Acid Attack Survivor
Laxmi Agarwal a 15 year old, living in New Delhi, had her life come crashing down when a 32 year old suitor, whom she’d been refusing repeatedly, threw acid on her face. She remembers lying in agony, screaming for help as the skin melted off her. Luckily she flung her arms to protect herself, and thus her eyesight was spared. But, she lost most of her face, ears and charred her hands black, had to spend months in the hospital and needed 11 and more surgeries before plastic surgery could be even deemed viable. She was socially ostracized, and blamed for what had happened to her.
Khodaja and her baby daughter Sonali were sleeping in their home in Bangladesh when they were attacked with acid as the result of a land dispute with a relative. Sonali was so young at the time that the acid permanently altered the shape of her skull. Though the father was sleeping beside them, it was only the women of the family who were attacked.
Reshma Bano Quereshi was allegedly attacked by her brother-in-law, who wanted to teach his wife a lesson. He accosted Reshma and threw acid at her to send a message to her sister.
All of the above women were victims of human debasement. Most Acid attacks or Vitriolage are revenge fuelled and targeted at women. Spurned sexual advances, rejected marriage proposals, land property disputes and sometimes even a simple refusal to cook have been the trigger for this grotesque crime. Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and even the United Kingdom are countries where such attacks are said to be on the rise.
Nitric acid, hydrochloric acid or sulphuric acid, the common culprits, are easily available in most countries for something less than a quarter of a dollar. To add to this, there are no laws covering the purchase and sale of such deadly chemicals. Acids cause so much damage, often melting through the skin, tissue and bones. The victims even if they survive have a tough time trying to simply rehabilitate. Amongst all the violence that is targeted at women, acid attacks must rank as the most brutal, harming and destructive for the sheer havoc they wreck physically as well as mentally.
By Priyanka Modi