Pursuing natural health & thinking beyond the superficial. Deconstructing Culture.

An acid attack is predominantly carried out by a man to a woman, usually after he has been rejected/upset in some way; they are common in South Asia (Pakistan, India and Bangladesh) and other parts of the world but the epidemic has been spreading with occurrences in Europe and the perpetrators and victims aren’t always Black/Asian (for the racists out there who think they are). Both a horrific thing to go through and leaves you scarred for life, survivors everywhere are trying their best and need all the support they can get from legal action, support groups, integration back into society to feeling good about themselves again and knowing they’re beautiful e.g. make-up for burns victims.

Despite stricter laws and punishments, the number of acid attacks in India continues to increase. DW examines the reasons behind it and the measures needed to prevent acid violence in the South Asian nation.

http://www.dw.com/en/why-acid-attacks-are-on-the-rise-in-india/a-19313750

Asia

Why acid attacks are on the rise in India

Despite stricter laws and punishments, the number of acid attacks in India continues to increase. DW examines the reasons behind it and the measures needed to prevent acid violence in the South Asian nation.

Acid Attack Victim Pragya Prasun After Her Wedding By Male Relative

Acid Attack Victim Pragya Prasun After Her Wedding By Male Relative

Pragya Prasun was on her way from the Hindu holy city of Varanasi to the capital New Delhi days after her wedding, when a distant male relative poured acid on her.

“I initially didn’t realize what was happening. My skin was burning, fumes were coming off it, and it smelled as though a tire was burning on my body,” recalls Prashun, who was only 22-years old at that time.

The relative attacked her with acid because she had rejected his marriage proposal.

Ten years have passed since the assault, which burned 47 percent of her body.
Still, Prasun remains thankful to a doctor who was traveling in the same train as her on the night of the attack. The doctor, she says, saved her life that night.

“She instantly recognized it as acid and requested everyone in the train to put as much as water as possible on me so that the acid gets washed off,” Prasun told DW, adding: “she gave me her scarf to cover my body as my clothes were burned along with my skin.”

Attacks on the rise

Prasun knows the pain that every acid victim goes through in India, where receiving proper medical treatment remains a huge challenge for the victims.

”There are very limited specialized burn hospitals in India and these hospitals are always flooded with burn patients. For that reason, getting admitted to an affordable government hospital is almost impossible for an acid victim,” Prasun said, pointing out that ”the wounds take nearly four to five months to get healed.”

Statistics show a clear increase in the number of acid attacks in the South Asian country in recent years. At least 106 such attacks were reported in 2012, according to the Acid Survivors Foundation India (ASFI). And that figure rose to 122 in 2013 and 349 in 2014. Activists say that figure climbed to over 500 in 2015.

However, Prasun disputes the figure, arguing that many cases remain unreported. She estimates that around 1,000 acid attacks take place in India every year.

There are many unreported cases of acid attacks where victims die, especially in rural areas. Sometimes people try to hide information if the attacker was the husband or a family member of the victim,” said Prasun, who runs Atijeevan Foundation, an organization that rehabilitates acid attack survivors in the southern city of Bangalore.

The majority of acid attack victims are women, reveals a report commissioned by the Acid Survivors Trust International (ASTI) and published last year.

The victims are attacked over domestic or land disputes, a rejected marriage proposal or spurned sexual advances, according to the report.

Farida from Bangladesh. Acid Attack Victim Violence Domestic Abuse

Farida from Bangladesh.
Farida’s husband was addicted to drugs and gambling. He lost so much money that he had to sell their house. She threatened to leave him. That night, while she was sleeping, he poured acid over her and locked the bedroom door. Farida cried and screamed so loud that neighbors came to her rescue, breaking the door open. – More stories and images on the website’s slideshow.

Network for acid attack survivors

Alok Dixit, the founder of the Stop Acid Attacks (SAA) campaign based in New Delhi, agrees with the report’s findings over the reasons for these attacks. He has established a cafe in the northern city of Agra that is run by acid attack survivors. [My Comment: I agree with Monica Singh in the article below – I’m not keen on cafes for acid attack survivors (remember it’s a fatal attack) where technically they’re in servitude though they themselves and Alok don’t see/describe it that way as it’s a safe place for them to be and feel supported/happy. I think it’s better that they have the option to both feel support from people who’ve been through the same thing whilst not put on display and to mingle in society normally if they want e.g. getting normal jobs. I still respect and very much see the good in this campaign though.]

“We created a network of acid attack survivors in India. Our aim is to make them leaders. It’s not like we represent them, it’s more like they themselves take care of their cause and fight for their rights,” Dixit told DW.

As the cafe in Agra has created a positive impact on the survivors, he opened another cafe in Lucknow recently, and planning to set up two more cafes – one in Udaipur and another in New Delhi – soon. Acid attack survivors will run those new cafes as well, he confirms.

The SAA campaign has been using social media to raise awareness of acid violence since 2013. The campaign was given DW’s “The Bobs – Best of Online Activism”.

“We focus more on social change because we believe only laws can’t stop these crimes. Because these offenses are passion crimes and most of the times family members or colleagues or friends of the victims are involved. It happens out of passion. We need to stop that via social awareness,” Dixit stressed.

His online campaign has grabbed huge attention in India. He collects donations via crowdfunding and his latest request for funding for the surgery of an acid victim met the target immediately after it was posted online.

“People started talking about acid violence in 2013, and very soon we got better laws, better rules and there are better facilities for survivors,” said Dixit. “But even though change is happening in society, it will take a long time to notice it in as big a country as India.”

More needs to be done

But Megha Mishra, a spokesperson for the ASFI, says the Indian government needs to do much more to end acid attacks in the country.

“The very first thing the government has to do is to ban the sale of acid in the retail market. Second, it has to get very serious about punishing the perpetrators. Third, it has to ensure proper medical treatment for the survivors as they still need to fight to get medical support,” Mishra told DW.

In 2013, the Supreme Court of India ordered the government to limit over-the-counter acid sales to people over 18. But Prasun criticizes the authorities, arguing that they have failed to implement the rules governing the sale of acid in the country.

This, in turn, has resulted in acid continuing to remain available everywhere at a very low price, she said. “I demand a complete ban on acid. It is not a commodity which should be available in the retail market. Acid only harms and it has destroyed so many lives in our country.”

