Domestic Violence – Relationship of woman with acid

A scene from the documentary “Saving Face”

These days everyone must have heard the word “Terrorism” but in political context. Every news channel is showing lots of different stories of terrorism, murders, child abuse and the story is going on and on. There is a further category to terrorism that is very personal, especially for women at homes. This category of terrorism is practically throwing acid on the face of a woman for some futile reasons. Reason could be rejecting a marriage proposal, verbal arguments between a woman and the other party, independence of a woman, working ladies and so on. Point is not to discuss reasons, but the consequences a woman has to face after getting an acidic gift from someone who was once her well wisher, someone special, could be her aunt, relative and even brother and father. It is the one act having various names such as domestic violence, domestic abuse, spousal abuse, battering, family violence and often called IPV (Intimate partner violence).
Isn’t it strange that it is also called family violence and IPV? From physical aggression or assault to threats and other forms of abuses such as sexual and emotional abuse. It is extremely surprising since the list continues.
The depressing anecdote is that women in Pakistan are experiencing it, and the amount is elevating. According to the statistics report of 2009 a total of 8548 incidents of domestic violence were recorded in the year 2009. These total numbers of the incidents were from all the provinces where the largest contribution was from Punjab, especially Lahore. It is the ignorance, illiteracy, misogyny, lack of respect for women, poor upbringing of men in their childhoods and most of all the perception that woman is inferior and weaker sex results in this disaster. It not only creates the climate of abuse and acid attacks but it also elevates the chances of it to ensue all over again. Nicholas Kristof who is a columnist at New York Times put his words this way when he visited Pakistan, “I’ve been investigating such acid attacks, which are commonly used to terrorize and subjugate women and girls in a swath of Asia from Afghanistan through Cambodia (men are almost never attacked with acid)”.
A South Asian country i.e. Bangladesh has inflicted controls on acid attacks. On the contrary, it is quite easy to get the acid that is quite suitable to be used in acid attack and to destroy the human face, from any shop on reasonable prices. This kind of attack is common in poor families where woman is the oppressed gender. In 1994 a Progressive Women’s Association came in to existence, which was made to help such women. 7,800 cases were documented by
PWA among which acid attacks was the one. The surprising thing is that this amount belongs to only one city that is the Federal Capital.
On the other hand women who were educated have also experienced such incidents.

  • Irum Saeed who was 30 years old from a University in Islamabad got burned in 2008. The reason was that she rejected the marriage proposal and got burned at the middle of the street.

After undergoing the process of plastic surgery up to 25 times, she looked better but with one eye.

  • Shameem Akhtar, who is only 18 from Jhang, got the horrible gift in 2008.

Three boys raped Shameem Akhtar who then threw acid on her face. After 10 times of plastic surgery her scars are not fully recovered.

  • Najaf Sultana who was only 16 when she was attacked by her father in 2008, while she was sleeping. Reason was that her father did not want another girl in the family.

She is blind and has undergone plastic surgery for 15 times. She is from Lahore.

  • Shehnaz Usman, 36 from Lahore, in 2008 got burned by a relative due to some family problems. Undergone plastic surgery 10 times.

  • Shahnaz Bibi, 35 is the one who has never undergone the procedure of plastic surgery, got burned by a relative due to some family dispute. Her picture shows that if one does not undergo plastic surgery what could be the possible outcomes

  • Kanwal Kayum, 26 from Lahore got burned by a boy who got rejected by her. Another case of no plastic surgery.

There are so many other cases and most of them are from Punjab. Face is the beauty of a woman and if it has been destroyed this means her whole life has been destroyed. By looking at the above pictures and by keeping the fact in mind that this is not it. There are so many other cases which have not come to our account are living in hell. They have to cover their faces not just for the sake of personal choice or religion but forcefully because they have no other choice. Depressing part is that most of them do not want to look themselves in mirror. Mental disturbance and other emotional problems are additional plus their social life has been finished.
It is quite necessary to create awareness, take legal actions, form regulation and act on them. It is matter of life, it is the matter of generation.

Originally posted at:

9 thoughts on “Domestic Violence – Relationship of woman with acid

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