Seven years ago, Ameneh Bahrami's life was forever altered. The young medical engineer was walking to a bus stop when she heard footsteps behind her. She turned around just in time to see a man throw a liquidy substance at her. It was acid, and as Bahrami screamed in horror, her attacker fled. The perpetrator was later identified as Majid Movahedi, a man five years her junior whom she met in college while completing her degree. He had zealously pursued her romantically, but she continually thwarted his advances. Apparently, blinding her was his retribution.

During Movahedi's trial, Bahrami demanded he suffer the same fate as she under Islamic Law. The judge agreed, but moments before the sentence was to be carried out, Bahrami asked it be stopped. She explained her reasoning to CNN:
”Each of us, individually, must try and treat others with respect and kindness in order to have a better society."

This whole punishment may seem ludicrous to Western readers, but in Iran, Bahrami had every right to order the assailant be blinded. She's been forced to undergo numerous painful and dangerous procedures to help the scarring on her face, and she still hasn't regained her vision. As a result, her actions really are altruistic. That's not to say Movahedi will get off without punishment though. He's been ordered to pay one hundred thousand dollars as restitution for his crime, but without the money to pay, he'll be forced to sit in jail for a long time. The figure would be twice that, but since Bahrami is a woman, she's only entitled to half under Iranian law. She's asked the legal provision be forever overturned, but the court system is yet to rule on that portion of the case.

It's sickening that a woman's pain and suffering is only worth half that of a man's in Iran. Hopefully, this case helps change that sexist statute. In the meantime, Bahrami is putting the finishing touches on a book about the plight of women in the Middle East. It should be a fascinating read and will likely be out within the next year.

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