DW recommends these other articles for reading:

http://www.dw.com/en/indias-daughter-filmmaker-time-has-come-to-tackle-gender-inequality/a-18313773
http://www.dw.com/en/attack-on-body-and-soul-how-do-women-survive-acid-attacks/a-17816263
http://www.dw.com/en/for-indian-women-the-battles-only-just-begun/a-17306344
http://www.dw.com/en/rejection-doesnt-mean-you-scar-a-womans-face/a-16991767
http://www.dw.com/overlay/media/en/surviving-acid-attacks/17814565/19313750
http://www.dw.com/overlay/media/en/dws-bob-awards-honor-online-activism/19229191/19313750

—————————————————————————————————————————————————–

The above leads to a lady I heard about in December:

Comic-book superheroine to spotlight India’s acid-attack menace

http://www.dw.com/en/comic-book-superheroine-to-spotlight-indias-acid-attack-menace/a-36141976

A new comic aims to draw attention to the problem of acid attacks, which disfigure and maim hundreds of women in India every year. The survivors face intense emotional and physical trauma as well as acute ostracism.

Monica Singh author of Priya's Shakti superheroine gang rape acid attack

“Life is too precious to cry,” says Monica Singh. And she simply refuses to see it differently. “I do not insult life by crying about my past over and over again. I am alive and that’s what matters.”

When the young woman looks at her in the mirror today, she sees a different person than the one several years ago. That’s not only due to the fact that she has become older, but also because she now has a new face.

A scarred face that tells what happened to her on this one dark day in her life in the year 2005. When a jilted suitor hurled acid on her in full public glare, causing major burns all over her body. It totally upended her life.
The then 19-year-old Singh, hailing from Delhi, had hitherto been full of dreams and aspirations. She says it will be impossible for her to erase the moment of the acid attack from her memory.

“It’s an unforgettable moment in any girl’s life. Feeling burnt like we never experienced before, yelling for help in middle of the street, all the people witnessing what was going on, being eye witnesses to a live horror show. Horrible. I don’t want to say anything more about it.”

Singh says the perpetrator used to stalk her, pressuring her to marry him and leave her family and education behind.
But when she spurned his advances, he turned furious and attacked her with acid.

In the subsequent years, Monica Singh has been repeatedly hospitalized and undergone numerous surgeries, totaling almost 50. She has received support from her family, particularly her father. Singh’s friends have also been as supportive as they can.

The 30-year old now lives in New York, where she is studying fashion marketing. Furthermore, she has founded her own foundation and regularly appears as a motivational speaker.

‘Cultural stigmas’

In the spring of 2016, Monica Singh met filmmaker and producer Ram Devineni when she gave a speech at the United Nations. A few months earlier, Devineni had already met two other survivors of acid attacks. The director was impressed by their strength, and at the same time he was angry.

“What I discovered after talking with them is that they faced the same cultural stigmas and reactions from society that rape survivors had to endure,” Devineni noted.

“How society treated them intensified the problem and their recovery. How they were treated by their family, neighbors and society determined what they did next. Often they were treated like the villains and the blame was put on them,” he added.

Devineni wanted to change this, by raising public awareness about the problem. And to that end, he decided to use a comic, named “Priya’s Mirror,” which was officially presented over the weekend.

In the comic, a group of acid victims fights alongside the female superheroine Priya, a character that helps acid-attack survivors to overcome their fears and escape the tyranny of a demon king. A story ripe with symbolism.

In fact, the character of Priya started with a prequel, called “Priya’s Shakti,” which tells the story of a gang-rape victim who would later gain strength to fight sex crimes. [My comment: Empowering story for a comic and great for what it is but for the living I wish you didn’t have be a victim first, everyone should be fighting against this regardless.]

“Priya is India’s first female superheroine and a survivor of rape. [My comment: AFTER ALL THIS GODDAMNED TIME IN A COUNTRY FILLED WITH GODS AND TONS OF THEM FEMALES AND WARRIOR FEMALES AT THAT – WHY ARE THE GODS/GODDESSES AND MEN TREATED WITH RESPECT AND NOT THE WOMEN!?] She was created after the 2012 gang rape on a bus. [My comment: As you can see from these articles these criminals don’t care about carrying out attacks in public even.] Her mission is to attack patriarchy and create empathy for rape survivors and survivors of gender-based violence,” said Devineni. Priya fights against India’s prevailing patriarchal social norms that encourage discrimination against women.

With over half a million downloads, “Priya’s Shakti” has been an international success, underlined the director. “The main character, Priya, resonated with audiences and was written about in 400 news publications reaching nearly 20 million readers.”

An educational tool

“Priya’s Mirror” is the first comic to have received financial assistance from the World Bank. It is freely available for download on various platforms and in different languages, including Hindi, English, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese.

And it’s expected to be released in other languages as well.

The producers hope it could be particularly useful for educating teenagers and young men about gender rights and respect for women. “Teenagers are at a critical age when they are learning about relationships and developing their opinions of each other. So, this comic book series is a powerful tool to talk about gender issues,” stressed Devineni.

The comic is released together with an app, which offers a possibility to create profile pictures for social networks such as Facebook or WhatsApp resembling the faces of acid-attack victims. The intention behind this is to raise awareness and stimulate public discourse about the issue.

Around 1,500 girls and women across the world become victims of acid attacks annually, according to aid organizations such as Acid Surivors Trust International (ASTI). The real figure could be even higher. “Often, acid-attack survivors do not tell others that they were attacked with acid because of the stigma attached to it. Rather they say they were burned in a cooking fire or something else,” pointed out Devineni. [My comment – like they walked into a f*ckin’ door, fell down the stairs or something when a man/men in their lives beats then.] But others – like Monica Singh – do the opposite.

Ram Devineni Monica Singh Priya's Shakti Mirror Comic Acid Attack Rape

Devineni: ‘What I discovered after talking with them is that they faced the same cultural stigmas and reactions from society that rape survivors had to endure’

A tough task

“I never hide myself, but I definitely understand the feeling of being inhibited, the fear of being viewed as an abnormal person in society,” said Monica Singh. She decided to face off the situation: “I have never allowed myself to be labeled as an ‘unfortunate girl,'” she noted. That’s why, perhaps, Monica Singh is among the few women whose faces feature on the cover of the comic “Priya’s Mirror.”

