Violence Against Women: South East Asia’s Acid-Attack Epidemic

By Fariha Fawziah
Acid-throwing attacks on women have become a serious problem throughout the world. These attacks, for instance, occur when a woman rejects a guy in some manner or “disrespects” him. She then becomes a potential victim. These mistreated women become outcasts in society and have their lives changed forever.


Victim of acid attack.

Nila, a woman from Bangladesh, was attacked with acid by her husband several weeks after her marriage took place. In most cases, the main characteristic of acid burns is the long-lasting period of tissue destruction that continues until the acid becomes ineffective due to the application of water.

Nila was left to suffer for up to five hours before anyone responded to her cries of agony and pain while locked alone in her house after acid was thrown in her face.  The reason behind this acid attack was that Nila desired to continue her education. Her punishment for expressing her dream to her husband was to have her face melted by liters of highly corrosive acid being poured over her head, face, and neck.

This acidic substance was so strong that these types of liquids are used to clean the rust off metals! According to a description of the incident in Nila’s own words gathered from the website
“I woke up around midnight and found my husband sitting on a chair with his eyes bloodshot out of anger. I asked him what had happened, but no response. He just walked up to me with a glassful of liquid and poured it down over my head.”
I wonder what gives anyone the right  to basically ruin someone’s life in this terrifying way?  This behavior is simply  inhumane.  In Bangladesh, such acid attacks are  relatively common. Bangladesh is currently alleged to have the highest reported incidents of acid assaults in the world. According to the Acid Survivors Foundation in Bangladesh, (, the country has reported 3000 acid attack victims since 1999, peaking at 262 victims for the year of 2002.


Younger women were especially prone to being attacked, with a recent study reporting that 60% of acid assault survivors are between the ages of 10 and 19.

According to Mridula Bandyopadhyay and Mahmuda Rahman Khan, acid-throwing is a form of violence primarily targeting women. They describe it as a relatively recent form of violence, with the earliest recorded incident in Bangladesh dating from 1983.
We must all recognize the urgency of fighting against this outrageous trend. No human being has the right to obliterate someone’s face with acid, whether the victim is female or male.

Bringing more attention to the problem in the global press is one way to pressure law enforcement in nations where acid attacks take place to stop or prevent this practice.
Terrorizing and scarring women by burning them with acid is a horrifying form of torture that reveals a psychological willingness to oppress and devalue women just because they are women.

Obviously no culture or legal system should allow men to “punish” or “control” women in this way.  No nation  should tolerate such violence against their female citizens since the threat of acid and other attacks by men on women traumatizes and intimidates all girls who are at risk of being in this situation.



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