In the United States, we don’t normally think of acid as a weapon. Yet, thanks to its easy and cheap availability and devastating effects, acid has long been used as a means of attack in some cultures. Dousing the face and hands with this caustic liquid has traditionally been used as a method of revenge or punishment against a woman who has spurned a sexual advance, rejected a marriage proposal, or somehow angered her husband or other male relatives. In addition to the trauma, pain, and disability caused by the acid, the resulting disfigurement often leaves her stigmatized within her community.
WAR, Int’l and its partners recognize the risks faced by survivors of acid attacks and seek to provide hope and healing in culturally relevant ways. We are encouraged to see other organizations doing the same. Although the organizations featured in the following video and article are not associated with WAR, Int’l, we work toward the same goal of empowering wounded women to lead lives of dignity and purpose.
The video above is part of an inventive awareness campaign by an Indian non-profit which supports survivors of acid attacks. Along with makeup tutorials, the organization is sponsoring an initiative asking for a ban on over-the-counter acid sales in India. Meanwhile, other creative enterprises exist to bring hope and empowerment to survivors. Below is a heartwarming story of how a small café with a big goal is making a compelling difference in the lives of survivors.
Acid attacks have always been an issue near and dear to the heart of Women At Risk, International. It was an acid attack on a childhood friend in Bangladesh that ignited a passion for at-risk women within founder and President Becky McDonald. This set the stage for the eventual formation of WAR, Int’l, which continues to be involved in both preventative measures against acid attacks and holistic medical care for victims. We take heart at the growing awareness of this issue, the increasing number of organizations springing up to combat it, the care being offered to survivors, and the resiliency shown by those survivors. We invite you to rejoice with us in these stories of empowerment, opportunity, and hope.