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September 11, 2015

Acid Attack Survivor fights back with Bold Statement. {Warning: Graphic Image}

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The acid that disfigured Reshma Qureshi was bought for less than the price of a tube of lipstick.

In India, acid attacks on women are common, and the weapon is readily available.

Men are usually the perpetrators—most potential suitors or husbands who attack women after they reject a proposal or fail to fetch a large enough dowry. [1]

At the age of 18, Reshma Qureshi was the victim of an acid attack by her brother-in-law and two other men.

Only recently has this crime been made punishable by law. Previously the police would do nothing in the event of an acid attack on a woman. The Supreme Court of India ruled to change the law, so it now carries the same weight as rape.

The women that fall prey to these attacks are harshly judged by Indian standards and are victims of these efforts to disfigure and emotionally scar them.

As a survivor, Ms. Qureshi is standing up and empowering herself and other survivors with a video to make a bold statement.

Her statement maker?

Red lipstick.

The New York Times reports that by working with Make Love Not Scars, she is standing up to bring awareness to these attacks, because despite efforts to make it harder to obtain the acid used the attacks persist.

And the acid costs less then a tube of lipstick.

In 2014 there were 309 reported attacks. The estimated number of actual attacks is over 1,000.

The Make Love Not Scars campaign hopes to spread awareness, help to limit the sale of chemicals used in attacks, and call for improved medical treatment and legal assistance for the victims. Raul Sahran, an activist for the cause and photographer stated, “If someone has been through a crime, as a society we must protect them. We must make them feel better.”

This campaign hopes to empower these women and help them feel less afraid to come out in public and share their stories.

Many online campaigns are supporting this cause as well. Faceless selfies on Facebook are raising money, and Ms. Qureshma’s video, with over 900,000 views has started the hashtag #EndAcidSale.

Watch Reshma’s video here:

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[1] Cornell University

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Author: Lindsay Carricarte

Editor: Toby Israel

Image: YouTube // MuLaN/Flickr

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