Acid violence – There is hardly anyone today who doesn’t know what sort of brutality this term refers to. Is it an acid attack when nitric or sulphuric acid is thrown on a woman’s body parts to disfigure it for lifetime while melting down her flesh? Is it violence when this incident leaves her to burn for ever with lifetime blindness, broken ambitions and dreams which she had woven for her own self and a better future?
In Bangladesh, the majority of acid victims are a vast number of young women mostly with ages less than 18. It is not even a mystery as to why they get attacked. The reasons are all well recorded – maybe they had turned down the offer of being a man’s love interest; maybe, her parents had rejected a marriage proposal which came down her way.
Perhaps, we all perfectly know that acid violence is supposedly one of the worst cruelties that any human being can take part into but, do we recognize the urgency of the matter. Do we know how many incidents of such attacks took place in 2012 and the number of victims who were affected? Amader Kotha did some finding as to what were the statistics of acid attacks in Bangladesh over the past decade or more and what served to be the prime reasons for the incidents to occur.
In the year of 2012 alone, 71 cases of acid attacks were reported while these incidents had affected about 98 people. With help of the records, we found out that around 3112 reports of such barbarism were filed during the time period of 1999 to 2012. A total of 3424 persons were said to have survived this attack with minor to severe injuries, left behind by the acid thrown. It was reported that during this time-span, the year 2002 saw the maximum number, 494 of such incidents taking place where the number of victims staying at an all-time high of 496 was also recorded.
Over the years, dailies have reported cases were men were subjected to acid attacks, although, women have always dominated the statistics as prime targets for such sort of an assault. Let us look at what the numbers were for both the genders over the past two years.
In 2012, about 77 women and girls had to undergo acid violence while 42 men and boys were subjected to treatment of the same nature. Fortunately, the numbers decreased for both the genders in 2012 but, nevertheless, where 68 women and girls were reported with burn injuries, only 30 men and boys suffered the attacks.
We often wonder as to why any human being would want another person to suffer the acute pain, both physically and mentally, that comes through throwing of the acid. Read on to find as to why the year 2012 saw 49 women and 27 children being survivors of such attacks.
-Dowry: A total of 8 women had to suffer the violence after failing to fulfill demands for dowry from their husbands or in-laws.
-Marital disagreements: About 6 women and children were thrown acids over as a consequence of marital disputes within the household.
-Rejection of love or marriage proposal: This was a cause for the sufferings of 19 women and children.
-Family arguments: The year 2012 saw an average of 15 women and children with acid injuries due to family disputes.
-Ownership of land or money matters: Because of enmity between families regarding properties or finances, 16 women and children were subjected to acid attacks.
Amader Kotha wanted to be familiar with the age group of women that seemed to be most vulnerable to violence’s of acid. As per the statistics, women with ages below 18 were mostly seen as potential targets for the attacks. In 2012, 23 women aged below 18 were victimized. After that, the second highest number of 19 cases was reported for the age group 19-25. But, with increasing age, the number of acid survivors decreased significantly while only one woman with age above 55 was said to be acid attacked in 2012.
It is really discouraging to realize that in the very last decade, a total of only 476 acid-throwers were punished for their dreadful act. The year, 2003 proved to be the period where 96 culprits were put behind bars. This has been the highest figure so far! Unfortunately, since then, the numbers have not been praiseworthy and the figures for the convicted declined sharply since 2005.
Just because a woman has suffered acid injuries, it really doesn’t mean that her life has ended. She can again trust to start a new life with renewed enthusiasm and hope for a better future. In case of the affected children, they have every right of attending a regular school like any other child of their age. It is true that for few people, the acceptance of having an acid victim as a fellow student or colleague may not too high. But, then again, there are organizations like Acid Survivors Foundation (ASF) that work day and night for the benefit of acid victims and their re-integration into the society. They are probably our only hope!
Source: Acid Survivors Foundation (ASF)