They were drawn by artist Dan Goldman – not an easy task for him. “Creating the artwork required a delicate hand for my part: I didn’t want to render the acid victims’ scars in any kind of exploitative way, but at the same time, it was essential to show the degree of scarring endured, otherwise the issue we’re addressing loses it impact,” Goldman said, adding: “I struggled with this for some time…”

The artist ultimately found a way out of his dilemma. “I found out that the style was in rendering the women as normal as possible and then adding their scars last. This way, I was able to make them feel whole and give them a kind of poetry as women, rather than addressing the scars first and people second.

“I did send my drawings to them before the book was published to make sure they were comfortable with how I was portraying them and was happy to take any kind of notes from them,” he explained.

“It’s already a very sensitive issue centered on their appearance and violence, and therefore the last thing I’d want to do is portray them in a way that made them unhappy or upset,” he added.

Monica Singh, however, is very content with the response for their work. “Everyone loves this book; we just need references of real-life heroines for girls and young women. And projecting ourselves the way we are is more valuable and impactful.”

Not ‘a victim’

Singh has always remained true to herself, both in the old as well as in the new life. She’s got a different face, but she’s still Monica – the one that will always stand her ground. “My parents say that I have always had this never give up attitude.”

She explains that for acid-attack survivors like her, it’s extremely important that they accept themselves for who they are. If they fail to do it, there wouldn’t be any progress in their lives, she said. Singh adamantly refuses to regard herself as a victim.

“I don’t see the word victim as an accurate description of me. I am a self-confident, educated and strong woman who left her home for a mission in her life, and now she is on her journey… I am more than a survivor,” she said, stressing that: “I am a motivational speaker, fashion designer, stylist, marketing expert, philanthropist and a model, among other things.”

I even walked the runway at New York fashion week, she pointed out.

When asked if she’s happy with her life, she said: “I won’t say I am a happy person, but I am definitely a very funny person. I did learn how to deal with the situation. I know my strength is my confidence and education. If a person has a good heart and knowledge, I believe everyone finds that person beautiful.”

Audios and videos on the topic

http://www.dw.com/overlay/media/en/i-am-monica-singh-why-giving-up-is-never-an-option/36136233/36141976

———————————————————————————————————————————————————

It doesnt’ even have to be family/’love’ related, it can be random:

Acid attack injures three girls waiting for bus in India just days after landmark death sentence verdict

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-09-13/indian-girls-injured-in-acid-attack-waiting-for-bus/7837536

Posted 12 Sep 2016, 9:25pm

Three girls in eastern India are being treated in hospital after acid was thrown on them, just days after a court handed down a landmark death sentence verdict to a man found guilty of murdering a nurse in an acid attack.

The teenage girls were attacked late on Sunday (local time) in West Bengal’s Bankura district, as they were returning home from tuition classes and were waiting near a bus stand.

Deputy commissioner of police Satyabrata Bhoi said they were taken by three men in a car where they were attacked and acid thrown on them.

The three men have been arrested, he said, adding that the victims were now recovering in hospital.

“A Bolero vehicle [a four-wheel drive] and three persons have been arrested — a driver and two other persons — and cases have been registered against them,” Mr Bhoi told Asian News International (ANI).

Acid attacks — meant to maim, disfigure or blind — occur in many countries.

They are most common in Cambodia, as well as Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan and India.

Most victims are women, injured and disfigured by jilted partners or relatives.

Previously classified under grievous harm, acid attacks became a specific offence in India in 2013 after public pressure forced the Government to improve laws to protect women following the fatal gang rape of a young woman on a New Delhi bus in 2012.

According to India’s home ministry, there were 222 cases reported in 2015 compared to 309 the previous year.
Activists say the number is under-reported as many do not report cases for fear the perpetrators will seek revenge.

Landmark death sentence for fatal acid attack

On Thursday, a man in the city of Mumbai was sentenced to death for a fatal acid attack on a nurse at a busy railway station three years ago in what is seen as a legal landmark.

Preeti Rathi, who was 23 when she was murdered, had just arrived from Delhi to join the Indian navy as a nurse.

Her neighbour Ankur Panwar attacked her after she rejected a marriage proposal.

It was the first such sentence for an acid attack in India.

While certainty of justice and punishment is crucial, regulating the sale of acid is also essential, campaigners said.

“It is shocking that despite the Supreme Court guidelines, acid is so easily available to people like those who did this to these girls,” lawyer and women’s rights activist Abha Singh told reporters.

“The Supreme Court has given very clear guidelines that you cannot easily sell acid over the counter and is it the responsibility of local authorities to do surprise checks to see if acid is being sold illegally.”

India’s top court in 2013 ordered the Government to curb the sale of acid to control attacks on women.

It made it mandatory for anyone wishing to buy the chemical, which is cheap and used as an everyday household cleaning product, to be over 18 years of age and have an identity card.

Remember like other attacks – particularly sexually and family related – not all are reported or even dealt with properly (fairly and considerately to the victim) when they are.

The above article leads to:

Indian acid attack survivor Reshma Qureshi walks the New York runway

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-09-09/indian-acid-attack-survivor-reshma-qureshi-wows-new-york-runway/7830254

Updated 10 Sep 2016, 1:46am

Reshma Quereshi Acid Attack Survivor Fashion Runway Strong Message Victims

Reshma Qureshi, a 19-year-old acid attack survivor and campaigner for the #EndAcidSale movement, walks the runway at New York Fashion Week in what she calls a life-changing experience. Reshma Quereshi hopes to send a powerful message to other survivors.

Since Ms Qureshi was attacked by her brother-in-law in 2014, pinned down by his friends and her face doused in acid, she has become the face of a campaign to end the open sale of acid in India.

Ms Qureshi was invited to take part in Fashion Week by FTL Moda, a fashion production company committed to challenging industry stereotypes of beauty and which last year invited Australian model Madeline Stuart, who has Down Syndrome, to take part.

Ms Qureshi brushed off nerves to stride the runway like a pro in a cream and floral floor-length gown by Indian designer Archana Kochhar on Thursday, the first official day of New York Fashion Week.

