Acid attack is the worst infliction on a human by another human. And the worst part is that it can happen to anyone.
Monica Singh, Laxmi, Shaboo, Geeta, Dolly, Naieema, Iqbal, Carla Whitlock, Hanifa, Christine .. are not just names. They are acid attack survivors who showed extraordinary courage to become self-reliant and are now an inspiration for others.
A worldwide phenomenon, acid attack is gender-based violence as 85% of victims of are women. Women are often targetted for rejecting marriage proposals and fighting back sexual harassment. For 15% male victims who are attacked with acid, the main cause is property dispute.
In India, it was acid attack survivor Laxmi who pressurised the government to enact stricter law for checking sale of acid.
Here is the brief description of courageous women.
This 19-year-old acid attack survivor who lost sight in one eye is the face of #EndAcidSale movement launched by New-Delhi based NGO. Reshma is famously known for her videos that begin with giving makeup tips and end up shocking viewers with information about easy availability of acid and how simple it is to ruin not just a person, but an entire family.
It was in 2014 in Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh, where Qureshi along with her sister Gulshan was attacked by Gulshan's estranged husband and two accomplices. As she tried to save her sister, the attackers poured acid on her face.
Afshan's family had received numerous threats from a local villager Arshad who wanted to marry Afshan's older sister. On the evening of April 3, Afshan was sitting outside her house with her family when Arshad along with his two friends came and threw acid on them. It was Afshan and her mother who received most severe burn injuries.
Afshan along with other members of Acid Survivors Foundation - Pakistan - is now involved in fundraising events and making handicraft items which are exhibited at art galleries.
Hasina was 24 when attacked. Since the attack, she has endured nine operations but has continued her studies.
Hasina works as a caseworker at Acid Survivors Foundation in Bangladesh. She has also written in a local newspaper asking Dhaka police that why her perpetrator was still at large.
Soheila was driving in Isfahan, Iran, when she was attacked. Women like Soheila were targeted because they did not cover the face properly. Jorkesh lost vision in her right eye due to attack. It was after a series of operations that she could regain her eyesight.
"Thank you God! ... The sky! I was missing you, sky. Oh, the blue sky, it's immensely beautiful - the sky, the trees. God", an emotional Jorkesh shared her feelings in a video uploaded by her family.
Sergei Filin was attacked by a dancer in the ballet company because he was upset that his girlfriend who also was a dancer in same company wasn't given enough opportunities.
After a series of operations in Germany, Filin was finally back at the company. At first, the company refused to renew his contract. Later, he was offered a position which was specially created for him. A known name in the international ballet circle, Sergei believes his greatest achievement is everything which he left behind.
Despite losing everything a normal life can offer, acid attack victims are working towards better future.
Sheroes Hangout in Agra, Uttar Pradesh, is a strong initiative by Stop Acid Attack campaign founded in 2013 in New Delhi. At Sheroes, you will find women who have fought against their perpetrators and have become self-reliant.
The first ever comic book to be funded by the World Bank, 'Priya's Mirror' is created to address the shame and stigma associated with acid attacks. The comic book is narrated by acid attack survivor Monica Singh who underwent 43 surgeries.