Tuesday, 12 April 2016

In the continuance of their visit to India, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge invited the women who refused to surrender against all the odds at the. Laxmi was invited to represent the survivors of acid violence and received a grand welcome from the prince and princess.

Laxmi also gifted them the SheRoes Calendar modeled but the survivors of acid attacks & invite the couple to visit the cafe SheRoes Hangout in Agra during their visit to the monument of love Taj Mahal. 
Laxmi is an International Women of Courage and the campaigner with a mission to Stop Acid Attacks. Knowing the Laxmi’s long journey & her struggle to ensure justice to the acid attack survivors, Prince William and Kate were whole-hearted to meet Laxmi to know how the royal family can help the mission during their visit in India. In Laxmi’s Tuesday meeting, agenda was to highlight this much ignored issue which is emerging as a bigger challenge in present society.  
Laxmi, 27, was selected to brief Prince William during a personal interaction at the British High Commission on Tuesday. The meeting was convened at the personal request of prince Williams who wanted an opportunity to hear directly from women working to support other women and girls. He also wanted to get a sense of work being done to help young women to achieve their full potential and for men to become more supportive of the women and girls in their lives.
Laxmi was so delighted to meet Kate and William for the first time and expressed her gratitude for inviting her, also bringing the issue of acid violence in the larger public domain. “Though, it is a positive step towards a social change, I strongly believes there is a dire need of wider dialogue on the issue”, said Laxmi in her informal conversation. “The problem is victimization by the society. We are treated as if we are good for nothing and as if our lives are a waste. Such endeavors of meeting and inviting us is certainly setting a bench mark and bringing our issue in the mainstream”, explained Laxmi when she was asked how she regained her strength after her acid attack. “Our life is not going to stop. Understanding the psyche of the criminal, I have realized, what they want is to make you live a life confined to closed spaces. But I have fought back and I urge every girl to fight for survival and come out strong.” smiled Laxmi and invited the couple to visit her cafe which is being run and managed by the survivors who have faced one of the most heinous crimes practiced against humanity.

“if it was us we would have shaken from such difficulties which you faced in your life”, said the prince after knowing what happened with Laxmi and many other girls who face such a brutal crime. 
Laxmi, was attacked with acid in 2005 in a busy marketplace when she was only 16-years-old by a man more than twice her age, whose advances she rejected. She has been fighting a lonely battle since 2006 in the Supreme Court, and in the process, succeeded in getting the Indian Penal Code amended to make acid attack a special offense. She further persuaded the court to increase the compensation for survivors to Rs. 3 lakh, besides procuring a complete ban on over-the-counter sale of acid.

Acid attack is a global phenomenon that is not restricted to a particular age, caste, religion, gender, or geographical location. Surprisingly, acid attacks have soared by up to 30 percent in the last two years in Britain. Criminals in UK are turning to corrosive substances as a cheaper alternative to guns and knives. So is the condition in India where 309 cases were reported in year 2014. Since 2012, more than 500 offenses in which people were injured or threatened with harmful substances shows how dangerous weapon acid can become if it is not controlled effectively. The governments in all the counties needs to look into this subject with far greater seriousness to understand why these attacks are occurring and what can be done to prevent them occurring.

“I will discuss with these issues with Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) today in the lunch”, assured Prince Williams before he left the venue.

Thankfully, the Prince kept his words and also wrote about his meeting on his official blog (https://www.royal.uk/duke-and-duchess-cambridge-meet-womens-rights-advocates-india). It mentions, 

"Their Royal Highnesses met acid attack survivor Laxmi Agarwal and heard about her inspirational campaign ‘Stop Acid Attacks’. Laxmi was attacked at 15 by a 32 year old man after she rejected his marriage proposal. She explained her decision to stop covering her face in order to encourage other victims not to hide and also spoke of her successful fight for tougher legal restrictions on the sale of acid. The Duke thanked her for her bravery. Laxmi is now a TV host, and director of the Chhanv Foundation, a NGO dedicated to help survivors of acid attacks in India. http://www.chhanv.org/"

The Royal couple is on a seven-day tour of India and Bhutan from April 10- April 16


Acid Violence

In India acid attacks are form of gender based violence aimed at silencing and controlling women. Their use as a weapon against women who refuse sexual or other advances is on the rise in India. In South Asia, disputes over land, inheritances, dowries, and declined marriage proposals often arouse jealousy, which lead to acid violence and women becomes the first victim of it. Acid attacks are intensely inhuman crimes because the perpetrators plan to disfigure the victims rather than kill them. Acid is also easily available and cheap, which is thrown at women. These attacks make them disfigured, often blinded, and severely traumatized. The lives of many women, deprived of free choice and independence in this way, have been destroyed.

