Burn and Acid Attacks on Women in India: A Situational Analysis
The Research Team
Principal Investigator: Mangai Natarajan, Ph.D.
Background: Violence against women is a serious public health and criminal justice issue. Among the most serious forms of such violence are acid or burn attacks that involve pouring acid or igniting kerosene on the faces and bodies of the victims. In India, kerosene is widely used as the fuel for cooking and concentrated acid is used to sterilize kitchens and bathrooms. With just a few rupees anyone can buy these potential weapons and use them to ruin another person's life in just a few seconds. Despite improvements in medical facilities for treating these victims they often endure severe disfigurement and life long suffering. The feelings of rejection at all levels of their lives lead many of these women to commit suicide. Such attacks occur in many parts of the developing world and are commonly used to terrorize and subjugate women and girls in a swath of Asia from Afghanistan through Cambodia. Their attackers are rarely prosecuted and acid sales are usually not controlled.