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Disfigured: A Saudi Woman’s Story of Triumph Over Violence

Disfigured: A Saudi Woman’s Story of Triumph Over Violence

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Disfigured: A Saudi Woman's Story of Triumph Over Violence

Disfigured: A Saudi Woman's Story of Triumph Over Violence

"I am trying as a Saudi woman to raise the awareness of unstable men who see women as inferior, who resort to violence, and who are abusive to women."
--Rania al-Baz, on 60 Minutes

"I don't feel like I'm a hero... I feel that no woman should be a victim to her husband, or a victim in any way. A woman should have the ability to choose her own destiny."
--Rania al-Baz, on The Oprah Winfrey Show

Every morning for over six years, Rania al-Baz has been the smiling face of a family program on Saudi television. She was a young, beautiful Saudi TV news anchor--the first woman to have such a job--when her abusive husband beat her into a coma and left her for dead. She remained in a coma for four days and later underwent thirteen operations to reconstruct her face. When she agreed to let horrifying pictures of her ravaged face be made public, her story sparked general criticism of Saudi culture. A month after the tragedy, the first Saudi research into domestic violence began at King Saud University in Riyadh. Rania's story subsequently appeared in the press all over the world.

But Rania's memoir is not simply the story of the violence she suffered; nor is it a tale of revenge. She denounces neither Islam nor the traditions of her country, nor even her former husband--only his violence. It is this generosity of spirit that carries her story--about her Saudi Arabian girlhood and adolescence, about her disastrous first marriage, about her public life as a TV journalist, about her life as a mother, about her evolution into an activist on behalf of women.

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