“I feel really good and the experience was great,” she said afterwards, speaking in Hindi through a translator.

“I feel as though it has definitely changed my life.”

Ms Qureshi, whose ambition remains to finish the last two grades of high school and attend college, said she hoped her participation would send a powerful message to other acid attack survivors.

“Why should we not enjoy our lives? What happened to us is not our fault and we’ve done nothing wrong and so we should also move forward in life,” she said.

“I want to tell the world — do not see us in a weak light and see that even we can go out and do things.

“People have a tendency to look at acid attack survivors from one perspective and I don’t want them to look at them like that anymore … I do feel brave.”

Reshma Quresh Acid Attack Survivor Victim Fashion Model

Photo: Reshma Qureshi’s ambition is to finish the last two grades of high school and attend college.

Acid attacks, which overwhelmingly target women and children, are a particular scourge in South-East Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, the West Indies and the Middle East.

In India, an estimated 500 to 1,000 attacks take place each year, and while they rarely kill they leave severe physical, psychological and social scars that can see victims ostracised and hidden away.

Ms Qureshi’s appearance at Fashion Week came the same day an Indian court sentenced a man to death for murdering a 24-year-old woman by throwing acid on her face after she rejected his offer of marriage, in a landmark judgement.

‘Every day, a girl becomes a victim of an acid attack’

Ms Qureshi appears in YouTube videos for Make Love Not Scars, a charity that aims “to raise awareness for acid attack survivors and empower them to live life with dignity”.

The videos, filmed in her home base of Mumbai, offer make-up advice and beauty tips and discuss crimes against women.

Last year, Ms Qureshi’s “perfect red lips” tutorial went viral — a video which ends with Ms Qureshi saying: “You’ll
easily find a red lipstick in the market, just like concentrated acid.

“This is the reason why, every day, a girl becomes a victim of an acid attack.”

[My comment: There’s too much false empowerment in the world where women give men what they want when in the past and less ‘modern’ countries women are still forced into. Far too much superficial and inappropriate flaunting labelled as ‘role models’ acting like ‘perfect women’ and normalized soft porn (when really they’re fodder for misogynists and idiots who label feminists ‘femi-nazis’) yet there are real women and children like Reshma, those like her and those supporting are doing their best to survive their ordeals and prevent others from happening. Don’t undermine their experience to be a celebrity, celebrity wannabe or follower.]

—————————————————————————————————————————————————

I agree with the death penalty for acid attacks, disfigurement, rape and torture. Don’t blame the victims.

Going back to Monica Singh above; her comic book website is here: http://www.priyashakti.com and her foundation here: http://mahendrasinghfoundation.org/

Notice the author uses augmented/virtual reality to fight the demon/rapist(s) (based on god/mythology/religion i.e. ‘others’ in their own parameters and perhaps dimension(s) e.g. dreamspace).

Excerpt from:

India’s raped comic ‘super hero’ returns to fight acid attacks

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-37287071
By Geeta Pandey BBC News, Delhi
26 Sept 2016  India

Priya's Shakti Mirror Comic Book Rape Acid Attack Survivors Victims

Artwork by Dan Goldman

Priya's Shakti Mirror Comic Book Acid Attack Rape Survivors Victims

Mr Devineni says the comic, which uses augmented reality technology, is aimed at teenage boys.
“It’s a perfect way to educate them on issues of gender violence, to tell them how devastating this liquid weapon is.”

In the book, Priya (which means love) rides on the back of her ferocious tiger Sahas (courage) into “The Castle” to confront the villainous Ahankar (Ego or Arrogance), a demon disguised as a benevolent man, and liberate the acid attack victims who are trapped there.

Paromita Vohra, who co-authored Priya’s Mirror with Mr Devineni, says Priya’s weapon is rather unusual. Called the “mirror of love” Priya encourages the women to peek into it and look beyond their scars, to see what they were once, like singers, carpenters and painters.

Priya's Shakti Mirror Acid Attack Rape Victims Survivors Comic Book

Having spent time in South America and Brazil, Mr Goldman says he was aware of the problem of acid attacks, but found the scale “very very shocking”.

“I knew it happened a lot, especially in Colombia. But I didn’t realise it was so unbelievably prevalent.”

—————————————————————————————————————————————————

Still Smiling – The women fighting back after acid attacks

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/resources/idt-4799f705-bc19-4b9f-8391-1f955f800d2a

Acid burns the skin and eats the flesh – acid attacks can blind and maim and leave a person’s face unrecognisable.
In India it’s estimated that there are 1,000 such attacks per year, maybe more.

But in the shadow of the Taj Mahal a group of strong women, all survivors, have come together to run a cafe and tell their stories to the world.

Dolly

Dolly Acid Attack Victim Survivor Sheroes

A young waitress stands in the doorway of Sheroes cafe in Agra. “Welcome to our little cafe,” she says above the rumble of the rush hour traffic.

Her name is Dolly and she is 15 years old.

“I’m the youngest here and the naughtiest,” she says, and then laughs – it is impossible not to join in.

A few customers arrive for a quick cup of masala chai. Agra is submerged in a dense winter fog, so the cafe’s colourful murals offer some morning cheer. Dolly takes an order and heads off to the kitchen, flashing another broad grin.

Three years ago someone tried to destroy that winning smile. He didn’t succeed but there is no ignoring the thick scar tissue which snakes across most of Dolly’s face.

The trouble began when a man from the same neighbourhood – twice Dolly’s age – wouldn’t leave her alone. He started stalking the 12-year-old schoolgirl, making lewd remarks and suggesting they should sleep together.

Then one day he suddenly turned up at her house while she was playing with other children.

“I ran away towards my room but he threw acid on my face. It started to burn and I screamed and shouted.”

Dolly’s family immediately doused the raw flesh of her face with water and she was rushed to hospital. Thanks to the quick thinking of a doctor, her eyes were washed out and her sight was saved.

Even so, Dolly is now permanently scarred and she still has trouble breathing because of the damage to her nostrils. She recalls the moment she asked to look in a mirror after returning home from the hospital.

“My mother refused and told me I was still beautiful. She said I could look in the mirror later. Then my little sister accidentally put a mirror in front of me and I saw it. I cried and howled and screamed.”

