Acid attacks on women – Sharing their stories to create societal change

Over breakfast the other day in the office canteen a debate was in full swing. The topic, how some countries were struggling with the challenge of corruption. Some suggested that it could take another 50 years for countries to change for the better.

Later in the evening I read a report about acid attacks on girls. Kirstie Trup and Katie Gee suffered chemical burns in the attack while they were on a volunteering holiday, months later there has been little action to locate and bring to justice the attackers. The article was from Nov 2013. In a more recent article from 4th December, entitled: The women whose scars shame India: Victims of cruel acid attacks demand action over growing number of assaults. It detailed the struggle in India of thousands of acid attacks on women. These articles prompted me to compose the following poem:

Burnt Justice
Imagine waking up with your face burning
You desperately clasp your face, yet your  skin melts away
The pain is beyond belief. Future surgeries await.
You scream, yell and wonder what hell you have entered.

Your face is now shredded with eyes forever, colourless, clouded and lost.
You endure the burn as it continues to cut, slice, bleed and cause your face and arms to explode..
The damage is deep. Eyes, ears, arms and your future.
You scream, yell and wonder what hell you have entered.

In hospital treatment is administered, on top of the blisters that seep.
You dream of hope, of limited damage, of the stinging to leave you forever
The face of the guilty appear in your dreams and reflect in the crystal clear liquid acid, your last visual memory.
You scream, yell and wonder what hell you have entered.

In court you arrive in bandages, stitches, cold and continuously sick inside
In the dock the guilty sit, you wonder if all understand the seriousness of the crime
Who is on trial here?! Your life has changed forever.
You scream and yell at the lack of justice as the perpetrator or a better name, ‘the life traitor’ walks free.

The perpetrator slowly tilts his sunglasses from his forehead before posing by his motorbike.
He mounts his bike and glides off into the sunset. Free, cool and carefree.
The dust left behind are the remains of your life
You scream, yell and wonder what hell you have entered.

It is only the victim who will be left with the impact of the attack. What appalls me is the extent of this crime. It is happening in many parts of the world. We need to create an education system and a society that is corruption free to assure justice.
Maybe it is not about money, government or corruption as change starts from within. If basic respect for each other doesn’t exist then it forms the basis of no guilt, no justice and no future.

The images of those who have suffered and continue to suffer from Acid attacks haunts the mind. You wonder about the lack of humanity of how one person can cause so much damage and pain to another.

Is Education the Answer?
Education can help. With over 6,000,000 Jews exterminated in Germany, with the slave trade between Africa and the West, grave yards filled with bodies in South-East Asia, humans continue to treat each other with contempt.
We have the knowledge to create Atom Bombs and some people had no second thoughts on dropping them on populated cities in Japan.

Sharing the Pain
It is not about shaming people but making them realise that if they think before they act, they could save a life and our humanity. If society continues to be corrupted with ego, no self-control and lack of respect, then sadly humans are millimeters away from being killers, again and again. I believe that the more we share these stories a day will come when we are able to create change in society.

Categories: 2013, Justice, Media Watch, Trust

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