Monica Singh - our Goodwill Ambassador will be on Al Jazeera TV on 20 August 2014.
Listen to her speaking https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=So6R0PpRhpk
After almost a decade since she was attacked with acid, this girl is finally hoping to achieve what she had been aspiring for all her life. She has gained admission to Parsons The New School for Design, New York ranked among top five design schools in the world
It was in 2004 during a visit to her home while studying at the prestigious National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) that she was attacked with acid by her friend whose marriage proposal was rejected by her. The friend had insisted that she run away with him abandoning her career and family.
Monica was a brilliant student and a smart and attractive young woman. But the unfortunate incident destroyed all her dreams in a few minutes and a journey towards a brilliant career was halted as she fought for survival at a private hospital. Being the favourite daughter of a bank officer helped her getting better treatment than many other acid victims can afford but the journey towards recovery and return to normal life was long, tortuous and uncertain.
After nearly a year she could start moving in wheelchair. All this time she was subject to acute physical and mental trauma – relatives, friends and acquaintances could hardly recognize her and were suffering equally with her. Being referred to as a victim of acid attack did not help.
In an effort to give Monica the best available treatment possible, her parents sold almost everything they owned. “My father said he would support me for as long as I wanted. However I wanted to finish my education and pursue my dreams.” So that’s what she did.
Monica went back to college and finished her education between multiple surgeries. Luckily when Monica went back to college, all her classmates were very supportive and she worked very hard to make up for lost time.
Despite numerous challenges, Monica was now more driven than ever before to pursue her dream in the fashion industry. She was soon interning for renowned Indian fashion designer Manish Arora. And after applying to numerous fashion institutions around the world, Monica managed to receive a letter of acceptance from her dream school – Parsons The New School for Design in New York City. In the midst of developing her career, her loving father passed away. She is therefore determined to make him proud as she now pursues a degree at one of the top fashion institutes in the world.
Husband's friend throws acid on woman and her maid
Chandigarh: When Lok Sabha was in the process of passing Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill 2013, two women in Chandigarh became victims of acid attack.This highlights the need to implement these laws strictly to create fear in the mind of such criminals.A man threw acid on this woman and her maid when they were going to the market in a rickshaw. Their face, neck, and hands got severely injured.
cabinet clears anti-rape bill
NEW DELHI: The Cabinet on Thursday approved a bill that will make rapists-murderers punishable by death and provides for stringent punishment for offences like acid attacks, voyeurism and stalking against women.
The bill also lowered the age of consent for sex from 18 to 16 years and made 'rape' a gender-specific offence under which only men can be charged for it. The government has time till March 22 to get Parliament's approval on the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2013.
Acid attackers must suffer same agony: Victim
21-year-old, who has lost her eyes, has no money for next surgery.For the last seven months, Mandal has been lying at Nerul’s DY Patil hospital in quite the same condition as Rathi’s.
“Every acid attacker should be made to go through the agony we are going through. The pain is unbearable. It feels like hell,” said Mabiya. Her husband Rajjat, the accused, is still on the run.
Preeti Rathi Dead
We are shocked to get the news of sudden demise of Preeti Rathi who can suffering from acid burn.
Please convey our condolence to the members of the bereaved family.
We also pray to God for her eternal peace in heavenly abode.
Jaf Shah, Executive Director of Acid Survivor Trust International, sent a message for "Art with a Heart" exhibition
I wish to offer my continued support for the valuable work conducted by Acid Survivors Foundatin India in supporting survivors of attacks and to bring about the elimination of acid violence in India. It is very encouraging that so many eminent and homourable guests and artists are showing their support for the exhibition. I wish that I were able to attend this very worthy and important launch but sadly this is not possible. I wish our friends at ASFI and all those involved in the exhibition a very successfull inaugaration.
OUT OF BOUNDS
OUT OF BOUNDS
Agrees Rahul Varma, national director and CEO, Acid Survivors Foundation India, an organisation fighting for acid attack victims, “A restraining order would be brought on the presumption that a woman has perceived a threat. But this may not necessarily be so in the case of acid violence.” But he welcomes any steps that can prevent an offence or protect women from potential offenders.
acid attacks in India: 15%-30 % victims are men
Acid attacks in India: 15%-30 % victims are men
Monalisa Das | The News Minute | August 5, 2014 | 06:09 pm IST
Thirty-nine-year-old Mazrul Islam from Murshidabad, West Bengal, has a story to tell, of a life destroyed and of dreams shattered, all because of an argument that set off his assaulter.
In June last year, Islam had taken a loan of Rs 20,000 after depositing a gold chain with a goldsmith in his village.
Four months later, he paid back the loan amount to the goldsmith and demanded back his chain. Islam would give the sum of interest once he got his chain back. However, the goldsmith kept on dodging him, refusing to hand over Islam’s chain.
On October 3, Islam once again went to the goldsmith’s shop and this time it led to a heated argument between them. “I told him that I wouldn’t go home without the chain”, says Islam. “It had been over twenty days since I returned him Rs 20,000, and he still was not returning me the chain”, he adds.
Before he could make sense of what was happening in front of him, the goldsmith took a bottle of acid from his shop and splashed it on Islam’s face.
The acid burnt his face, destroying the upper and lower lids of both his eyes. “I am thankful to God that nothing happened to my eyes”, Islam says. It is ironic that he found something to be thankful about amidst the crisis he faced, for all he lost.
Islam has undergone two plastic surgeries till now, for his eyelids, and is scheduled to undergo a third one later this year.
The goldsmith, who Islam claims is from another state, disappeared for a few days. But he is now back at his shop, continuing his trade as if nothing happened. A complaint has been registered with the police and the case is ongoing in the court.