Dolly didn’t want to eat or leave the house. “I even thought it would have been better if I had died,” she says.

Her gut instinct was that she should cover her face with a veil. For a year, she would ignore the gentle encouragement from her mother to try venturing outside the house.

Dolly’s life changed when her family heard about Sheroes. Here she met another survivor called Sonia, who changed her view of the attack.

“She told me that I wasn’t the one who needed to keep my face covered since I hadn’t done anything wrong. The person who has committed this crime should be the one to cover his face.”

Her assailant is now in prison. Dolly recently sent him a letter to tell him that he had failed to break her spirit.

“You burned my face, but not my will to live. You cannot throw acid on that,” she wrote.

She said she had forgiven him but she admitted that it had been a difficult process. “Sometimes, I have wondered how it would be to empty a full bottle of acid on you,” she told him. [My comment: For some people forgiving and forgetting is part if not the only way to deal with things and move on, it’s not for everyone (e.g. me) but she’s young and best of luck to her.]

In the cafe Dolly dances and sings, but she is wise beyond her years.

She is troubled by the fact that some people think the victims of acid attacks bring their misfortune on themselves, by rejecting the assailant’s advances. That is why she believes it is so important that survivors like her engage with the world instead of hiding themselves away.

She works hard at the cafe, serving backpackers who pass through town on their way to see the nearby Taj Mahal. She jokes with them in broken English and tries to teach them snippets of Hindi.

Sheroes helped her get her confidence back.

I like the fact that my parents feel pride in my work and that I’m standing on my own two feet.”

Dolly hopes one day to return to her studies and perhaps become a doctor.

So what would she say to another woman who was attacked today?

“I would tell her that whatever has happened has happened. Look forward. Don’t look back.”

Rani

Rani Acid Attack Victim Survivor Sheroes

Rani is the newest arrival at the cafe. She is not able to dance or sing like the irrepressible Dolly because her injuries are far more serious.

Instead, she sits in the cafe’s front yard, enjoying the shade, once the morning fog has lifted.

Rani was also pursued by a man who wanted to marry her.

Now 20, she was a teenager at the time so her mother told him to wait a few years until her daughter had finished school. But he persisted.

One day he accosted me in the street and tried to molest me. I slapped him. That made him angry and a few days later he attacked me with acid.”

Rani’s injuries were so bad she could not even walk – acid can destroy nerves and muscle as well as skin. The doctors in her home town were not equipped to treat her properly.

Even when she was transferred to a bigger hospital her burns were not washed out with water and she was left in the same bandages for days on end. Eventually she was sent to an Intensive Care Unit and she remained there for nine months.

In this time her weight halved. Rani’s family became concerned and had her discharged from the hospital, despite protests from the doctors.

She was then kept at home, bedridden, for four years.

During this period she got no medical treatment at all and became blind in both eyes. The only visitor she had was a childhood friend.

Luckily, a kind stranger intervened and secured Rani better care in a nursing home. There she received physiotherapy and began to learn to walk again.

Rani’s story is disturbing in many ways. Some in her family blamed her for the attack.

“They wished that I had agreed to marry that man and let him do as he pleased. But I wanted to study.”

Then there’s the unsettling fact that her attacker still walks free today. Rani has heard that he is married, has a family and a steady job. [My comment: Dear Goddess why does this happen?.. Rhetorical but still soul destroying to hear.]

He has all this, while Rani’s own dreams of joining the Indian Police Service lie in ruins. She still feels that she did not get the support she needed to see her assailant held to account.

“I want him to be punished. I want my case re-opened. I want him to suffer his punishment for life.”

Taking the train to Agra after four years shut away in her bedroom and the nursing home was incredibly exciting.

“I now feel like I have the strength and power to do things – the strength and support that I could not get from my family,” Rani says.

“I want to study more and being here has made me believe I can do that. By coming here I have gained a lot of courage.”

[My comment: ‘Thankfully’ someone showed her some mercy, not that she didn’t wrong at all, I just hate having to find concession from anything evil. You shouldn’t have to make the best of it. This poor woman, no one should go through this except those who do/help it.]

bbc acid attack case study taj mahal cafe womens group

Acid is cheap in India. It costs less than milk and is readily available in shops and markets. [My comment: Even junk food and sometimes pharmaceuticals are cheaper and more readily available than clean water, clean fruit/veg and toilet paper in some places.]

It is commonly used in households as a cleaning fluid for sinks and toilets, and in numerous industries, from textiles to jewellery-making.

In 2014, the National Crime Records Bureau recorded 309 acid attacks, but experts believe the real figure could be nearer to 1,000 a year – or three every day.

Many of the most serious cases are recorded because the victims require medical treatment. But there may be other cases that never get logged for fear of reprisals or because a victim’s own family might regard her as the author of her own suffering.

In remote areas, campaigners believe even fatal attacks remain hidden from view. A death may be hushed up and recorded as a suicide or a house-fire fatality.

The vast majority of cases are against young women – usually because they have rejected a suitor or annoyed an abusive husband or father.

It is a particularly vindictive form of crime. By disfiguring the victim for life, the perpetrator is hoping to deprive them of love. [My comment: Remember ‘Oath Maker’ W a few months ago when I asked “will I be able to love again” and that stumped you and your partner?]

And survivors often do end up ostracised by friends and neighbours simply because of their appearance.

BBC Acid Attack Victims Case Study

Not all victims have the support that the women of Sheroes provide for each other says Aarushi Ahluwalia, a journalist who specialises in shedding light on violence against women.

Many of the survivors she has interviewed have simply had to resign themselves to the fact that “they will never have careers, they will never get married and they will never be able to live the life of a normal woman,” she says.

“They are suffering in many ways we don’t even see.”

BBC Case Study Acid Attack Victims Law Violence Against Women Children

Three years ago an acid attack survivor named Laxmi Agarwal stood before India’s Supreme Court.

Laxmi was 15 years old when she was attacked in Delhi in 2005. She had rejected a marriage proposal from a family friend who then became obsessed with her.

One April day, when Laxmi was waiting at a bus stop on her way to a music lesson, her stalker threw a bottleful of acid in her face. It took seven operations to heal her wounds.

