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August 14

Acid Attack? Ain't No Stoppin' Me

By Ella Miista
News stories on acid attacks are a disturbingly common occurrence but women in India are standing up for themselves. Predominantly an attack against women - 80% overall, says London charity Acid Survivors Trust International - it's appalling whether the receiving end is a man or a woman. A study by Cornell University in 2011 claims a number of these attacks were acted out as revenge. They'd been rejected, and rather than approaching it like an adult would - with a bottle of wine or a six pack of beer and greasy food - according to the study they take on the 'If I can't have you, no one shall' mentality. That'll take you places. Unfortunately as surreal as it may seem, it's the reality to many people. Due to a number of them going unreported, no one knows how many exactly. One of the many victims was Rupa. She was 16 when her stepmother poured acid on her. She was left for six hours until her uncle found her. Six years later, she's worked on campaigns to raise awareness and ban open sale of acid in India. Next step for her is to open a boutique to sell her designs - it isn't just creativity but also the chance to be financially independent. There's a page online where you can donate to make it happen. Together with four other victims and with the help from the Delhi based photographer Rahul Saharan, they created a lookbook to showcase Rupa's designs and, well, themselves. We've all cancelled Friday night plans because of an unexpected spot, so imagine the courage it takes to stand up and say, actually, you can shove it - I AM beautiful. Charities and NGOs are doing so much to help the victims but nothing is as influential as the women shedding the victim label. They've declared themselves just as valuable as they were before and that's empowerment. It's still a long way to stop these attacks from happening but this is a milestone. india-acid-attack-1 india-acid-attack-2 india-acid-attack-3 india-acid-attack-4 india-acid-attack-5 india-acid-attack-7 india-acid-attack-8 india-acid-attack-9 india-acid-attack-10
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