Source: ABC/Journeyman Pictures
Last year in Bangladesh there were 179 acid attacks. Often the result of land disputes, the crime has long been seen as family business. Finally, police are cracking down on this nations shame.
Seventeen year old Hasina was attacked after an argument over a bucket of water. ‘I said, Mum, I am on fire, Im burning, give me water’ relates Hasina. After her surgery, pregnant women feared shed make their babies deformed. In a society that favours boys, not only women but baby girls are often targeted. ‘Cockroaches were eating her scars’ says Monira who runs the Acid Survivors Foundation. Six month old Jonaki was brought here from a public hospital, where she received no treatment. ‘Women and girls are so cheap in this society, men can destroy them’ explains Monira. ‘The conviction rate is a little low because of the judicial system’ says Police Chief Mahub Alum. Yet hes heading a new campaign to encourage reporting of acid throwing. ‘If the husband is the attacker, how it is possible for the wife to take legal recourse against the main breadwinner?’ asks Monira. For many women, disfigurement has forced them to find independence. ‘I am able to earn money and I am able to live my life’ says Fozila, who works in a call centre and has just finished a degree. ‘I dont believe that a domestic life can always mean happiness’.