“It burns burns burns
Disfigures and takes your identity away
You may survive it and be called a survivor
But will you ever be able to live again?
With the injustice of it all,
All you wanted was a choice.”
I cannot begin to comprehend what an acid attack survivor victim goes through. But here is the story of an inpirational one. Laxmi was attacked with acid when she was 15-years old by a 32-year old man whose advances she had declined. It took her almost 9 years to get out of the dark, but now she has proved that she will not be defined by what was done to her. Here are just a few of her accomplishments till date:
- The criminal who attacked her with acid came out on bail and got married within a month after the attack. However, she fought for justice and he was sentenced to 10 years in prison for his misdeed.
- Filed a Public interest litigation (PIL) in Supreme Court to stop the sale of acid freely to the public as well as make acid- attack prosecutions easier. This is passed by the Supreme court in 2013. However, sadly, implementation has not yet been effective.
- She is a Campaigner with Stop Acid Attacks. They have started a crowdfunded cafe, Sheroes Hangout to employ acid attack victims so that they can support themselves as well as make their dreams come true.
- Has walked the ramp at the London Fashion Show to raise awareness about Acid Attacks
- Was awarded 2014 International Women of Courage Award by Michelle Obama.
- News Express TV anchor
- TEDx talk speaker on Acid Attack survivors.
Currently, she is in a live-in-for-life relationship and a mother. Contrast my uncomprehending poem to hers which shows the strength of her spirit which says “We are not victims, we are fighters“. It was originally written in Hindi:
“You hold the acid that charred my dreams.
Your heart bore no love. It had the venom stored.
There was never any love in your eyes. They burn me with caustic glance.
I am sad that your corrosive name will always be part of my identity that I carry with this face.
Time will not come to my rescue. Every surgery will remind me of you.
You will hear and you will be told that the face you burned is the face I love now.
You will hear about me in the darkness of confinement.
The time will be burdened for you.
Then you will know that I am alive, free and thriving and living my dreams.”