Narayanganj, Bangladesh -
Acid throwing, also called an acid attack or vitriolage, is a form of violent assault. It is defined as the act of throwing acid onto the body of a person "with the intention to disfigure, maim, torture, or kill.‚Äù Perpetrators of these attacks throw acid at their victims, usually at their faces, burning them, and damaging skin tissue, often exposing and sometimes dissolving the bones. The long term consequences of these attacks include blindness and permanent scarring of the face and body, along with far-reaching social, psychological, and economic difficulties. These attacks are most common in Cambodia, Afghanistan, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan. Globally, at least 1500 people in 20 countries are attacked in this way yearly, 80% of whom are female and somewhere between 40% and 70% under 18 years of age.
Acid violence is a particularly vicious and damaging form of assualt in Bangladesh where acid is thrown in people‚ faces. The overwhelming majority of the victims are women, and many of them are below 18 years of age. The victims are attacked for many reasons. In some cases it is because a young girl or women has spurned the sexual advances of a male or either she or her parents have rejected a proposal of marriage. Recently, however, there have been acid attacks on children, older women and also men. These attacks are often the result of family and land dispute, dowry demands or a desire for revenge.
But the scars left by acid are not just skin deep. In addition to the inevitable psychological trauma, some survivors also face social isolation and ostracism that further damage their self-esteem and seriously undermine their professional and personal futures. Women who have survived acid attacks have great difficulty in finding work and, if unmarried (as many victims tend to be), have very little chance of ever getting married. In a country like Bangladesh this has serious social and economic consequences.
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