by Rashmi Kausik
Acid Attack - The most horrendous crime
Acid attacks are the most gruesome crimes, that not only cause physical trauma but also affect the person psychologically. Perpetrators of this attack throw corrosive liquids at their victims with the intention to maim, torture or kill.
In India acid attack on women is increasing day by day especially young girls between the ages of 14 to 35 years. Statistics show that in 2015, 299 cases were reported and about 300 attacks are reported each year. This attack takes us back to hundred years, when it was known as, vitriolage, as it comes from the chemical. These attacks stem from mentality of possession.
The depth of the injury, depends on the power of the acid and the duration for which it was in contact with the skin. The trauma is unparalleled. 80% of survivors either are virtually impaired or completely blind. Many have to breathe through tubes as acid corrodes their nose bones. Some use hearing aids as acid melts their ears. They go through reconstructive surgeries which endeavors them to live with least amount of disability.
We have seen this act more common in rural areas and lower socioeconomic class. Though tides are shifting, we need to have strict law enforcements as these attacks encourage future attacks. Many attacks are not reported because of involvement of family members.
Though more women have been victims of Acid Attack, men, too, have suffered. According to National Crime Record Bureau, more than 30 to 40 percent victims are men.
The social stigma that surrounds
acid attacks speaks volumes about us as a society. The victims want to forget the acid throw moment as a nightmare but unfortunately fail to do so. In India acid attacks are a huge problem. However there are survivors who are strong willed and don’t let these crimes dampen their spirit.
The Indian government has included Acid Attack survivors in the list of Disability Act 2016. This attack allows 4% reservations for people with disabilities in government jobs. Acid Attack survivors are clubbed under the locomotor disability category which gets 1% reservation.
Laxmi Agarwal was only 15 when she was attacked by a jilted lover. She did not let the attack destroy her inner strength. Her career as a campaigner with “Stop Acid Attacks” took off and she has become a voice of acid attack survivors.
At the age of 21 Ria Sharma, founded “Make love not Scars” an organization that actively supports victims of these heinous crime. This organization provides medical, legal and psychological help to victims and provides need based training to secure employment opportunities.
NGOs also provide a ray of hope to the victims by raising funds for the treatment and medication of the victims. They provide all round care to acid attack survivors and also focus on awareness, rehabilitation and empowerment.
Despite several laws, there is a rampant rise of acid attacks in India. We as citizens have to be more aware and help in strengthening of the implementation of these laws by complaining to the authorities if we witness over the counter sale of acid. ***