BBC Acid Attack Case Study Acid Attack Victims Survivors

Laxmi Agarwal
(photo: Viva N Diva Couture)

But out of this terrible episode, there emerged a tireless campaigner for changes to the law. Before arriving in court she had gathered 27,000 signatures for a petition to curb the sale of acid.

“When I saw Laxmi standing in the court it really pained me. She had gathered together all her strength to get justice not just for herself, but for every acid attack victim,” says Rajendra Mal Lodha, one of the judges, who went on to become India’s Chief Justice.

The Supreme Court responded with a demand that central and local government pass laws to restrict acid sales and provide better compensation and healthcare for survivors.

Buyers of acid are now required to provide photographic identification and vendors need a licence to sell it.

Campaigners have welcomed these changes but remain worried that there is a gap between the legislation on the statute books and everyday reality. It is still easy to buy acid in India, they say, without showing any ID at all.

Rajendra Mal Lodha agrees there are problems. “The laws may be there,” he says “but they have to be effectively implemented and unless that is done I don’t think much can be achieved.”

He would also like acid attack cases to work their way more quickly through the Indian courts. According to the law firm, J Saga Associates, the average case takes somewhere between five and 10 years to complete, which makes it hard for victims to move on with their lives.

“Things move slowly in our country,” says Lodha. [My comment: So slowly the victim might be dead before it ends.]

But Bangladesh has done great things. They have passed a law where the investigator has to complete his investigation within 30 days. Special tribunals then have to complete the trial within 90 days.”

Prosecutions should be fast-tracked in special courts in India too, he argues.

Ignorance and insensitivity can lurk in the most unlikely places – even in hospitals and courts. Lodha recalls an incident where a tactless judge once asked an acid attack victim to cover her face during proceedings. [My comment: that is beyond awful. Remember ‘Game Face/Rugged/Computer Software Tester/Decoy’ W after the second time you attacked me and got away with it scott free in fake proceedings, merrily running away on your like bike, how all yours got in the way and even hit me from behind.]

“Mindsets have to be changed” he says firmly. “Perhaps this could be part of education in schools for girls and for boys.”

Improving the status of women in India should be part of this, he says.

If men consider women equal in all spheres of life then perhaps a lot of this problem can be solved.”

Alok Dixit from Stop Acid Attacks – the NGO which runs Sheroes – agrees that changing society is still the biggest challenge of all.

“When you are an acid attack survivor, you walk out and everyone is watching you. People will comment or they decide not to give you a job. People treat you like something from another world,” he says.

In fact, Alok first came up with the idea of Sheroes cafe after he met and fell in love with Laxmi – the woman whose case moved the Supreme Court to action.

They now have a nine-month-old baby girl.

More recently still, Laxmi became the model for a range of designer clothing. One of its slogans is “What does not break you makes you stronger.”

BBC Acid Attack Victims Study Article

In February 1834 in Glasgow a man called Hugh Kennedy threw acid in another man’s face.

“The crime of throwing vitriol has, we grieve to say, become so common in this part of the country as to become almost a stain on the national character,” wrote the Reformers’ Gazette.

“It is so savage and cowardly that fiends only, in the human form, can be guilty of committing it.”

BBC Case Study Acid Attack Victims Newspaper Article

Extract from Reformers’ Gazette, 1834

So acid attacks are not only a challenge for modern India. Pakistan, Colombia, Cambodia and Uganda are among other countries facing serious problems today.

The worst country for acid attacks may well be Afghanistan, campaigners say, but there are no reliable statistics to back this up and the evidence remains anecdotal.

The phenomenon often tracks the use of acid in industry according to Jaf Shah from the London-based charity Acid Survivors Trust International (ASTI).

“In Cambodia, for example, it’s more prevalent in districts where there is rubber production. In Bangladesh, it’s those areas where the jewellery or cotton industries exist.”

In the UK, attacks appear to be on the rise. Five hundred people have been injured or threatened with acid since 2012.

The police believe it may be becoming an alternative weapon to guns and knives, especially in gang-related violence. The Home Office is currently looking at whether there should be more regulation of corrosive substances.

In India, most attacks are perpetrated against women. But interestingly, in both Uganda and Cambodia 40% of victims are men. Gradually countries are beginning to share data along with suggestions on how best to stamp out the crime and rehabilitate survivors.

Like Rajendra Mal Lodha, campaigners often point to Bangladesh’s success. There has been a dramatic 70% reduction in cases in that country since 2002. It was the first nation to pass laws to control the sale of acid.

Pakistan, impressed by its example, followed suit in 2011. But not every country would want to go as far as Bangladesh in introducing the death penalty for acid attackers.

Colombia has been making progress too, following a high-profile case in 2014, when a woman from a middle-class background and was attacked by a stalker.

Natalia Ponce de Leon’s story shocked the country in a way that other previous cases had not.

BBC Acid Attack Victims Case Study Survivors

Natalia Ponce de Leon
(photo: Eugenia Rodriguez Peria)

The President of Colombia offered reward for information leading to the arrest of her attacker and the case recently prompted the country’s Senate to change the law.

Perpetrators now face sentences of up to 50 years, and a programme to provide protection to victims, their families and witnesses, encourages more people to pursue prosecutions.

Jaf Shah from ASTI believes a lack of confidence in the police and judiciary is one reason why so many cases across the world go unreported.

Many police officers don’t investigate attacks efficiently enough. Once that happens, you’ve lost vital evidence which might help bring cases to court.”

But perhaps the most powerful force for change is still the survivors themselves.

Dolly, at Sheroes cafe, knows only too well about the urge to cover up the scars and hide away in shame.

Today, however, her advice to other victims is simple: “They should not lock themselves up. They should meet people and talk to them.”

By telling their stories, they can help keep acid violence on the political agenda.

By having the courage to remain part of society, they can help break down prejudices and make it easier for others to step out of the shadows.

Find Out More:

——————————————————————————————————————————————————-

Acid attack hospital admissions have almost doubled in last 10 years

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/sep/30/acid-attack-hospital-admissions-have-almost-doubled-in-last-10-years

Data obtained by the Guardian shows a worrying rise in assaults using corrosive substances, while many incidents still go unreported

Carla Whitlock Acid Attack Victim

Caption: Carla Whitlock, 37, suffered serious burns after being attacked with acid in Southampton on 18 September. Photograph: Hampshire police/PA

The number of admissions to hospitals as a result of attacks using a corrosive substance, such as sulphuric acid, has almost doubled in the last 10 years, new data reveals.

