In the shadow of acid attack

Jaya Prasad

Jaya Prasad

Managing Director Serviceplan India

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An acid attack is the worst kind of crime anyone can commit. There should be severe punishment for the perpetrator and a ban should be enforced on the availability of acid! Acid victims not only suffer physical trauma – also the mental trauma is devastating! Those close to the victim also put up with unimaginable pain and suffering to see their loved ones going through such misery. Some of these victims lose their sight and others succumb to their injuries. An acid attack is the most abominable crime.

Living life with the fear of being attacked is like living with your breast to a knife. This knife is constantly hanging in your mind, butchering your confidence every day, wherever you may be. I have experienced life like this and my confidence suffered terribly as a result of the laming fear.
Being a teenager in a small town was not easy then. And when my parents warned me about these acid attacks that just take place without any rhyme or reason, it truly made me fear for my life – it was like a psychosis taking over my mind. The backgrounds to these attacks are all about jealousy or revenge for turning down a date or marriage proposal!

My school was very close to where I lived. It was the best convent in town. My friends would pick me up every day from my home and we would walk to school together – nevertheless I constantly feared becoming the victim of an acid attack. This fear continued to live in me like a burning fire, threatening to destroy me. There were days when I had imagined how my face had been turned into a disfigured, melted shape. I tried to take all necessary precautions like forever checking if someone was following me. Over the years, I developed a fear, which would never actually come true. Perhaps because as I got older my parents asked two people to accompany me to and from school, like body guards! In the beginning, I had been able to walk to school with my friends and gradually my freedom was taken away from me to ensure my safety and I was always driven the short distance to my school premises.

It was not only me who lived under this constant fear. Many of my friends would discuss the consequences of this crime and would try to avoid any situations that might happen to lead to something like this occurring.
More than 20 years have passed since then, but acid attacks still instill fear in my mind. Acid is so cheaply available. You can buy it everywhere today, despite the fact that, had it been outlawed, it would have saved the lives of so many women!

Today was another such day on which I met a few of these victims. Such brave girls and women, who have left me so inspired. They remind me that life is about standing up to any difficult situation, facing the truth and finding the best way to improve what may seem like a hopeless situation. I recounted my fear of being attacked to these women and they astounded me with their perfect smiles, confidence and incredible courage; fearlessly challenging life to live full lives despite what they had experienced.

Fear is just a thought that can gradually fade away from one’s mind, but a molten or disintegrated face is a constant reminder of what can be stopped today for a better future tomorrow. Attacking someone with acid is the most inhumane act anyone can ever do to anyone and I strongly feel that this evil action should be eliminated from the minds of every individual. This can only happen by creating awareness and correcting the education of young people.

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