8 Acid Attack Survivors Who Refused To Give Up and Re-Built Their Life

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8 Acid Attack Survivors Who Refused To Give Up and Re-Built Their Life

India is already among the countries with the highest number of rape cases in the world, but acid attacks are common too, although they remain unreported and given less attention.

It is only since 2013, that the acid attacks are an offence, punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Before that, there were no specific laws in India which dealt with acid attacks.

India reports the highest number of acid attack cases in the world and the victims are generally women from the age of 14 to 35 years. And the reasons are too unreasonable. Rejecting a marriage proposal or sexual advances, bearing a female child, not bringing enough dowry and as strange as not cooking well are the most common reason for acid attackers. to commit such a heinous crime.

But in spite of such painful suffering, there are some victims or rather we should say ‘heroes’, who come out of their pain and share their story only to become an inspiration to others. Here are 8 acid attack survivors who refused to give up and instead became an inspiration for all:

1. Laxmi Agarwal

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Laxmi Agarwal, who aspired to become a singer was just 16 years old when she was attacked by a man in 2005 who stalked her for months and demanded that she marry him.

After the attack, she did not lose courage and did a lot for the welfare of the women, especially those suffering from the acid attack. She is the founder of an NGO – Stop Acid Attacks and the director of Chhanv Foundation, an NGO dedicated helping the survivors of acid attacks in India. As a result, Laxmi received a 2014 International Women of Courage award by US First Lady Michelle Obama. She was also chosen as the NDTV Indian of the Year.

2. Resham Khan

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It was Resham Khan’s 21st birthday in June 2017 when she was attacked with sulphur acid sitting in her car with her 37-yr old cousin, Jameel Mukhtar in Beckton, East London. Jameel was also severely injured and put into a coma and later had an operation.

Britsh woman Resham, a business management student, who was also a model shared her first picture after the recovery and later wrote many blog posts and articles sharing her updates about the recovery and the experiences she had. The brave girls also started a campaign to stop the sale of acids.

3. Reshma Qureshi

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17-yr old Reshma Qureshi’s life changed completely in 2014 when her brother-in-law threw acid on her at a railway station while she was on her way to Allahabad for an exam. Daughter of a taxi driver, Reshma felt suicidal after the incident.

In 2015, Reshma turned brand ambassador for a campaign called #EndAcidSale. Qureshi is the face of a non-profit organization, Make Love Not Scars campaign in India. She walked for the fashion designer Archana Kocchar at the 2016 New York Fashion Week. She was also featured in several beauty tutorial videos. The New York Times reported that as of September 2015, her videos have gained over 900,000 views.

4. Lalita Benbansi

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26-yr old Kalwa, Mumbai resident, Lalita Benbansi was about to get married in 2012 when her cousins threw acid on her in Azamgarh, Uttar Pradesh, owing to personal enmity and the ceremony got canceled due to this. Due to her complete face burn, Lalita underwent 17 surgeries at the Bombay hospital and Masina Hospital in Mumbai.

Her life took a beautiful turn when during her treatment only, she received an unknown call from Rahul Kumar. The two became friends, fell in love and decided to get married. 27-year-old Rahul works as a CCTV operator in Malad.

Actor Vivek Oberoi graced the couple’s wedding and gifted her an apartment in Thane. Designer duo Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla designed Lalita’s wedding dress and presented her a wedding necklace.

5. Sapna

Sapna was returning from her workplace when a biker through a dangerous acid at her near GTB hospital in the police presence. The biker was her cousin’s brother-in-law who wished to marry her. The incident not only defaced 21-yr old but left her completely shattered. Many were present at the spot but no one cared to take her to the hospital. The girl was writhing in pain when after 45 minutes her parents reached the spot.

But Sapna didn’t let the incident scar her for life, the non-profit organization, ‘Make Love Not Scars’ helped her get her back on feet. After the incident, she worked in a private glue manufacturing factory from 2012-2013 and was in charge of supervising the packaging and dispatch of goods from the factory.

6. Haseena Hussain

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Haseena Hussain still remembers the day when her employer Joseph Rodrigues poured a jug full of acid at her that left her visually impaired. Haseena’s boss wanted to marry her but she refused and left the job. On April 20, 1999, when the incident happened, a girl took her to a private hospital where she was asked to submit 1 Lakh rupees which she failed to pay.

Her treatment began after 3 days in a government hospital, by then the infection had already spread making her 70 percent burnt. She was in a near to death situation and went over 35 surgeries.

After years of court and hospital visits, Haseena decided to join Enable India, an institution of visually impaired people where she learned computer and other skills.

7. Mamta

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Mamta was a victim of domestic violence, her husband used to beat her and sexually assault her every time. When she got pregnant, she wanted an abortion as she did not wish to bring her child in such a violent home. After being denied the abortion, Mamta left for her mother’s home with her son. One day, her agitated husband came to her house and attacked her with acid. He also took away his son. Mamta has not seen his son for seven years.

With the help of ‘Make Love Not Scars’, a non-profit organization, Mamta has currently enrolled herself in English and art classes and learned to make jewelry for the social entrepreneurship.

8. Monica Singh

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In 2005, 19-yr old Monica Singh went to Lucknow to meet his family after completion of the first year of her graduation when one of her friends, whom she knew for 6 years attacked her with acid. Reason? She refused to marry him as she wanted to pursue her education and career.

Despite her problems, Monica, 31, had managed to complete her bachelor’s degree in apparel design in the prestigious National Institute of Technology (NIFT) in 2009. She spoke at UN Women Global Youth Champion against gender-based violence and is using fashion to empower and encourage survivors to pursue their dreams.

Published by Shruti Kumari on 22 Feb 2018

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