Graphic images but the world needs to know what is going on to women
Due to National and International Pressure, the Indian Government created new laws in February 2013 to combat the increasing attacks on women. In India, 90% of violent attacks are against women and the number is only increasing. After acid-attack victim Sonali Mukherjee appeared on India’s version of “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” in 2012, acid-attack victims hoped that the country would finally care about them, but some victims are still waiting for justice.
Whenever Chanchal Paswan (18) left her house in Chithnava, India, her male neighbors would follow her to her destination, pulling on her clothes while making lewd comments toward her. When Chanchal refused to sleep with them, the men decided to punish her – after all, these monsters believed that women should ALWAYS do what men say. On October 21, 2012, the men snuck onto Chanchal’s roof where she and her sister were sleeping. The men pinned her down and poured acid all over her while the younger sister, Sonam (15), was also burned. The parents heard their children screaming and ran up to the roof and rushed the girls to the hospital. The attackers laughed at the family while the neighbors watched in silence. When the family got to the hospital, it refused to admit the sisters until the following morning when television cameras showed up. The four men (Anil Rai, Ghanshyam Rai, Baadal Rai, and Raj Rai) were arrested, but the sisters are still waiting for justice.
Even though Chanchal was an adult who worked at the time of the attack, the police report claims she was a minor at the time of the attack so she received less compensation. There were rumors that the attackers would be forced to cover the cost of the surgeries the girls have been going through, but at the moment the family has been paying for all the surgeries and medication. Chanchal was even discharged early from Patna Medical College and Hospital because her family could not afford to pay for the medication and surgeries, though the hospital claims its for infection reasons. The main attackers, Anil Rai, claims he is a minor to escape prison time even though he is not a minor. The family hopes that by drawing attention to their problem, they will be able to receive the correct compensation from the government and see the attackers be punished. The attackers are from a higher caste (higher social class) and they believed they would never be punished since the girls are from a lower caste system.
Acid-attacks are on the rise in the Middle East and South East Asia because women are saying “no” to men and some men still view women as sex objects. Chanchal told one of the attackers “no” to a marriage proposal and instead of moving on, he made it his mission to ruin her life. Since acid-attacks were not considered a crime until recently, no one is sure how many women are inured each year by acid attacks but activists estimate there are as many as 1,000 attacks a year. Unlike Chanchal and Sonam, who took to the media to demand justice, most acid-attackers are forced to keep quiet due to constant threats from the attackers’ families or the police refuse to help. There is currently a petition on Change.org demanding that the sisters receive justice. While the government takes its time, these two sisters refuse to wait around and are currently campaigning for acid-attack victims. Chanchal is determined to return to school and provide for her family, but in the meantime, she removes the bandages around her face and looks at the camera, “I want the world to know what happened to me.”
On April 23, 2013, Chancha met the DM of Patna to deliver the petition that contains over 65,000 signatures.
- “Acid Attack Victim Turned Campaigner” India Daily News
- “Left in the lurch, victims of acid attack seek justice” The Times of India
- Acid Attack Victim Vows to Fight (tbchick2011.wordpress.com)