NEW DELHI: A new web portal to chronicle the struggles of acid attack survivors was launched today on International Women's Day. The website, www.stopacidattacks.org details several cases of acid attacks on women from across the country and tracks their progress.
Alok Dixit, who runs the " Stop Acid Attacks" campaign in the capital, says the crime has reached epidemic proportions and the efforts to contain it haven't been able to keep up. "It needs to be treated with the same seriousness, if not more, as the crime of rape and sexual assault," he said.
Supreme Court advocate Kamlesh Jain, who is the legal representative of acid attack survivor Anu Mukherjee, made a case for restricting the sale of acid. "It is cheap and easy to procure and hence executing such attacks becomes easy. Its sale should only be allowed through licensed sellers. Even a small country like Bangladesh treats it at par with poison," Jain said at the launch. A large majority of acid attackers happen to be spurned men unable to take rejection of their sexual advances. Taking note of the trend, poet Suman Kesri Agrawal stressed the need to build a social culture that respects women's will. "This begins at home. How many families are willing to accept a daughter's denial when she reasons it out?" she asked.
Mukherjee, who broke down narrating her story, revealed that she cannot, at present afford her medical treatment. Mukherjee lost her parents at a young age and is supported younger brother who had to give up his studies for want of resources. Jain criticized the government for not providing adequate medical support. "Rehabilitation of acid attack survivors is the government responsibility. Their treatment should start as soon as the case is reported," said Jain.
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.
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.
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.