Lingering Scars

This is a story about women who are the survivors of acid attack. There are scores of new acid attack victims arriving every day at the hospital. In addition to disfigurement of the face and body, some have permanent loss of eyesight; some will never be able to eat with their mouth. In most cases the victims are women, whose burn injuries are caused by their intimate partner, spouse, boyfriend or the person whom they refused to love.

Violence against women is a global phenomenon. In Bangladesh, reports of violence against women are on the rise. Oftentimes, it takes the form of acid attacks, which are estimated to occur every two days, the majority of sufferers being female. Violence against women is closely linked to the institute of marriage, whereby the woman is considered to be guilty for any family breakup or divorce and living alone is difficult. These views on marriage are deeply embedded in cultural and socio-economic practices. Violence against women is sanctioned by both society and the state, but in the name of culture, tradition and religious practices, women are usually forced to live with their abusive spouse to maintain social norms.

According to Acid Survival Foundation(ASF) in Bangladesh, from 1999 to 2011 there were 2539 acid attacks and among them 1084 were women. The ratio between male and female victims indicates the extent of violence and discrimination against women in our society.

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