Posted by Stop Acid Attacks On Tuesday, March 04, 2014No comments
Laxmi, a victim of acid attack and a standard-bearer for Stop Acid Attacks campaign, has been selected by the US for prestigious International Women of the Courage Award.
Laxmi would receive the award from US First Lady Michelle Obama at an awards ceremony at the State Department here.
She was 16 when an acquaintance threw acid on her face while she waited at a bus stop in New Delhi's busy Khan Market in 2005, disfiguring her permanently.
Her attacker, a friend's 32-year old brother, planned to use the acid to destroy Laxmi's face after she refused to respond to his romantic advances.
"Many acid attack victims never return to normal life: they often go to great lengths to hide their disfigurement, many forgo education or employment rather than appear in public, and suicide is not uncommon. But Laxmi did not hide," the State Department said.
"She became the standard-bearer in India for the movement to end acid attacks. She made repeated appearances on national television, gathered 27,000 signatures for a petition to curb acid sales, and took her cause to the Indian Supreme Court," it said.
"Laxmi's petition led the Supreme Court to order the Indian central and state governments to regulate immediately the sale of acid, and the Parliament to make prosecutions of acid attacks easier to pursue," the State Department said.
"Much is left to be done, and Laxmi continues to advocate on behalf of acid attack victims throughout India for increased compensation, effective prosecution and prevention of acid attacks, and rehabilitation of survivors," it said.
Secretary of State John Kerry, who was earlier scheduled to be present at the awards ceremony, is now travelling to Kiev in the aftermath of the Ukrainian situation. He would be represented by Deputy Secretary of State Heather A Higginbottom.
Last year, Nirbhaya, a courageous 23-year-old girl whose brutal gang rape on a moving bus in Delhi in December 2012, triggered widespread protests, received the prestigious award.
The award would be presented to Laxmi along with other awardees from countries across the globe.
Established in 2007, the annual Secretary of State's International Women of Courage Award honors women around the globe who have exemplified exceptional courage and leadership in advocating for human rights, women's equality, and social progress, often at great personal risk.
This is the only Department of State award that pays tribute to emerging women leaders worldwide.
Among other awardees are Nasrin Oryakhil (Afghanistan), Roshika Deo (Fiji), Bishop Rusudan Gotsiridze (Georgia), Iris Yassmin Barrios Aguilar (Guatemala), Fatimata Toure (Mali), Maha Al Muneef (Saudi Arabia), Oinikhol Bobonazarova (Tajikistan), Ruslana Lyzhychko (Ukraine) and Beatrice Mtetwa (Zimbabwe).
(Stop Acid Attacks campaign supports such fighters to keep their battle on. By your support, Laxmi is planning to bring all the acid attack fighter under one umbrella. Support Laxmi financially.
Indian Friends: https://www.bitgiving.com/project/index/id/BIT015
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.