at a stage made out that her daughter was no more alive and started wailing. The doctors hurried to Bibi Zohora and pretended to do everything possible- thumping, pumping and what not. Sensing the presence of camera, one of the doctors gaped at the ECG monitor reading LOSS OF SIGNAL. He posed as if doing a grave job though the ECG monitor was not connected with the patient.

Bibi Zohora was a victim of dowry death who was driven to suicide by continuous harassment and torture by husband and in-laws in an effort to extort an increased dowry. Dowry death is considered one of the many categories of violence against women in South Asia. Most dowry deaths occur when the young woman, unable to bear the harassment and torture, commits suicide. Most of these suicides are by hanging, poisoning or by fire. Sometimes the woman is killed by setting her on fire; this is known as "bride burning", and sometimes disguised as suicide or accident.

As per women rights organization's statistics, from 01 January 2005 to 28 February 2011, 1257 women were killed, 348 were ill-treated and 243 committed suicide due to dowry related violence. Women in Bangladesh are still in a vulnerable situation in the society. To reduce violence against women, society should ensure gender equality, no economic gap between genders, social consciousness and proper implementation of law and order

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22 responses

  • Ma. Dolores Guillén Solí­s

    Ma. Dolores Guillén Solí­s gave props (19 Oct 2012):

    Very strong images and a very sad situation of women... Great essay, Turjoy, even if it is something that I would not like to hear, it exists, and we must not ignore.

  • James Wiley

    James Wiley gave props (22 Oct 2012):

    This story is an absolute MUST to read and see. Each powerful image should be viewed closely. It is a shocking examination of human indecency and a masterpiece of photojournalism!

  • Jenna Kim

    Jenna Kim said (23 Oct 2012):

    Incredibly moving...a story so seldom heard and tragic reflection of cultural ignorance vs. human decency. I grieve with Bibi Zohora's mother for this senseless loss...

  • Turjoy Chowdhury

    Turjoy Chowdhury said (24 Oct 2012):

    Thank you all, for your kind support. I know that It's not possible to get Zohora back but i believe, with proper support it's possible to grow more public awareness so that; no Zohora dies anymore like this.

  • MindTheStep

    MindTheStep gave props (25 Oct 2012):

    Absolutely, yes!

  • Gary Joseph Cohen

    Gary Joseph Cohen (Deleted) gave props (27 Oct 2012):

    It is essential for this story to be recognized here and by a broad audience. It's without a doubt story of a lifetime.

  • Michele Wambaugh

    Michele Wambaugh (Deleted) said (27 Oct 2012):

    So so sad the cruelty of woman on woman, man on man, etc. ...

  • Tash McCarroll

    Tash McCarroll (Deleted) said (28 Oct 2012):

    A story of many that must be heard! Thank you for sharing such a powerful & strong story to the forefront. The more awareness brought on these human rights issues the more chance for change! Keep up the fight for justice!

  • JPG

    JPG gave props (28 Oct 2012):

    Congrats on being The Story of the Week!

  • James Wiley

    James Wiley gave props (29 Oct 2012):

    Congratulations Turjoy. So well deserved!

  • Turjoy Chowdhury

    Turjoy Chowdhury said (29 Oct 2012):

    Thanks to all of you for kind support....

  • Rike Bach

    Rike Bach gave props (30 Oct 2012):

    It made me cry to read the story and to see the photos... and I wonder what must happen to stop this cruelty. I know there's so much pain and grief all over the world, but if a victim gets a face, has a name it touches so deeply. So hard to explain in a foreign language what I feel right now, but I hope you know what I'm trying to say...

  • Roxana Brivent-Barnes

    Roxana Brivent-Barnes said (30 Oct 2012):

    Shame those men cannot be hang, as I would be the first to help!

  • Roxana Brivent-Barnes

    Roxana Brivent-Barnes said (30 Oct 2012):

    Including their families who stand by, and participate to such cruelty!

  • Carol Arntsen Masiak

    Carol Arntsen Masiak gave props (30 Oct 2012):

    congrats on story of the week - voted!

  • David Adler

    David Adler gave props (30 Oct 2012):

    A powerful, stark and incisive work of documentary photojournalism. This story will certainly move all who view it and hopefully increase general awareness of this social injustice.

  • JP Cofield

    JP Cofield said (30 Oct 2012):

    Turjoy - I just read the full story. Thank you.

  • Pedro Teixeira

    Pedro Teixeira gave props (30 Oct 2012):

    Excellent work...And Congrats on being The Story of the Week!Got my vote!

  • John Linton

    John Linton gave props (1 Nov 2012):

    Hell YEAH! Rad!

  • John Linton

    John Linton gave props (1 Nov 2012):

    Congrats on making Story of the Week!

  • Tomma Henckel

    Tomma Henckel said (1 Nov 2012):

    So incredibly sad, and thank you for posting this and raising the awareness of the horrendous inequality that exists in parts of this world. It is shameful how women are treated and made to feel. We all need to be aware of this and do everything to try to change this situation. May Bibi Zohora's death not have been in vain.

  • Davide Simone

    Davide Simone (Deleted) said (1 Nov 2012):

    Absolutely, yes!

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