Acid Attacks: Disfiguring the face of the society

The consequences of these acid attacks are long and have challenges. A victim has to go through mental trauma, first of being burnt, then being unrecognisable to herself and others.

Acid attack on women and issues related to them

The problem begins with the sale of acid. Why is it so easily available over the counter?

It all starts when a jilted lover, or a man has rejected by a woman, it hurts his ego and in return, “to show them” what saying no means, it leads to them purchasing acid and throwing it on the victim. All because a girl said NO! Does she not have a right to refuse advances from a man who she is not interested in?

Why does the government allow this sale to happen? Why not ban the product? These are some of the cases and statistics that happen across the country. 250-300 reported incidents every year while the “actual number could exceed 1,000, according to official reports and there have been 1,483 victims of acid attacks in the country between 2014 to 2018 and 300 acid attacks in 20219. 2020’s figures have not been disclosed yet. Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Delhi have been consistently ranking among the 10 worst states in term of acid attacks from 2014 to 2020. This is according to data released by National Crime Records Bureau.

The consequences of these attacks are long and have challenges. A victim has to go through mental trauma, first of being burnt, then being unrecognisable to herself and others.

Could you imagine if you had to live without a face? How would you feel?

This leads to changes in behaviour, isolation, depression, anxiety and more. They feel rejected by society, even though they may be receiving love from immediate family members, they feel inadequate and that society will not accept them any longer.

Once they are unrecognisable to themselves, they feel it’s the same with others. It is important for others to understand, that other surgeries, the victim needs psychological help as they have suffered intense trauma and abuse. Healing is a long drawn process, and a painful one.

Life for an acid attack survivor is tough. For them to make a public appearance once they have accepted themselves can be painful. Other people may be scared of their appearance and that too can have an effect on their mental wellbeing.

A few even try to commit suicide, and almost every acid attack survivor has this thought about ending their life. A few who are able to come out of this depression take a stand and rebuild themselves, which in turn sets an example for other victims and gives them hope.

We have so many acid attack survivors who are making a difference and setting an example and leading the way. It is amazing to see these women come out of this, but it takes time, and the end we should all question ourselves. Why do these women have to put up with this and alter their entire life journey and deal with such a struggle?

It all comes down to this, the fact remains that acid is easily available and that these attacks are still very common. Agreed that that victim has to go through intense therapy to be revived again, but what about the person who has performed this heinous crime?

This goes to show their mental sickness and one should get help for the attacker too. It is not normal for someone to deface someone else. To even think about this and attacking someone is worry some.

They need to be educated and told there will be consequences to behaving in such an inhumane manner. Schools should have a curriculum and students should be taught on how to value human life. Such teachings should also be imparted by parents at home.

They shape the future of our children and for anyone to think its ok to hurt someone else, is absolutely wrong! We need to change the way we think, respect others and value human life- and this is something that should be imbibed in children, so that when they grow up, they don’t go onto becoming criminals and are taught what is right from wrong.

It is rather unfortunate that once such an attack has happened the punishment is not the harshest. Unfortunately, there is only victim fund compensation, no social, no mental or no physical justice from the law.

It takes a lot of courage for the victim to take a stand for their own mental health damage for which she will have to fight a battle with an approaching mental health specialist. No government or court can give back what has been damaged physically or mentally.

No amount of money can bring back life, once it has been scarred and changed forever. It takes a lot of time, effort and other volunteers and doctors to help rebuild a person, their faith, courage and confidence. The victim at that moment is going through a crisis and has lost faith in humanity and themselves.

We need to be more accepting of such situations. We live in a world dominated by social media, where looks define everything. Its sad but true. We need to look beyond that and see that inner beauty is what the most valuable asset is. Reality is altered and one needs to go on living, accepting that, making constant changes. It is already hard enough for a survivor to stand; make a living and learn to embrace their new life change. We need to be more accepting of their situation.