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‘He thought he’d ruin me’: Indian acid onslaught survivor and simulation speaks out | Ruchi Kumar

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

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

The point, coming from the status of women who was left disfigured and partly sighted by an acid onslaught, has already supported so potent that it has helped result firstly to an international petition, and then to the supreme court of India telling states to enforce the ban on sales of the compound.

However, despite the attention paid to her own narrative and to the plight of thousands like her, Qureshi says the outbreak of acid onrushes in India continues unabated, and the legal structure lags far behind public opinion in addressed with cases.

” The only arrest constituted in my case could receive bail soon, and my family is very afraid for our safety ,” says Qureshi, who is from Allahabad, in the north nation of Uttar Pradesh.

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

Despite the milestones she’s attained- including fashion modelling- Qureshi’s struggles are far from over. After years of legal battle, Qureshi has still not received right. Of the three men involved in the attack, exclusively one was detained. The contest is still ongoing.

Her experience is far from isolated. The most recent statisticsfrom India’s National Crimes Record Bureau record 283 reported battery-acid attacks, with 307 fatalities, in 2015. Worldwide, thousands of acid attacks take place every year. Official digits present exclusively a fraction of the actual number of such attacks, activists say, with” millions of the cases” running unreported.

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

Qureshi’s struggle not just to get medical assistance, but too law assist, lays bare the phlegm of the Indian organization towards survivors of violence, she says.” Medical doctors wouldn’t treat my burns till we got a police complaint registered. It was six hours before I received any assist. I merely lay there screaming in pain.

” Eventually, when the court was hearing my client, I was called as a witness while I was in surgery. Despite my father’s pleas, they contended I be participating, or else the attacker “wouldve been” let go. How is that fair ?”

Singh says more the tribunals and judges are needed to expedite such cases.” The backlog of cases in India is massive; “were having” survivors who were attacked 10 years ago and haven’t seen right, their intruders are absconding. The decision needs to come faster, swifter and harder .”

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

” Our principles are actually very good- solid laws, such that other countries could learn from existing legislation. The difficulty lies with implementation … It is very easy to transfers a statute, it is very difficult to implement it .”

While her organisation helps survivors find pro-bono assistance, and considers some of their law costs, the financial onu of such an attack is still crippling, says Singh.” Reshma’s mothers had to sell their business and ancestral home is payable for her therapies and law costs .”

Qureshi now lives with other survivors at the Make Love Not Scars shelter in Delhi.” Apart from a safe infinite, we too supply survivors psychological care, medical courtesy, help with their surgeries, post-operative upkeep, money[ for] their children’s education, and help to become productive members of civilization ,” says Singh.” However, the biggest challenge we are confronted with is the lack of creed survivors have in themselves. Society has put[ the idea] in their minds 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 adoration working makeup, but I discontinue after my attempt ,” she says.” I would check other women who were all made-up and pleased I could also do that. Then I asked myself, why couldn’t I do it?

” That assault ruined it in my life. Your face is everything in this world-wide, your face is considered your most important identity ,” she says.” The male who assaulted me, he saw this would devastate 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 gratification- I will show him how I can live and move forward.

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

Singh says numerous survivors are now engaging professions they previously thought out of reaching:” It is also what we strive to instil in all our survivors that “youre supposed to” the best form of yourself. Tell no one stimulate you feel otherwise.

” We have a few survivors who work in the high court, another who were working in a hospital- because people should be free to follow their fantasies in whatever direction possible .”

Read more: www.theguardian.com

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