Acid Attacks: Why Does It Happen?

There are thousands of acid victims being attacked every year. The majority of these acid victims are women and young children, although men are no exception to it. Victims are attacked for numerous reasons, such as domestic or land disputes, personal revenge, disgrace, and much more. The majority of the times, acid attacks are rooted from a personal revenge, perhaps a young girl or woman rejected a marriage proposal or has disgraced her family, or the perpetrator possesses a personal grudge or hatred towards the victim. Acid victims live all over the world, but more profoundly in countries, such as India, Cambodia, and Bangladesh, where gender inequality is much more prevalent.

The main source of acid attacks may be caused by the easy availability and accessibility of acid on the market. For example, “acids used in manufacturing and processing cotton and rubber…is a leading cause of attacks”. (1) Additionally, the “weak rule of law, political corruption and cultural inequalities between gender have contributed to increasing incidents of acid attacks in many countries.” In other words, there are poor regulations and safety checks in place in order to prohibit the approachability of acid. Hence, many people can access it easily. Attackers use acid to purposefully disfigure and deform the victim. Acid is not to kill the person, which is possibly the worst crime that a human being can commit. Instead, perpetrators ‘punish’ the victims by forcefully changing their life. The person’s body and face become extremely disfigured, thereby leaving the victim to undergo extreme humiliation and tragedy. With that said, attackers take away an individual’s freedom to ever live a normal life again.

Acid attacks are a serious crime and there is no doubt that perpetrators must be held accountable for their actions. Sadly, many attackers get away with this, especially in less economically developed countries. Most recently, on January 12th, an Italian model and former Miss Italy contestant had acid thrown into her face, allegedly by her ex-boyfriend done through a revenge attack. With this in mind, it is clear that acid attack is not a remote crime, it can happen to anyone at anytime.

Organizations, such as Acid Survivors Trust International (ASTI) and other partner organizations are currently working to strengthen regulation laws to address acid and burn violence and to, ultimately, raise awareness on this issue. Additionally, Stop Acid Attacks (SAA) campaign based in New Delhi has been “using social media to raise awareness of acid violence since 2013.” Alok Dixit, the founder of SAA, stresses how people need to focus, “more on social change because we believe only laws can’t stop these crimes. Because these offenses are passion crimes and most of the times family members or colleagues or friends of the victims are involved. It happens out of passion. We need to stop that via social awareness.” Easy accessibility of acid must be banned and strict regulations need to take place as soon as possible to make it very difficult for anyone to obtain acid.

Jisue Shin
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