Amid rising concerns about acid attacks, statistics obtained by the Guardian from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) show that in 2004-05 there were 55 stays in hospital caused by them in England. But provisional data for the most recent period, 2014-15, shows this has risen to 106 admissions.

Reported Acid Attack Victims in England 10 years decade research

In one recent incident, Carla Whitlock, a 37-year-old mother of six, suffered serious burns after she was attacked with acid in Guildhall Square, Southampton, on 18 September. Two brothers were charged by police on Wednesday.

The Guardian has spoken to victims, community workers, support groups, ex members of gangs, and the police – and all warned that such attacks were of increasing concern. One male former gang member said: “Young gang members are more ruthless than they used to be. It’s now become part of the natural thought process to use acid; it’s on the roster.”

Analysis of the data also reveals a trend which surprised experts, with the biggest age group of victims being those over 75, who accounted for 253 of the 925 total admissions in the last 10 years. The figures refer not to people but admittances and it could be that older victims need more visits for treatment, and that such attacks on older people have been surrounded in secrecy and have been under-reported.

It is believed the real overall figures may be much higher because some victims do not report attacks and because hospitals are not forced to record the reasons for burns. A female victim who the Guardian spoke to described how she had been followed by a stranger before being attacked and was too scared to go to the police.

Six in 10 of all victims were male, while 71% described their ethnic origin as white British, the figures show (white British, according to the 2011 census, accounts for 80% of the British population in England and Wales). Globally, an estimated 80% of victims are women.

Jaf Shah, the executive director of the support group Acid Survivors Trust International (ASTI), said: “Looking at the data in general, there is a fairly large probability that a high percentage of the incidents are male on male attacks and most likely to be gang related. The numbers appear to be very high and suggest an increase, which is very concerning.”

Kwambe Ibegbuna, a social worker and community activist in Manchester, said acid attacks were becoming more common – not just among gangs but in cases of domestic violence and also for intimidation. “I’ve had people tell me they wanted to leave a mark, others say they were attacked because they rejected people’s sexual advances. The stories vary greatly but the most consistent feature is to ensure the victim is traumatised greatly by the experience and that power has been exerted.”

A woman from West Yorkshire, who wanted to remain anonymous, said she had acid thrown at her two years ago by a man she had never met before but who had followed her home twice before the attack. “The third time it happened, I felt really intimidated. I turned around to see who it was and he was standing there with a bottle and bag looking at me. I didn’t know what was in it.

“I turned around and carried on walking, this time at a pace. But he just followed.

“I looked over my shoulder again and that’s when it happened. It was so fast, he threw the liquid at me. It hit my neck. I’ve never felt something so strong, it was a really strange sensation, as if something was breaking through my skin. I was so distressed but I didn’t want my family to find out, so I ran home.

“My neck started to blister. I frantically tried to wash it off with water in the bathroom sink, but that seemed to make it worse. I know it sounds terrible but I tried to pick at it, just to get it off my skin. For the next two weeks I didn’t go out, I was in total shock. I was worried about my mum finding out.

The woman said she did not tell the police because she thought the man who attacked her was very well connected in the community. “I just didn’t want any backlash. It’s just me and my mum you see … I didn’t want her to be attacked.

“I still feel self-conscious and nervous if I go out of the house, and I’m afraid of strangers.

“I was walking in the same area three months ago and I saw him again. I was petrified. He just said to me, ‘I’m sorry’.

I said ‘It’s OK’ and hurriedly walked away. My family have never found out. I still don’t know why he did it.”

The former gang member said using acid had become more acceptable and was not seen as a “big deal”.

He said: “People don’t think of the consequences. It’s easy to buy most of the ingredients legally… One of my cousins was done a few years ago. He was attacked on his shoulder and my uncle just dressed it for him at home. Acid is used as an extreme mark of dominance. It’s letting the individual know I haven’t killed you, but it’s almost worse than that, it’s a mark – on your face. It’s a sinister legacy.” [My comment: like when you’re kept alive just enough to be tortured every day.]

He was sceptical about the government’s chances of reducing the number of incidents. “Acid violence has become part of society. We need honest conversations about relationships earlier with our young people. Men no longer are trained to love and respect women. If you don’t get what you want it’s not OK to act like this.

“Young men need to be educated on how to sort out disputes with other young men without resorting to violence. We need to work out why these young people are so unhappy.”

Deputy chief constable Andy Cooke, the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead on violence and public protection, said he believed the number of attacks was underreported.

“Although the Guardian’s statistics do show an increase, I’m also sure that some offences of this type are not reported as a crime to the police. I would urge anyone who is a victim of this type of attack to report it so that we can deal with the matter positively and sensitively.

“It is virtually impossible to ban the sale of all corrosive substances, as many are household products. In recent years, the police service has made great inroads in tackling violent crime and has consistently worked to significantly enhance its intelligence picture. Intelligence coupled with consistent risk assessment and offender profiling may give us the opportunity to help reduce this type of offending in the future.”

One criminal law expert, Dr Loretta Trickett, of Nottingham Trent University, said the way data on acid attacks was collected “varies considerably in terms of how incidents are classified and whether persons or incidents are counted”, adding “This means is difficult to gauge the extent of the problem and speculation is inevitable.”

Separate to the HSCIC data, freedom of information requests revealed that 3 out of the 32 burns centres in England and Scotland do not currently code for these attacks.

Sarah Wollaston, the Conservative MP, who is a former GP, said: “It’s important to understand which groups are being targeted and that is difficult if these admissions and crimes are not being consistently and accurately recorded.”

The HSCIC data showed 12 admissions involved children under 10 years old, and 21 admissions for those aged between 10 and 17.

However, Shah said: “The most startling and shocking figure relates to the number of over-75s. This is a particularly vulnerable group.

“ASTI’s experience of working with local partners in low-income countries is that many victims of attack are reluctant to come forward and report the attacks for fear of reprisals.”

