December 18 2012
When Scars Remind: Acid Attacks in Bangladesh
Remember the 15 year-old Pakistani, Anusha Zafar, who died when her parents doused her with acid for glancing at a boy?
In Bangladesh, such violence against women is a common occurrence. Nurbanu divorced her husband of 18 years after discovering he had an affair. A week after the divorce, her husband violently drenched her in acid, leaving her blind and scarred. Nurnanu is lucky she survived, but her daily life remains violent. Speaking of her husband, Nurbanu explains: “His mother paid for his release on bail. She made me sign an affidavit to have him released. She used my sons to convince me to marry him again.”
Nurbanu was coerced into remarrying her unfaithful, abusive husband following his bail, despite violent beatings and threats of further assault.
According to the Daily Mail, the low social status in Bangladesh contributes to numerous acid attacks:
The assailant throws nitric or sulphuric acid at the victim's face, body, and/or genitals, resulting in permanent disfigurement and scarring.
A total of 59 attacks have already been recorded in the country this year, according to the Acid Survivors' Foundation.
Such attacks are so common in Bangladesh that there is a foundation entirely devoted to combatting acid attacks. According to the foundation’s CEO, acid attacks on women could almost be eradicated if more people were willing to stand up for the rights of women in Bangladesh.
Unfortunately for women, this has not yet been the case. Instead of confronting the problem directly, Bangladesh merely restricted the sales of acid. Acid is a tool of violence, but not the cause. Unless both the citizens of Bangladesh and their government are willing to face up to the hate and discrimination experienced within families and the legal system, women will continue to live in fear and oppression as second citizens.