Raheela Rahim is an acid attack victim and her story will shatter your heart. With the consent of both families, Raheela was engaged to a guy working in the police force. The families soon decided that it was best to just call off the engagement because the families and the people involved were not compatible.
But that did not go well with Raheela’s fiance – who decided that if she cannot marry him, she should not be able to marry anyone else.
He took matters into his own hands and plotted an acid attack. The family was out to buy a few things and their home was locked. He glued the lock to buy more time while the family opens the door and then used this opportunity to throw acid on her face.
He mixed four different kinds of acids to ensure the deadly result and used his police influence to get hold of these liquids. Raheela immediately cried out in pain but her sister’s a few months old baby got hurt too.
I want justice میں اعلی عدلیہ سے اپیل کرتی ہوں کے ہم بیٹیوں کو انصاف دلایا جائے ہر سال تیزاب گردی کے واقعات بھڑھتے جا ریے ہیں خدارا ہم بیٹیوں کو انصاف دلایا جائے ہمارے مجرم کو سخت سے سخت سزا دی جائے
Raheela, however, has remained steadfast after the incident and has decided to fight back
Initially, the pain was excruciating and it takes a lot of time and multiple surgeries to be able to retain some of the facial features and functions back. Many girls do not even pursue a legal case because the idea of honor of the family is involved. So they either remain silent or settle scores out of court. Many cannot even afford the legal fees of the due process, hence they are only left to deal with the trauma on their own. And the future for them is very bleak.
However, Raheela’s story is very different. She has taken it upon herself to create awareness and ask for justice.
Gepostet von Raheela Rahim am Samstag, 7. Juli 2018
Raheela describes in detail what she has gone through and how traumatic it was because of the lack of remorse the guy feels for his actions
These people are so ingrained with the idea that they can treat women however they want that such attacks are very common in Pakistan. Raheela is determined to fight for justice till the very end and pushes for an acid attack in return for an acid attack so that the accused can experience the same pain that victims go through
The sub-human treatment of people in Pakistan, especially women, needs to be checked regularly. Regular laws are either not applied or have no value for criminals, and this is ruining lives.
When asked why she is determined to tell her story despite the risk, this is what she had to say
“I want women to stand up for themselves and know that they are not alone. It is their fight and they have to fight it, no matter what people say. Yes, my story is sad and it makes me sad too but it has to be told again and again to make sure that people understand what it’s like when someone has acid thrown on them and how that alters your life.”
It was not until concentrated effort of Oscar winner Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy that a very imminent problem of the society came to the forefront. Her documentary called Saving Face highlighted the plight of women who are conveniently attacked using acids for so many reason and how difficult it is for them to seek treatment and get justice.
The film not only won an Emmy Award for the best documentary short film and also managed to alert the Pakistan state machinery
They were forced to own that this problem exists and create legislature to ensure speedy justice to the women who fall victim to such practices.
Pakistan then managed to pass the Acid and Burn Cime Bill in 2014 to address the issue
According to the bill, if the acid attack results in the death of the person involved then court punishes the accused to a life imprisonment. If the victim incurs injuries and burns, the accused is sentenced to a minimum seven years in prison.
The government also provides financial aid at the request of the victim, however, we know how actively laws are made but there are no awareness campaigns to let the population know of these developments. Hence, many victims still have to pay the legal fees out of their pockets, have to deal with the countless threats of the party accused and also deal with labels of shame in the process.
At this point, around 130 cases of an acid attack in Pakistan are reported every year. And this is just the number of cases which are reported. The government still needs to work on the implementation of the laws and ensure that no one dares to commit this heinous crime. These cases should be picked up by the Anti-Terrorism because such individuals do not deserve the right to a fair trial.
A landmark decision was taken in November 2017 when an acid attacker was prisoned to a double life imprisonment of 60 years. These precedents need to be upheld and the government must be vigilant to provide a helpline and legal aid to the victims because otherwise, the law is absolutely useless.
cover image via globalcitizen.org