Thursday, June 28, 2012

Bangladesh Acid Victims

Acid attacks in Bangladesh are usually the result of land dísputes, rejected marriage proposals, refusal or inability to pay dowry, resistance of being trafficked as a sex worker or simply the desire for revenge. The overwhelming majority of victims are young women and children, but men are also increasingly among the victims. Permanently disfigured and psychologically scarred, survivors are often shunned from their local communities, making it impossible for them to find work or get married.

It is estimated that from 1999 and until 2010 nearly 3000 women, children and men in Bangladesh fell victim to acid attacks. Though the rate of acid violence is in decline, the number of attacks remains alarmingly high. 

Shahnaz's file from when she was admitted after an acid attack in 2003.

Rina undergoing life saving treatment for her serious acid burns.

Shamsul in his afternoon prayers.

Bonna is 20 years old and from Jamalpur. Bonna has been married for three months.

On 4th July 2011, Meftahul was attending a practical session in the chemistry laboratory at the university. Here she took a bottle with strong acid and went out of the lab. She sat down on the stairs outside and drank the acid in an attempt to commit suicide. Meftahul did not die instantly and was immediately submitted to the Chittagong Medical College in a critical condition. She was nine days at the hospital in Chittagong and was later transferred to the Intensive Care Unit at the Burn Unit at Dhaka Medical Hospital. Meftahul spend two months at the Intensive Care Unit struggling for her life before she came to the Acid Survivors’ Foundation in Dhaka.

Sonia did not want to marry her cousin. She refused his love attempts. For a while Sonia did what she could to refuse the cousin and keep him at distance. One night the cousin came to her house and threw acid on her while she was asleep. It is now more than 10 years ago. Sonia do not want to talk about what happened. Sonia has two sisters and a brother. Her father died two years ago. Her brother is unemployed and is doing nothing. Sonia now looks after her mother, and also supports her two sisters and brother.

In Rubel's family there were intense quarrels over a piece of land that he and his brother had inherited from their father. Rubel's cousins forced their mother to handle the matters, and she went to his house to take revenge. One night while Rubel was asleep, the aunt went into his room and threw acid on him.

One day Sabber's father was away from home. In the night Sabber's uncle came to the window of his bedroom and threw acid on him. As the uncle was not satisfied with the result, he entered the bedroom while Sabber and his mother were still asleep. The uncle removed the mosquito net over the bed and for a second time poured acid over Sabber and his mother.

Rubel is a young man from Noakhali district in the Southern part of Bangladesh. Rubel was attacked by acid.

In 2003, Shahnaz's sister went abroad for work and was sending money home to her husband. Shahnaz then got married, and her husband's younger brother wanted money from Shahnaz and her sister.

After eight years of marriage, the younger brother of her husband wanted revenge, because the family had not got enought dowry from Shahnaz and her family. One night he went to Shahnaz's house, walked in to her bedroom. While she was asleep, he poured acid over her. The crime happened on 13th October 2003.

A gang from Monira's local area wanted to traffic her for sex work abroad. Monira found out about their intentions and resisted as much as she could.

Family members threw acid on Rubel due to a land dispute. After the crime, which took place in September 2011, the police did nothing. Nothing has so far happened to the cousins and the aunt, who committed this terrible crime. Rubel is a Hindu. He is a very strong and proud young man, who is committed to survive and to continue with his life.

Ruhima wants to show you a picture of how she looked like before her life changed for ever. Ruhima's family filed a police case against the criminals, who committed the crime. But nothing has yet happened to perpetrators.

A boy at the Acid Survivors' Foundation. 

Info and photos credit to Jan Møller Hansen

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