Islam is among several other men who have found themselves at the receiving end of an acid attack. However, stories of men having been splashed on with acid, many a times go under reported, simply because there are more women who fall victims to such a horrific crime. Statistics, however, estimate that around 15 ( or more ) per cent of acid attack victims are men.
Acid Survivors Foundation India (ASFI) is a NGO based out of Kolkata, West Bengal, which works towards the prevention of acid burn violence as well as provides support services to survivors. ASFI also provides support to many survivors including Islam.
Anita D’Souza, joint director ASFI, spoke to The News Minute discussing about men too being at the receiving end of acid attacks. “Around 85 per cent of the acid attack survivors we come across are women. The rest 15 per cent are men survivors”, says D’Souza. She feels that “in cases of acid attacks on men, the reasons are basically revenge or jealousy”.
If reports are to go by, the reason behind attacking women with acid is often related to unrequited love or jilted lovers or domestic violence.
According to a research done by Stop Acid Attacks, an NGO in Delhi that strongly campaigns against acid violence and works towards the rehabilitation of survivors, the major reasons of attacking people with acid includes unrequited love, domestic violence and many remain unknown and anonymous.
Read our earlier story of an acid attack survivor who now is chasing her dreams to become a dress designer: They stole her face, but her dreams are intact... Rupa an acid attack survivor becomes dress designer
“In the last one week, we have got cases of four acid attack victims, three women and one man”, says Abhilash Shukla, a campaigner of Stop Acid Attacks. “The man hails from Ludhiana, Punjab, and he received serious burn injuries”, Shukla states.
Media reports state that four unknown assailants entered the man’s house around 1 am at night and “literally bathed him with acid” in front of his seven-year-old child. The reason for the attack is not clear yet.
Read The Times of India's report: Acid attack on father in front of his minor son
In the same research conducted by the SAA team, done over the past one year, it was found that over 29 percent of the victims of acid violence happen to be men.
Shulka is of the view that “the usual reasons behind attacking men with acid are dispute between men or conflict within or between groups”. One of the reasons that most acid attack incidences are not highlighted in the media is because they are not formally registered with the police. Survivors are often too scared to face the world, and at times they are even threatened to withdraw their complaints, Shukla asserts.
D’Souza, of ASFI, narrates the incident of a man in Bhopal who fell in love with a woman over the internet. When he went to meet her, he discovered that the woman was already married. The woman, on the other hand, deflected the blame on the man and told her husband that he was disturbing her. Her husband threw acid on him out of fury.
In January this year, Dan Perrins authored a report titled Acid Attacks: Telling only half the story , on A Voice for Men's website.
Perrins in the report argues that men too happen to be victims of acid attacks across the world. However, such issues that only centre on women victims are mostly discussed by the media.
Part of his report reads, “Most of the news fed to us about this particularly heinous form of violence covers about 60% of the story today; about 40% of the victims are men.”
It is not just men, but women too happen to be culprits of acid attacks, the report adds.
However, both Shukla, of SAA, and D’Souza, of ASFI, say that though men too are victims of acid attacks in India, the number of women who face such violence are way more in number.
D’Souza is of the opinion that “what needs to be done is strict regulation of acid sale in the country”.
Acid attacks are heinous crimes in nature, but they are more than just being gender biased. Such crimes need to be highlighted, the severity and brutality of it, and not just as a gender specific issue. Each survivor is important, be it a man, or a woman, and the atrocities committed against them need to be known. There is also a need for proper rehabilitation of survivors, irrespective of gender, along with speedy punishments to the culprits. They deserve justice and also a better life.
The acid survivor from Ludhiana lies in a hospital battling for his life, while his assailants roam free.
The man from Bhopal, all of 25-years-old, has lost both his eyes and has a disfigured face.
Mazrul Islam is carrying a wound that he will have to carry throughout his life.
“Initially after the attack, I did not use to venture out. But now I am making an effort to meet and talk to people”, says he.
Islam is both an acid attack survivor and a victim. Today, though alive, the hardships in his life seem to have spiraled. Islam has a wife and two children to support. As if remembering a different life he lived, he talks about his previous job. “I used to work in Kolkata in a telecom department in the underground cable line division.” “Now, I am totally unemployed now. I just sit at home”, he says blankly, void devoid of any emotion.
However, when he mentions his children, the pride is palpable in his voice. “My son studies in Standard 11 and my daughter in class 9.” He is grateful to AFSI for helping his children in pursuing their education. And all he can do is now is to hope that he gets justice.
- BBC Documentary on ASFI is in the process...
- ASFI will join International Workshop at Bangladesh on May 2013
- Bangladesh conference emphasize on setting standard in psychosocial care services for acid burn victims
- ASFI needs Volunteers. Please contact 9874081175
- ASFI needs Volunteers. Please contact 9874081175
HomepageAcid Survivors Foundation India (ASFI) purports to be the leading NGO in India for prevention of acid burn violence as well as for providing support services to survivors through a network of chapters and partners, by sharing knowledge, expertise and best practices.
ASFI acts as a forum for advocacy of acid related causes, endeavours to promote a social environment conducive to elimination of all forms of gender violence and espouses a firm legal basis for prosecution of offenders and prescription of national guidelines for treatment, aftercare and rehabilitation of acid survivors. Acid Survivors Trust India (AST-IND) was established in perpetuity at Kolkata as a registered nonprofit organization, thanks to a generous endowment by SREI Foundation, in February 2010:
• For public and charitable purposes;
• For setting up countrywide Centre for the care, treatment and rehabilitation of acid victims; and
• For prevention and elimination of this menace by generating awareness through campaigns, public education, regulatory and other appropriate measures.
The name was later changed to Acid Survivors Foundation India (ASFI) when it became an In-Country Partner of Acid Survivors Trust International (ASTI), a London based charity and centre of excellence in this field.More