Saturday, March 3, 2012
Every year in Pakistan, about 100 cases of acid attacks are reported to the police, but many more go unreported
These are usually intimate crimes, perpetrated by family members, often vindictive husbands, but also disgruntled mother-in-laws. The victims tend to be young women who have displeased in some way - perhaps producing a daughter instead of a son; or not doing the mother-in-law's bidding. Some die, but many are left with horrific deformities that often render them blind, unable to eat or to carry on a normal life. Acid attacks are not unique to Pakistan. They occur in India, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Iran, in addition to Cambodia. The attacks also seem to produce a copycat effect within societies: in Baghdad in 2005, Muslims began to attack women with acid for not dressing modestly enough. Acid is inexpensive and easy to access, and the consequences of the attacks are utterly dehumanizing to victims.