SheRoes Hangout
Sheroes Hangout project is a self-sustainable entrepreneurial model café which can be operated by acid attack survivors for their self-growth and empowerment. Such hangout places empower a survivor of acid attack to breakthrough social dogmas and taboos relating to these cases in our society.

Sheroes Hangout is a café near the Taj Mahal, Agra, which is run by five women who have all survived acid attacks. Instead of succumbing to victimhood and staying in hiding, these women have decided to lead a normal respectable life and go to work. Sheroes Hangout is also the country's first cafe chain managed and run by acid attack survivors, opened to brisk business and supportive crowds in Agra and Lucknow.
It is home to five acid attack survivors from the Stop Acid Attack (SAA) campaign, who manage accounts, take orders, even mop the place. Along with the boutique, the café also has a reading section, and has become extremely popular among tourists and locals alike. Campaigners and survivors are working together to make the café a place where people can meet, have snacks and beverages, read books, buy souvenirs and learn to share their space with acid attack survivors

Stop Acid Attacks

The Stop Acid Attacks campaign was flagged on 8th March 2013 which is also celebrated as International Women’s Day to stand for acid attacks survivors and against acid attacks in India. Our then concept was to work as a bridge between survivors and the society, as most of the victims of this brutal crime, which is much more grave in its impact than a rape, have isolated themselves after losing their face. Due to ignorance of the government and civil society, most survivors find no hope and stay like an outcast, in solitude. SAA aims to research and track acid attack cases and compile a data to get the actual situation of survivors. Eventually it led to the establishment of Chhanv Foundation on 2nd September 2014 as a registered treaty. 

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Girl Tortured by Father & Stepmother, Rescued in Hyderabad

Posted by Stop Acid Attacks On Thursday, July 09, 2015 377 comments
A 19 year old girl, who has been subjected to physical torture for over seven months allegedly by her father and stepmother, was rescued by Police with the help of an NGO on Tuesday evening. She was sent to a hospital for medical examination and a case was registered against both the accused.

Bearing acid burn injuries over her face and all over the body, the victim, Pratyusha, told Police that she was being mercilessly inflicted the suffering on a daily basis.
In her complaint, Pratyusha informed Police that her parents used to throw acid on her, make her drink toilet cleaners, snub a cigarette on her body, and even beat her with an iron rod. For over seven months, she told Police, she was subjected to physical harassment by her father Ramesh and stepmother Chamundeshwari alias Shyamala at their house in LB Nagar in Hyderabad.
Pratyusha is the only daughter of Ramesh and Sarala whose 12 years long married life ended in 2003. She had dropped out of school after 6th class due to family issues. She had been staying with Sarala ever since, and after mother’s death in 2010, Pratyusha was sent to an orphanage in the city by a maternal uncle.
According to Police, Ramesh later married Chamundeshwari in 2008. “The couple did not have any children. So, in December 2014, he went to the orphanage and brought back her daughter to their house," said inspector E Srinivas Reddy of LB Nagar Police.
Further he added that the teenager was made to do all household works by her stepmother who would find faults with her and punish her. "She has given a statement that since last seven months she was tortured and subjected to physical harassment by her stepmother and father. She alleged that acid was thrown on her face and she was beaten up with hot rod almost on a daily basis. The girl has now been rescued and sent to the hospital in view of injuries to her face and other parts of the body," Reddy added.
LB Nagar Police registered a case under sections 342 (wrongful confinement), 326 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt) and 307(attempt to murder) against Chamundeshwari alias Shyamala and Ramesh and has started investigation. The stepmother was taken into custody where as the father, who is a Junior Telecom Officer in BSNL, is absconding.
original story link: bit.ly/1LTFqdc

Friday, 10 April 2015

(In Photo - Acid Attack Fighter Laxmi & Ritu)
In a far reaching judgement, the Supreme Court on Friday ordered private hospitals across the country to provide immediate and free treatment to acid attack victims.

The apex court directed the private hospitals to also include corrective surgeries in treatment to be provided to acid attack victims.

Private hospitals have also been directed to issue certificates to such people endorsing them as acid attack victims. The certificate will be issued by the first hospital that an acid attack victim approaches and will be used for claiming future benefits.

The court also observed that governments should provide Rs 3 lakh financial relief to acid attack victims.

The directive came a day after the Centre told the court that private hospitals were bound to provide not just first aid to acid attack victims and but also free-of-cost treatment.

Hospitals refusing first aid or free treatment to such people should be penalised, the government had told the court.

The Centre had last month directed all states to ensure speedy disbursal of compensation amount as well as timely treatment for them.

The year 2014 had registered a sharp increase in the number of acid attacks registered in a calendar year.

While 83, 85 and 66 such cases were registered in 2011, 2012 and 2013 respectively, the number jumped to 309 in 2014.