Gary FitzGerald, the chief executive of the charity Action on Elder Abuse, said: “These figures are horrifying. Although we see multiple instances of abuse reported to our helpline each year we have received no reports of this nature. We need to understand what is going on – is this hidden hate crime, domestic violence, or something else? We need an urgent inquiry by the government into what is going on, why, and what needs to be done about it.”

The Guardian put all the concerns raised around acid attacks to the Home Office. A spokesperson for the department said: “We want to get a true picture of this type of crime and we need victims to know they can come forward with the confidence their allegation will be taken seriously and be properly investigated by police. This government puts the highest emphasis on the needs of victims. We have given victims more rights under the victims’ code, and will reinforce this by putting key entitlements in law.

“There’s no place in society for these sickening attacks and perpetrators face a life sentence if they are convicted.”
The FOI figures show that the Queen Elizabeth hospital in Birmingham has treated the largest number of victims since 2004, with 69 patients. The Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle treated 44 people, the St Andrews Centre in Essex 24, Chelsea and Westminster hospital in London 20, and Glasgow Royal Infirmary 19.
——————————————————————————————————————————————————-

Organizations Against Acid Attacks:

http://www.acidviolence.org/index.php/acid-violence/
http://www.stopacidattacks.org/
http://www.asfi.in/
https://www.actionaid.org.uk/news-and-views/acid-attacks-a-survivors-story
‘Seventeen-year-old Neela Amina Khatun is one of more than 2,700 victims of acid attacks in Bangladesh over the past decade. “My husband was angry for a long time because he claimed a dowry but my family couldn’t provide one,” she says. Forced into marriage at 12 years old, Neela’s husband attacked her when she was just 14.

“His plan was to sell me in Saudi Arabia – when I refused he threw acid on me and he fled. The moment the acid was thrown I tried to cover my face with my hands. It was very painful, I was screaming and all the neighbours could hear and they came and took me to the hospital,” she says.

“I spent six months in hospital. I was so depressed because I was in a closed room and my whole body was bandaged up, so I couldn’t move. It felt like I was in a cage.’


A song my Mum was listening to recently that reminded me of this issue:

Five Finger Death Punch (remember the move ‘The Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique’ in ‘Kill Bill’ (2003) which ‘The Bride’ is taught and what happens to her, brutal attack, abduction of her child through an ‘abortion’, coma, rape) – Wrong Side of Heaven

My opinion: This is why I’ve never liked soldiers yet have always stupidly cared (Goddess I hate being sympathetic and empathetic nowadays) about the way they’re treated when/if they get back ‘home’. They’re tools, stupid imo for being patriotic, for fighting others just like them, for the mass rampant evil they instigate and perpetuate, and get away with. For the world wars they never end and continue. For being puppets to their egos, the governments, agendas, warmongers, corporations, international bussiness experimentors/torturers and who knows what else. Then when they have the ‘opportunity’ to regret SOME of them realize they’re not heroes and never have been and neither are those who encouraged and enabled them.

To those who’ve seen war God is now a woman, the Devil is a man. Soliders work for and look like the Devil.

Lyrics:

I spoke to God today, and she said that she’s ashamed.
What have I become, what have I done?
I spoke to the Devil today, and he swears he’s not to blame.
And I understood, cause I feel the same.

Arms wide open, I stand alone.
I’m no hero, and I’m not made of stone.
Right or wrong, I can hardly tell.
I’m on the wrong side of heaven, and the righteous side of hell.
The wrong side of heaven, and the righteous side, righteous side of hell.

I heard from God today, and she sounded just like me.
What have I done, and who have I become.
I saw the Devil today, and he looked a lot like me.
I looked away, I turned away!

Arms wide open, I stand alone.
I’m no hero, and I’m not made of stone.
Right or wrong, I can hardly tell.
I’m on the wrong side of heaven, and the righteous side of hell.
The wrong side of heaven, and the righteous side, the righteous side of hell.

I’m not defending, downward descending,
Falling further and further away!
Getting closer every day!

I’m getting closer every day, to the end.
To the end, the end, the end,
I’m getting closer every day!

Arms wide open, I stand alone.
I’m no hero, and I’m not made of stone.
Right or wrong, I can hardly tell.
I’m on the wrong side of heaven, and the righteous side of hell.
The wrong side of heaven, and the righteous side of hell.
The wrong side of heaven, and the righteous side, the righteous side of hell.

I prefer warriors not soldiers, and leaders should live by example not use pawns like some cosmic chessboard.
(I taught my Mother how to play chess btw and she’s better at it than Me 😉 )

End the game.
.
.
.
I’ve been feeling like wearing a mask lately because of my ugliness.

Photo source: Pinterest

Photo source: Pinterest

(The voice[s] in my head: “It’s a full mask [not a half face because my scars and continued bleeding run deep]”.) Flashback to another [World] Hug Holiday. My commentary in that and NO (I’ve always refused everything and never given permission) to a certain someone’s ‘hug ritual’ “to ensure they don’t hurt you” (and ‘QUEEN’ invasion “to prove we care/love/trust you”) and look where that sh*t has led HERE, HERE, and HERE

I hate masks (virtual reality, spiritual and/or physical), and ‘people’ (VIPs as opposed to the regular Jane/Joe ‘ppl’) and ‘others’ (non-human) [‘ppl, people and others’ being my terminology] who hide; their anonymity, power and fake authority. I’ve always preferred to be the real me and not a pale shadow of what I used to be nor what others want/ed me to be. I’ve always been Gold through and through, I don’t need your contamination and if I was a ‘guru-teacher-yogi’ aka REAL WARRIOR NOT SOLDIER/TEACHING ASSISTANT I would never have let ‘my’ (not that I’ve ever had any nor would I, I’m not a egoist who needs/wants followers) ‘students’ suffer unlike you and what you claim e.g. “My Lady, I’ve been going through all this to send you to school”.

The reptile Black chip is dead, the inner voice group is down to 1, other sh*t is coming through, what next? Take your demonic “Jasper-White-Sun” trash and die, you should’ve stayed married to your Sissy/Sister and implanted yourselves with your stupid chips. Miss the tree? Keep missing Me.

You remind of this campaign and another where the domestic abuse tv ad says the woman only gets flowers after he beats her and it’s too late to sorry when she’s dead with flowers at her funeral.

He Beat Her 150 Times She Got Flowers Once Campaign Domestic Abuse

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: