Crime against women is on the rise in India and assumes new dimensions everyday. Having your face disfigured and burned in a matter of seconds is not what a woman has in mind as a consequence when they refuse to go on a date or get married with a man. They result from domestic or land disputes, dowry demands or revenge. In many cases, they are a form of gender based violence, perhaps because a young girl or woman spurned sexual advances or rejected a marriage proposal. Sadly, this form of violence or ‘acid throwing’ is happening in the gender-stratified or ‘caste’ system countries.
The problems of acid attack victims are unique. They need multiple surgeries, often 10 and above. Their period for rehabilitation could also last up to 5-10 years. Victims need employment, education, money during that period, a safe place to stay and witness protection, because assailants often stalk them afterwards demanding they stop prosecution.
Acid attacks cause immediate damage, disfigurement, pain and long lasting medical complications for victims. Acid can melt away a victim’s skin and flesh, going as far as dissolving bones. The burned skin dies, turning black and leathery, and severe scarring results. After the attacks, victims are at risk of breathing failure due to the inhalation of acid vapours which cause either a poisonous reaction or swelling in the lungs. In the weeks or months after the attack, acid burn victims may suffer from infections, which can also cause death if not treated properly.
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)