Other Sources-
Visit : http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/private-hospitals-can-t-deny-first-aid-to-acid-attack-victims/article1-1335639.aspx

Take a faceless selfie. Donate a face to an acid attack survivor.

Posted by ABHILASH SHUKLA On Friday, April 10, 2015 607 comments
Donate a Face

An innovative campaign has been launched to raise funds for acid attack survivors by Stop Acid Attacks in association with Cheil India.

What does a selfie mean to you? A way to show your face to the entire world out there! Or maybe to make your friends jealous of you having a perfect make up. But can you take a selfie and post it online so that somebody gets back a face destroyed by acid? People behind the campaign Stop Acid Attacks are creating a fundraising movement around ‘Faceless Selfies’ to raise enough money in order to fund surgeries for many survivors of Acid Attacks in India.

“Through this campaign we aim to make the issue bigger, and reach out to more and more people out there who are not aware of the Acid Attacks taking place in the country. We, with help of Cheil India, have created the website www.donateaface.org with information relating to Acid Attacks in India. We are really looking forward to 10th of April when the campaign will kickstart.”

Presently an acid attack survivor gets Rs 3 lakhs as compensation from the government. The amount is far too less for a survivor to undergo corrective surgeries. “At least 6-8 surgeries are required for a person to restore the face back to a reasonable level of function and aesthetic appeal. But the cost of even a single surgery is too expensive for many families in India. The government compensation is essentially of no real help. Presently we have come across only 5 people who have received government help. And at least 3 people are attacked with Acid in India every week.”

The campaign will be launched on April 10, 2015 at 12noon. It will be launched on various social media platforms. People can simply change their Facebook, Twitter or Instagram profile picture with www.donateaface.org written on a sheet of paper covering the face. It is important that people share the post with a hashtag “#donateaface” so that more and more people get to know about it. It will be interesting to know and an expression of our solidarity if this campaign can become india’s very own version of the iconic Ice Bucket Challenge which had taken the internet by storm few months back!People can visit the website by clicking here.If you want to signup for the campaign, then click here.You can visit the facebook page of the campaign here.You can visit the twitter handle of the campaign here.

Join us  -  Facebook  |  Twitter  | Paltan

Thursday, 5 March 2015

"Bello - A Calendar, dedicated to the Dreams of Acid Attack Survivors"

Idea behind Bello: The idea behind the calendar shoot by Acid Attack fighters emerged from the debate on the true meaning of beauty and the present attitude of the society towards understanding the concept of beauty in a limited realm. We stand against all those who discriminate and misjudge those who have lost their faces but have strived to retain their identities.
In a society as insensitive as ours, it doesn't take much for the acid attack victims to lose their self-confidence. The apathy of the attackers give birth to the acid attack. The apathy of relatives, 'friends' and neighbours generates burns everyday. The calendar shoot aids the society to broaden the interpretation of beauty.
inner beauty is quintessential beauty. hence we have decided to preserve it in an art form. this calendar launch with an idea to to showcase our ighter's dream emerged as a workable idea to us. we present you our work for your consideration and reconsideration.
Similar to our previous photo shool of acid attack survivors modeling for another survivor Rupa's dress designs, we have planned to launch this calendar shoot on social media. We are planning to reach out to 100 million people across the globe to make them a part of this celebration in which we define and redefine beauty. This calendar is one of its kind. People whom we consider ugly have emerged as the faces who love themselves and spread love and positivity.
Funds raised by the sale of the calendar will be used in the rehabilitation and betterment of the acid attack survivors in India. Help us by spreading the word by sharing this project with your friends and well wishers.

Join us @ http://paltan.in/

Buy it @ #WomenDayCalendar


    About Us

    SAA is a campaign against acid violence. We work as a bridge between survivors and the society, as most of the victims of this brutal crime, which is much more grave in its impact than a rape, have isolated themselves after losing their face. Due to ignorance of the government and civil society, most survivors find no hope and stay like an outcast, in solitude. SAA aims to research and track acid attack cases and compile a data to get the actual situation of survivors.

    Our Mission

    We work with partners and stakeholders towards elimination of acid and other forms of burn violence and protection of survivors' rights. The process of justice to an acid attack victim remains incomplete until she gets immediate medical, legal and economic help, along with the critical social acceptance. Our vision is to free India from this crime, which reflects the flaws of our patriarchal society and abusive attitudes. We want survivors to have access to fast justice and fight back the irreparable impact of this crime.

    Support Us

    Any amount you can donate to us, no matter how small, will be very gratefully received and put to good use helping acid and burns violence survivors. Your help could help pay for dressings and medical supplies for recuperating patients. A small help could help survivors with vital physical rehabilitation after an attack, including physical therapy and nursing.

    Click this link to donate for a good cause.

    Join Us

    We welcome all the volunteers to come forward and join us in our camping and contribute in whatever way possible. Please visit the Join Us page for more details.