ACID ATTACK: A weapon to silence women

The best way to end acid violence is to prevent it from happening in the first place
"In India, many women claim that they are struck by acid due to the failure to meet the financial expectations (Dowry) of their in-laws."
"In India, many women claim that they are struck by acid due to the failure to meet the financial expectations (Dowry) of their in-laws." GK Layout Desk

The evil of injustice or of sin has been prevalent in cultures in varied forms across times. After the advent of modernity violent abuse started finding its way through the channels of mass media and communication.

The Acid Survivor Foundation reports; 150 acid attacks every year. The victims are mostly women facing abuse through different means of domestic violence, femicide, patriarchy honor killing, human trafficking, child marriage and acid attacks.

Every year two million people experience corneal trauma leading them to partial or permanent blindness. One in every five of these cases is caused by chemical burns in the eyes.

These incidents can also be termed as blind terror. Such horrific attacks are also perpetrated against men, but the percentage is lower as compared to women.

A system of political, social, and economic interactions and institutions built around the gender inequality of socially defined men and women is known as patriarchy. Women are collectively excluded from full involvement in political and economic life within patriarchal relations.

The qualities deemed “feminine” or as belonging to women are underestimated. Men dominate both domestic and public life, and patriarchal relationships structure both the private and public spheres.

Theoretical connections between capitalism, colonialism, and nationalism have been proposed by feminist scholarship. In our society, where men have always been placed on a higher pedestal than women, the ideals of patriarchy have been pervasive.

The majority of women in society reserve the ability to decide and take action. Every now and then, a woman experiences emotional abuse in our daily lives, and nobody even talks about it. With time, I’ve realised that we never discuss these difficulties; instead, we simply brush them off.

In our culture, we consider women to be second-class citizens, but the truth is that women are an important part of our society.

In our daily lives, a woman gets emotionally abused every now and then and nobody even talks about it. With time, I’ve come to realise that we don’t talk about these issues at all instead we sweep them under the rug.

As interpreted by social theories and political engagement, feminism is an interdisciplinary approach to problems of equality and equity based on gender, gender expression, gender identity, sex, and sexuality.

Feminism has historically progressed from being a critical study of gender inequity to a more nuanced analysis of the social and performative constructions of gender and sexuality.

The current focus of feminist theory is to examine inequalities and injustices along the intersections of ability, class, gender, racism, sex, and sexuality. Women play a vital role in our lives.

They are the ones that are in charge of giving birth to a new life and unfortunately, they lose their lives because of these brutal assaults against them.

Stereotypes we have made in our society, “she is a girl she must not do that; he is a boy he can do it”.Girls are expected to be well- behaved, while boys are expected to act out how a child sees women being treated so that he feels it’s acceptable to do the same later in life.

When something like this occurs in a society, we are all to blame. The major reasons for these crimes are ideological differences and the existing norms of society.

The male ego, fed on patriarchy for centuries cannot handle rejection and retaliates in the most violent and damaging manner by throwing acid at the woman.

A study revealed that 78% of the reported acid attack cases are the rejection of a marriage proposal or refusal to enter into a romantic relationship. There is also an economic aspect to acid attacks given globalisation. The financial independence of women in a society of unemployed men creates antipathy in them.

The attacker can’t accept the fact of rejection and destroys the life of the woman who dares to stand up to him. Property disputes are another cause of acid attacks on women.

In India, many women claim that they are struck by acid due to the failure to meet the financial expectations (Dowry) of their in-laws.

As per The Logical Indian report, nearly 40% of the attacks are caused by unrelated people, due to business rivalry, sales disputes, land disputes, or revenge between families.

In acid attacks, 36% are the victims who are brutally targeted because of the rejection of a marriage proposal. However, the main cause that is seen behind the acid attacks against women is the rejection of the sexual desires of a man.

To summarise, no one is born a killing machine; these events occur as a result of dehumanisation or a lack of moral or humanistic principles. It can be said that acid attacks by men are used as a weapon to establish their superiority and control over the women and to keep them always in a state of fear. However, everyone has a right to live their life peacefully.

The common types of acids which are used in these assault crimes include sulphuric, nitric, and hydrochloric acid. In an attack, acid is thrown at the face or body of the victim to burn or disfigure and most of the victims are girls, and many victims are below the age of 18 years.

Acid is used because it is readily available and inexpensive in the market and can have devastating consequences on the victim.

Some activists and women’s rights advocates have demanded that such crimes be considered more serious than attempted murder. All acid attack crimes are not the same, and they can’t be treated the same way.

In the majority of cases, the attacker cannot bear the fact that he has been rejected and they seek to destroy the body of the women who have dared to stand up for their rights.

The attackers often target the face to disfigure and blind a person for life and stick her in everlasting pain and agony.

Consequences of Acid Attack

This assault has a destructive effect on the human body and mind. The most notable effect of an acid attack is lifelong bodily disfigurement.

According to the Acid Survivors Foundation, Pakistan, there is a high survival rate amongst the victims of acid attacks. However, the victim faces physical and psychological challenges which affect them in the long run as mentioned below.

Physical and Psychological Effects

» Facial disfigurement and related body image

» Psychological trauma

» Depression

» Sense of identity loss

» Permanent blindness

» Loneliness

» Contracture scars

» Nerve damage

»Ear cartilage is usually destroyed; deafness may occur.


The world has been through countless disasters over the centuries. We will have to work together to do some modifications in our society so that the terror of acid attacks could be stopped in every corner of the world.

Firstly, we can look for the acid victims, their life can be changed with the help of society by providing medical care, livelihood support, and mental and emotional support as well.

Nowadays we are living in an era where treatment for almost every illness and disease is possible. Some of the treatments for acid attacks include skin grafting, laser treatments, removal of keloid scars, etc. We can also collect money from the funding and provide them with the necessary treatment.

One of the reasons acid attacks occur is the cheap and easy availability of acid as cheap as 20-25 rupees per bottle. Acid should be sold only to approved stores and dealers and its sale fully monitored.

The best way to end acid violence is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Prevention should start at an early age by educating young boys and girls about gender equality and respectful relationships, these could be the baby steps leading towards the desired change.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.

The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.

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