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Acid-An emerging weapon against women

Syeda Laila Rizvi

We live in a country where the cost of a bottle of an acid is cheaper than the treatment of an acid injury. Acid attack is the purposely use of acid to attack another human being to in order to damage, disfigure and to cause blindness in them. The victims of acid attacks are mostly women and children since they are more vulnerable and perceived as easy targets in the society. Acid throwing has been used as an emerging weapon and this year, at least 160 women alone in Pakistan have been subjected to it. Culprits are mostly the men from very low class, who are uneducated and have no basic knowledge of women rights. They treat women as weak, passive and dependent creatures who have no right to make decisions of their own. They make women their victims for refusing dowry demands, for attending schools, for not wearing Islamic veils or for not behaving as per their instructions. The culprits are also high class men who are always pampered and spoiled by their families. When they are always given everything they have ever demanded for, on their door step, they are unable to bear and tolerate rejection. They attack women to relive their anger on them for ending relationships, refusing proposals and sexual exploitation. They throw acid with the intention of disfiguring and burning the faces, smashing the noses, melting the eyes and walk away then, as happy and satisfied thereby, restoring their so called pride and self-respect. Despite of doing the physical damage and depriving of looks and sight, these attacks cause emotionally and psychologically scarred and struggles of rebuilding self-confidence too. In most of the cases, women are rejected by their own families and communities and are forced to live in isolation then. Families are torn apart, jobs are vanished overnight, dreams and ambitions are shattered and ruined and the victims are perceived to be a burden on their families. Acid violence against women, which always has been under-reported in our society, forces the women to feel that there is not any organization or structure to help them and they do not have anywhere to go to or to find support in the society. One of the first measures that can be taken against these attacks is to change the mentality of the people. Why always the victim is blamed instead of attacker? Why people always think that it is constantly woman’s fault? Why the people could not digest women being strong, successful and independent? Why is it so offensive when a woman can move independently and make her own decisions? Why an attacker will more than likely to get away with the crime?Most importantly, how can anyone live with themselves knowing that they have destroyed someone’s family, ambitions and life just for satisfying their own ego by doing such an evil act?
Acids, which are mainly used for industrial purposes and for cleaning of the toilets, can burn through the human flesh and areexcessively available at almost every general store across the country when there are a number of alternatives for acid available in the market. Seriousness, on the part of government, should be shown in handling the issue and saving the country’s vulnerable population. Sale of acid should either be regulated or prohibited by the government. Acid attackers should also be carried extended jail sentences so that fear of punishment and law could refrain them from such evil acts. In addition to having better laws, societal changes is what we need the most. The change shall only come if rights of women as equal citizens are recognized and enforced.

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