The Unheard Cry of Acid Attack Victims
I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.
― Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre
We are in the year 2016 where the literacy rate has drastically increased but we still have this as a burning issue. People are still bound to jealousy, rage, anger, ego, rejection etc ultimately hurting and ruining the life of others. Acid attack is one such menace to society.
Below are a few stories of acid survivors who came forward and voiced their plea to put a stop to this:
Laxmi Agarwal– Was scarred at a tender age of 15 by a man double her age for rejecting his romantic advances. This didn’t just affect her but her family too. Laxmi did not lose hope. Her major strength came from her father who supported her in every possible way. In 2014 she met social activist Alok Dixit who chose to be with her and love her for life. The two are in a live-in relationship and have decided not to get married. They now have a daughter named Pihu born March 25th, 2015. Laxmi and Dixit are members of the Chaanv Foundation, the NGO which organized the Stop Acid Attack (SAA)campaign. Laxmi has received multiple awards in India for her work to curb the sale of acid and to rehabilitate the survivors of acid attacks through her foundation. She also received the prestigious International Women of Courage Award from US First Lady Michelle Obama at an awards ceremony at the State Department.
Rupa– Was permanently disfigured by her step mother when she was 15. She was then taken care of by her uncle who bore all the cost of her surgeries. Despite her scar, Rupa did not stop dreaming. She took up to needle work and sewing which made her realize that she is a naturally talented designer. Rupa joined the Stop Acid Attack (SAA) campaign and met many victims like her. This made her more confident in herself. She went on and fulfilled her dream and launched her own fashion brand “Rupa Creations’. Rupa runs her boutique at the Sheoes hangout cafe in Agra.
Sonali Mukherjee– Was a National Cadet Corps cadet. She was attacked by three men from her neighborhood while she was sleeping on the roof of her house along with her family. Her life took a down hill and she under went depression. She even appealed for euthanasia. Her wish to met the great Mr. Amitabh Bachchan, got fulfilled on the set of Kaun Banega Crorepati season 6. Her story was telecast on the famous show Crime Petrol. Her attackers were initially sentenced to nine years in jail but were granted bail when they appealed to the High Court.
The bright side
People like Laxmi, Rupa (to name a few) have bounced back, they have put the past behind them and moved ahead on the road to sucess. There are many more women out there who have fought through this. Hat off to these women of courage. Their physical scar will reduce if not completely gone but the psychological scar will always remain.
We have some good samaritians in our society like Photographer Rahul Saharan who recently had a photoshoot with the acid attack survivors receent, Alok Dixit, Anurag Dwivedi, Ashish Shukla who are a team for Stop acid attacks campaign webpage, who set up ‘Sheroes Hangout’ a cafe (initiative of Stop Acid Campaign) run by acid attack survivors. They aslo have a library, activism workshop, hadicrafts & exhibition space (follow the link for further details )
An acid attack victim is always seen as a financial and social burden on their families. We in these modern times need to change that myth and help them bring about the change to irradicate this menance.
Happy Womens Day, Stay Strong.