“Sonia”, age 24, survived an acid attack in Bangladesh after declining the offer of an arranged marriage, Source Narayan Nath/FCO/Department for International Development (CC Attribution 2.0 Generic)
Voice of the Martyrs http://www.persecution.com began reporting some 15 years ago on a growing trend toward acid attacks against women. One early attack took place in Pakistan against a 17 y.o. Christian girl who had refused the advances of a Muslim man. A striking photo of the girl (“Gulnaz”) showed one side of her face beautiful, the other side horribly scarred.
But acid attacks are not all religiously motivated.
As with Sonia (pictured above), the overwhelming number of attacks are made on young women who have rejected sexual advances by a male or whose parents have refused an offer of marriage . The purpose of these attacks is to enforce gender inequality, and punish perceived transgressions by women against traditional norms.
More recently, acid attacks have been made against children, older women, and men. These attacks have been associated with dowry demands, land disputes, and revenge.
Whatever the motivation, the consequences of acid violence are life-changing for victims. After-effects include physical and emotional scarring, multiple surgeries, and a lengthy process of rehabilitation. In the majority of cases, a victim’s education is permanently interrupted, and her chances for marriage destroyed. This translates into abject poverty.
The Acid Survivors Foundation is one organization which supports the victims of acid attacks. ACF assists with medical treatment, physical and psychological rehabilitation, job training, and reintegration into society.
The scars from acid violence remain a lifetime. But with help and courage, victims can find the strength to go on with their lives.
 Acid Survivors Foundation, “Acid Violence”, http://www.acidsurvivors.org/Acid-Violence.
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