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‘He thought he’d ruin me’: Indian battery-acid strike survivor and prototype speaks out | Ruchi Kumar

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Reshma Qureshis makeup tip videos introduced a spotlight on forms of violence against women, but survivors still face an uphill fought for justice

When catwalk model Reshma Qureshi volunteers makeup tips-off, her online tutorials end with the content that an eyeliner or lipstick is just as easy to buy in India as a cup of over-the-counter acid.

The point, coming from the status of women who was left disfigured and partially sighted by an acid attack, has already proved so powerful that it has helped induce firstly to an international application, and then to the supreme court of India prescribing states to enforce the ban on sales of the chemical.

However, despite the attention given to her own floor and to the plight of thousands like her, Qureshi says the outbreak of battery-acid strikes in India continues unabated, and the legal method lags far behind public opinion in dealing with cases.

” The only arrest become in my instance could receive bail soon, and my family is very afraid for our security ,” says Qureshi, who is from Allahabad, in the north regime of Uttar Pradesh.

” On 19 May 2014, my brother-in-law threw acid on my face ,” Qureshi tells the Guardian. She was just 17 when she and her sister were attacked. The older lady suffered minor burns but Qureshi was left poorly scarred and dazzled in her left eye.

Despite the milestones she’s reached- including fashion modelling- Qureshi’s strives are far from over. After years of law battle, Qureshi has still not received justice. Of the three men involved in the attack, simply one was detained. The test is still ongoing.

Her experience is far from isolated. The most recent statisticsfrom India’s National Crimes Record Bureau record 283 reported battery-acid onslaughts, with 307 casualties, in 2015. Worldwide, thousands of acid onrushes take place every year. Official fleshes show merely a fraction of the actual number of such attacks, activists say, with” thousands of the cases” going unreported.

Most survivors are criticized by relatives, manufacturing it more common that the crime is not reported outside their own families. Tania Singh, an activist and CEO of Make Love Not Scars, an organisation that helps survivors of battery-acid onrushes, says many others die from their injuries before they are able to go to the police.

Qureshi’s struggle not just to get medical help, but too law help, lays bare the lethargy of the Indian structure towards survivors of violence, she says.” The doctors wouldn’t treat my burns till we got a police grievance registered. It was six hours before I received any facilitate. I just lay there screaming in pain.

” Eventually, when the court was sounding my client, I was called as a witness while I was in surgery. Despite my father’s pleas, they held I be participating, or else the attacker would be “lets get going”. How is that fair ?”

Singh says more courts and judges are needed to expedite such cases.” The backlog of cases in India is massive; we have survivors who were attacked 10 years ago and haven’t seen justice, their attacks are absconding. The decision needs to come faster, swifter and harder .”

Currently, the crime is punishable with up to 10 years in prison, but conviction rates are low.” In at the least 40% of the cases, the attackers remain absconding ,” says Singh.

” Our rules are actually very good- solid constitutions, such that other countries could learn from existing legislation. The question lies with implementation … It was easy to pass a constitution, it is very difficult to implement it .”

While her organisation facilitates survivors find pro-bono relief, and handles some of their legal fees, financing of the load of such an attack is still paralyzing, says Singh.” Reshma’s mothers had to sell their business and ancestral dwelling is payable for her cares and legal costs .”

Qureshi now lives with other survivors at the Make Love Not Scars shelter in Delhi.” Apart from a safe seat, we also offer survivors psychological attention, medical notice, help with their surgeries, post-operative attend, money[ for] their children’s education, and help to become productive the representatives of civilization ,” says Singh.” However, the major challenge we face is the absence of belief survivors have in themselves. Society has put[ the idea] in their judgments that their lives are over. To convince them otherwise can be very hard sometimes .”

The organisation provides support and vocational training to survivors, including Qureshi, whose videos entitled” Beauty Tips by Reshma” have been enormously successful, putting a spotlight on the problem of violence against women.

” I have always enjoyed relating makeup, but I quit after my onrush ,” she says.” I would assure other women who were all made-up and wished I could also do that. Then I requested myself, why couldn’t I do it?

” That criticize ruined it in my life. Your face is everything in this world-wide, your face is considered your most important identity ,” she says.” The humankind who criticized me, he recollected this would ruin me.’ She won’t be able to do anything and she’ll die .’ But I won’t let that happen. I won’t give him the comfort- I will show him how I can live and move forward.

” The next thing I want to do is be used in a film about “peoples lives”, and to play myself .”

Singh says many survivors are now prosecuting business they previously thought out of reaching:” It is also what we part of our efforts to instil in all our survivors that “youre supposed to” the most wonderful form of yourself. Tell no one stir you feel otherwise.

” We have a few survivors who work in the supreme court, another who works in a hospital- because people should be free to follow their dreams in whatever path possible .”

Read more: www.theguardian.com

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