Acid attack with an intention to hurt somebody’s face or their body in general, is possibly one of the most horrible crimes. In Pakistan, unfortunately, the practice has been widely used by lots of men to seek revenge from the women who have either refused to marry them or ruined their izzat by not doing what they wanted them to do.
The majority of acid attack victims in Pakistan have been female.
Last year, the percentage of acid attack victims that were female was 69.9 percent as compared to 26.21 percent males. Even though, overall, between 2014 and 2016, there has been a 50 percent decline in reported acid attacks.
Pakistani lawyer and internet activist, Nighat Daad, runs the not-for-profit organisation Digital Rights Foundation and shared a heart-wrenching account of an acid attack survivor.
“Her brother in law wanted to marry her (yes that sounds weird) he used to send her obscene texts on mobile phone, she was always forced to visit her sister by her family because of course no one was going to believe that her brother in law was harassing her offline and online. She tried to save her sister’s marital life but one day her brother in law stopped her on way to university, asked her to go with him and when she refused he threw acid on her face,” writes Nighat in her Facebook post that has been doing rounds of social media lately.
For this case of the horrible acid attack, the story does not end here.
The incredibly brave lady refused to give up and went all the way to help put the perpetrator behind the bars.
“This brave young girl refused to accept this as a fate, she got support from activists working on acid prevention and we both were mainly in touch because of the blackmailing she was facing from her perpetrator’s side, this criminal sent her text messages that he will post her doctored pics on internet if she wouldn’t take back the case. We both used to talk about the case on and off, sometimes she used to be low due to the fact that her perpetrator was roaming freely but she was never discouraged. Today after one year and 7 months of pursuing her case, her perpetrator was sentenced with 28 years imprisonment and 20 lac fine. She had a cosmetic surgery on a day of hearing but she made sure to send me this picture and requested me to post it on Facebook and let other women know that together we are stronger and we can fight these battles with solidarity and determination. More power to you S! (she requested me to post the message and her picture),” Nighat further adds in her post.
Unfortunately, the woman’s sister has been giving statements against her own sister in order to defend her own husband.
The case is a living testimony to the fact that women are taught to treat their husbands as their ‘Mijazi Khuda‘
The comments under the post have generally been supportive of the victim
There are those who doubt the authenticity of this piece of news mainly because the victim or the perpetrator have not been revealed, despite repeated mentions that it was done for safety reasons.
Such comments, unfortunately, are synonymous to what happened in Sharmen Obaid Chinoy’s case.
Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy was criticized, hurled abuses at and harassed in the online as well as offline spaces after she received Pakistan’s first Oscar for her documentary short film Saving Faces. People were suddenly more concerned about Pakistan’s ‘image’ in the world than the victims of the brutal acid attacks. She was accused of going back on her promises to the subjects of the documentary, was called ‘mulk dushman‘ and similar terms for merely bringing the reality to light.
Unfortunately, other victims of acid attacks and those who raise such issues also face similar levels of criticism and harassment. It is easier for some of us to believe that it is all a propaganda than to actually accept the reality. But honestly, it’s about time that realities that bring our society down are actually discussed so we can discuss ways to stop them from happening. Shoving them under the carpet does nothing but let such issues happen again, while we turn a blind eye to the burra image of our country.
More power to you, S and Nighat Daad.
Cover Image Via: Nighat Daad/Facebook