"Beauty lies within"; many say we believe in inner beauty. But in reality, our actions speak the contrary.
Over the last five years, India has seen hundreds of acid attack cases. The primary reasons for this offence include a woman's reluctance to consent to marriage, to have sex, or to pursue a romantic relationship. This crime is roused by deep-seated jealousy, thoughts of hostility, hatred, or vengeance towards the women. As a consequence, the victims not only have to face societal degradation but also go through the horror of depression and a dearth of hope for years, if not for their entire life.
With the I AM GATIM initiative, we bring back the untold stories of some acid attack survivors and how they confounded the battles.
Twisted Hate: Shahanara Khatun's Acid Attack Story
In a cruel twist of fate, young Shahanara's dreams were shattered on a fateful night. Mistakenly targeted in a vengeful acid attack intended for her mother, her life plunged into agony. Helpless cries were met with closed doors until the Brave Souls Foundation brought hope. Through their care, she embarked on a gruelling journey to heal physically and emotionally. Scars remained, but her spirit proved unbreakable. Love blossomed soon after, and she found comfort in her partner's embrace, marrying amidst adversity. Now a joyful mother and a determined work-from-home tailor, Shahanara's resilience shines. Her story celebrates life's triumphs over turmoil, honouring her unconquerable spirit. At Gatim, we salute the strength of her soul and honour her indomitable human spirit!
Vengence: Tanuja was attacked by an unclaimed lover
Born in modest origins, Tanuja could have become a diligent young woman who surmounted life's obstacles and continued her journey toward self-sufficiency. However, in 2010, her story took a turn. A local young man proposed to her, despite his incurable disease. Tanuja declined the proposal due to objections from her family. Upon discovering that her family was actively seeking a groom for her, the young man confronted her with a threatening demeanour. Sensing the looming danger, Tanuja confided in her mother. Sadly, her fears materialized when he suddenly attacked her one day with acid. Enduring indescribable pain and undergoing multiple surgeries, Tanuja persevered in her pursuit of education and eventually established an independent fabric business with the continued guidance of the Brave Souls Foundation. Tanuja's saga stands as a beacon of hope and unwavering resilience. At Gatim, we pay tribute to her courage and steadfast attitude.
A Saga of Endurance: Suniti Karmakar was attacked by her husband
Married off at 14 by orthodox parents, Suniti's life was passing by, tending to her household and family. Despite abuse from an unfaithful husband, she endured. After enduring an acid attack from him, leaving lifelong scars and blinding her, she returned home. Treatment costs affected her son's education. With one eye blinded and 80% vision loss in the other, she persevered. Now working as a security personnel, Suniti's resilience shines. Gatim honours her unyielding spirit and strength.
Unsafe Office: Pali Debnath was attacked by her Colleague
From a shattered marriage, Pali emerged stronger. Escaping her ex's affair, she faced workplace harassment yet stood firm. On a work trip, a brutal acid attack was unleashed by her persistent rejecter. Pali's resilience shined as she underwent intense recovery. She re-entered work, connecting with Brave Souls Foundation, igniting empowerment. Gatim honours her unwavering spirit and unshakable determination.
A Saga of Abuse: Rinku Das was abused and attacked by her Husband
In her teenage years, Rinku dreamt of love. Destiny led her to an ecstatic yet blinding elopement and marriage with an abusive, alcoholic gambler. Enduring abuse and threats, she became a mother twice, but her husband remained unchanged. Even after seeking help from the police, her situation worsened. An acid attack shattered her life when she resisted returning home. Months of pain followed, and Brave Souls Foundation offered solace. Working as a househelp, Rinku fights with her children's support. Gatim honours her unwavering spirit.
An Obsession of Hatred: Sunita Dutta's survivor story
From being a topper in sports to harbouring dreams of joining the police force, Sunita's journey was shattered by an obsessed love. Rejecting advances led to relentless harassment. A single slap fueled his vengeance further, resulting in an acid attack that took six years and twenty-one surgeries to overcome. Rising strong, she joined an NGO, found love, and now runs a thriving restaurant with her husband. Gatim salutes her strength, courage, and her unwavering attitude towards Life.
Hatred in the Heart: Sanchayita's Acid Attack by her Boyfriend
Being a sports lover, Sanchayita completed her graduation and was on her way to achieve a bright future. However, soon after, she got involved in a relationship that, over time, turned obsessive. Even a simple conversation with her friends used to irk her boyfriend. And one day, being blinded with a vengeance, he threw acid on her. As her skin melted away, she realized her life would never be the same anymore. After multiple surgeries and continued treatments, she recovered. On her way to recovery, she got in touch with the Brave Souls Foundation, where the many stories of other victims inspired her even further. Standing today, she's working at a semi-government office, and her unwavering determination will continue to inspire us – We at Gatim salute her unshakeable attitude.
Abomination by Family: Jhuma was attacked by her Relative
Born in a not-too-well-to-do background, Jhuma worked as a tailor prior to the fateful incident. One of her relatives made an indecent proposal, which she rejected. Her rejection annoyed him, and as an act of vengeance, he threw acid at her. The attack devastated her life, took her eyesight, and left her struggling. It was at this phase she came in touch with the Brave Souls Foundation, with whose guidance she learned to fight back. Years of treatment and surgeries continued, and at long last, she recovered. She now runs a business of homemade pickles along with manufacturing hand-crafted Rakhi. We at Gatim salute her indomitable attitude.
The End to Violence Against Women and Girls.
After a hike in acid attacks on women in India, this crime has attracted enough attention. But we must put in much more effort to stop this morbid crime. Even though many laws have been amended. However, that is not enough.
All the stories above have one thing in common- the deep-rooted gender inequality which led to the attacks. As a society, we need to feel the pain of the victims of acid attacks. We must not let the survivors feel hopeless. Instead, we should treat them with equal respect and dignity.
With the "I AM GATIM" initiative, we stand with every Acid Attack Survivor who fought and stood against the societal demons to rise and fly high. Despite their background or status, these survivors unveiled perseverance and gallantry to heal their internal and external scars and embrace their happily ever after.