1. In 2005, when Delhi resident Laxmi* was 15 years old, she turned down a marriage proposal from a 32 year old man.
*Goes only by her first name.
2. Slighted by her rejection, the man (with help from a friend) attacked Laxmi while she was out shopping one day. They poured acid on her face and arms.
3. Acid attacks are increasingly common in South Asia, as a means to inflict violence on women. With dangerous acids available readily for as little as 30 cents per bottle, it is an easy weapon to acquire.
Pictured above: Haleema Abdul-Ghafar, 36, Islamabad.
4. More often than not, such attacks are carried out by jilted lovers who, once rejected, seek their revenge by attempting to destroy the woman’s beauty.
According to a commission issued by an Indian court, acid attacks are tried as premeditated attacks. “The acid is usually thrown at victim’s face, the perpetrator wants to disfigure the victim and turn them into monster.”
Pictured above: Saira Liaqat, 22, Islamabad.
5. A recently published Al Jazeera article reports:
“No official figures exist on the number of attacks in [India], but going by the increasing frequency of such incidents reported in the local media, there is unanimity that it is growing.
A helpline for women in distress set up in the national capital, New Delhi, received 56 complaints of acid attacks in the first quarter of 2013…
Every few days, there are reports of acids being thrown at some girl in some part of this vast country. Two sisters had acid thrown on them by a landlord for their inability to pay rent on time. Another girl was attacked similarly by her teacher whose amorous overtures she had rejected.”
6. Laxmi’s assailants, when caught, were imprisoned for 10 and 7 years respectively. Meanwhile, Laxmi has undergone 8 surgeries and has yet to fully recover.
7. In 2013, through her work campaigning against violence against women in India, Laxmi grew close with another activist in the field.
9. In the process of working together, the two gradually fell in love.
12. Alok is 26 years old and Laxmi is now 24. They work together on a campaign that they hope will eradicate acid attacks in India, in the near future.
13. Watch their story in full here:
14. Find more information about their “Stop Acid Attacks” campaign on its website.
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