» 10/02/2008, 00.00
Acid, the new weapon for disfiguring women
Wives, daughters, girls are punished by having acid thrown on them, permanently disfiguring them. The government prohibits the sale of the corrosive liquids, but they are easily found on the market. The phenomenon is spreading. The victims now include children and adult males.
Dhaka (AsiaNews) - Women in Bangladesh suffer marginalization. And the violence against them, at home and outside, continues to grow. Recently, a new weapon has been added: acid, which disfigures their faces and bodies.
Parul's husband is 30 years old. In 2000, he disfigured her by throwing acid into her face, because her relatives had not paid the agreed dowry. The victim's mother presented a charge a few months ago, because until then she was unable to leave her daughter's side, who was always in various hospitals. The husband - who everyone knows to be guilty - is a free man.
Nasima has an 11-year-old mentally retarded daughter who was raped. She accused the attackers two years ago, and since then she has received continual threats. An acid attack left her torso and back devastated. Now she promises that she will not charge her daughter's attackers, and will withdraw her previous accusation.
Domestic and international awareness-raising campaigns led the government to pass, in 2002, a strict law against the custom of throwing acid into the faces of young women for economic reasons, or because of jealousy, or because they resist sexual advances. After a certain reduction in these cases, they are now on the increase again. There were 1,428 from 2002-2007, 116 cases from January to August 2007, which rose to 125 in the same period this year. Since 2002, there have been only 190 trials, in which 254 defendants have been sentenced: 11 to death, 89 to labor camps. Authorities are unable to say how many of the sentences have been carried out, and how many of those sentenced are in fact in prison.
According to the law, acid can be bought only with a license, but anyone is able to procure it on the open market, at a price of about 60 euro cents per kilo: this is enough to disfigure a person, often completely "melting" the throat, trachea, esophagus, with horrible suffering.
Most recently, the victims have not been only young women, but also children, out of vengeance against their parents, and men, especially over land disputes and romantic rivalries.
Bangladesh: two young brothers, victims of a family feud, disfigured with acid.
Their father’s first wife demanded a sum of money and a piece of land. The target of the attack was the boy’s mother; on not finding here the women and her brother attacked the children. In ten years Bangladesh has seen 2200 acid attacks.
Bangladesh: acid attacks, women and children the most affected group
Since 1999, 2,496 cases of acid attacks, according to data from the Acid Survivors Foundation (ASF). In 2010, 72% of cases of girls and women between 18 and 34 years. Growing attacks on men, over property related issues.
Acid thrown in faces of five young women in Kandahar, "guilty" of going to school
Responsibility for the crime is attributed to the Taliban, who have an extensive presence in the area. During their government, they imposed an absolute ban on any form of education for females.
Afghan women victims of violence and abuse like under the Taliban
In Kunduz, local leader has acolytes throw acid on the members of a family because the father had refused to give his daughter in marriage. Speaking to AsiaNews, local source slams the country’s tribal Islamic culture, which continues to trample civil laws and human rights. More than 50 per cent of Afghan women in prison are there on adultery charges.
Afghan girls risk lives to go to school
The girls who had acid thrown into their faces in November in Kandahar have gone back to school. The difficult situation for women in Afghanistan, where being raped is a grave dishonor. The majority of beggars today are women.
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