- 2007 (20)
- 2006 (36)
- Lotus Reads
- Book fiend,culture-vulture, world traveller, daughter of the tropics now living in the Great White North.
Friday, September 15, 2006
7:48 PM | Posted by Lotus Reads | Edit Post
Right across the road from my mother's childhood home there lived a family with two daughters in their twenties. I was at the age when one tends to idolize girls older than oneself and so, whenever I went to visit my grandmother I would spend hours admiring these two Anglo-Indian sisters with their honeyed eyes and golden-brown hair. Shortly after my 10th birthday I noticed that the older girl had dropped out of sight. After many weeks had gone by, I asked my grandmother why Rivalli* was nowhere to be seen and she told me (my grandmother was not one to mince words) that Rivalli's boyfriend had thrown acid on her face in a fit of jealous rage. Being only 10 years of age, I didn't know the damage that acid could cause so imagine my shock when I saw Rivalli several months later to find half her face had been eaten away by the acid and she had a permenant limp owing to damage caused to her feet by the acid.
Sadly, I would go on to meet and know a couple of other women who were victims of acid attacks. Whilst in High School, two of my classmates were also victims with one of them losing an eye due to the corrosiveness of the acid. The Indian newspapers were full of sad stories of young men who would resort to acid throwing when they felt spurned by the object of their affection. I read recently that such cases are also very common in Pakistan and Bangladesh. Infact, in Bangladesh, acid throwing is so prevalent that they even have a special hospital and rehabilitation centre for victims.
So, I found myself wondering why some men use this cruel method to exact revenge on a lover who has spurned his attentions and why acid-throwing happens to be a favored measure of retaliation for men from the sub-continent but hardly found elsewhere?
Let's try and tackle these questions together- I think one of the big reasons men in the subcontinent favor acid-throwing is because acid is cheap and easy to buy here. Sure, there are regulations on the sale, use, storage etc., but the rules are lax, also, in the male-dominated societies of the sub-continent, the man loses face when rejected and so he wants the woman to lose face, too, pun intended. Statistics tell us that women who have been left scarred or disfigured in an acid attack seldom ever get married, they are ostracized by their family and friends and are unable to find jobs. Their lives are all but over.
So, the next time the world celebrates an International Woman's Day can I ask all of you to remember the victims of acid attacks? True, in most cases their lives are spared, but because they are shunned so much by society I am sure a lot of them wish they were dead.
* Names have been changed.
Labels: social issues