8)Marriages involving acid attacks and domestic violence
Scenario: Ms. W belonged to a traditional family and her marriage had been arranged with a distant relative’s son, Mr.M. All was good for the first two years of marriage. They had two lovely twin girls and the news of their birth was not so well received as she had expected. However, she accepted it as the mentality of the society and was quite determined to make them financially independent one day. Slowly, violence and abuse started creeping into her marriage from her in-laws and spouse. She would brush off even this as she had two girls to take care of and they needed their father in their life at this tender age.
Three more years passed like this and tragedy struck their home. Her husband lost his job and they were forced to shift to a rented apartment
and were living hand to mouth. The financial strain was getting to M. M and one fine morning , he demanded that she ,
Mrs. M ask her parents to send five lakh rupees in cash. She was shocked as she knew of her parent’s financial condition at this age
of retirement. She confronted him firmly and told him clearly that she was no way going to pressurize her parents for dowry as it
was his responsibility to take care of his family. This hit the final nail in the coffin and he attacked her viciously and beat her up in
front of her children. She was barely able to handle the pain and unable to go to sleep that night.
The next day turned out the worst day of her life. She was sending her girls to school when he suddenly came from behind and
grabbed her hand . He opened a bottle of acid and poured it all over her face, as she screamed in pain and terror. The coward as he
was, ran away from the house leaving her screaming for help . She was rushed to the hospital and admitted in the critical section of the burns ward. She had suffered 80 % burns on her face and it had literally melted her face due to the direct impact. She was in so much psychological and physical pain that she felt it better to consume poison and end the pain forever.
She heard the cries of her girls’ in her coma like sleep and it kept her awake in her senses, only to realize she and her daughters had been scarred for life…
Point of View (Mr. M)
” My family did not demand any dowry from her family at the time of marriage. What was wrong if I demanded it if I was under financial stress?
” I only needed it as a loan and I would have paid them back when the time was right.(Yeah really?)
” We allowed the birth of two twin daughters and it would have taken a lifetime of savings to nurture them .
” All this misfortune occurred due to their birth. Has we not had girls but boys, all this would not have occurred in the first place.(Yes, sadly people with such mentality live in our society today!)
” How dare she answer me back and refuse to ask her parents for dowry? I am her husband and she has to obey me.
” I will teach her a lesson which she will never forget for the rest of her life!(Yes, all this bullshit goes on in the mind of perverted people who try cross the levels of humanity in meting out punishment)
” She will not die, I do not want her to die as the girls need her. But she will never say No and raise her voice in front of me again.(very sad but it’s the truth in real cases like these)
Point of View( Mrs.M)
Before the Attack
” He lost his job so he has to struggle to find a new one to help both ends meet.
” His parents did not do me a favor by not asking for dowry at the time of marriage. It is illegal to give or take it in our country.
” I will raise my girls to be strong and independent women one day who are not dependent on their husbands totally.
” How can I pressurize my parents to pay so arrange for so much money suddenly? It will hurt them financially and emotionally.
” Even if they manage to arrange it for the time being, what is the guarantee that Mr .M will not demand it again in the future?
After the attack
” What was he even thinking before committing such a heinous crime? Was he not my life partner who had pledged to be with me together till death?
” He should have killed me instead of throwing the acid on my face! Was it revenge or anger or frustration or plain misogyny?
” How dare he scar my life and disfigure my face ! He has scarred our children’s lives too in this…
” How will I face my daughters with this ugly faceless face now? Can he bring it back now and reshape it again, ever?
” My daughters will be embarrassed, fearful and scared of men now . Will they ever be able to trust men , especially after their own father turned out to be their worst enemy ?
” How will I face my own family and relatives ? Will they feel scared of my face and shun me lest I become a source f embarrassment for them?
” How will I arrange for the numerous complicated surgeries required for reducing the infection on my face?
” Will I be ever able to walk free without a few thousand apprehensive and furtive glances or comments coming my way?
” Is this the justified punishment for reasoning and answering back to your husband?
” How will I work now? Will anyone hire an acid attack victim like me? How will I regain my confidence and apply for work with my education being the only shining star in my life?
” I have been marked permanently for life now, it cannot be erased until my death… I will need immense mental courage to deal with this trauma and come out of this hell. I need my family by my side and my eloped husband arrested and brought in front of me!
” It is very essential to seek the help of family and relatives in such cases to deal with the trauma.
” NGO’s for rehabilitation and the much needed medical, legal , psychological support for acid attack victims should be immediately contacted.
” Make Love Not Scars is an NGO started in 2014, which provides complete rehabilitation and support to victims of acid attacks.( http://makelovenotscars.org/)
Phone-011 4109 9859
” Chhanv is another NGO working for providing sustenance and shelter to such victims.Their Stop Acid Attacks Campaign glorifies acid attack survivors and helps them hold on and gain control of their lives.( http://www.chhanv.org/)
Chhanv Helpdesk: 011-64658001
” A case can be filed in court for punishing the perpetrator for this unacceptable crime under:
1) Section 326A which lays down the punishment for acid throwing. The minimum punishment is 10 years imprisonment and can be extended up to life imprisonment with fine.
2)Section 326 B which lays down the punishment for attempted acid throwing. The minimum punishment is 5 years imprisonment and can be extended up to 7 years imprisonment with fine.
” Availing the Victim Compensation Scheme under NALSA(Legal Services to Victims of Acid Attacks, 2016), which compensates Rs 5 lakhs as of today , within five five working days is a good start for immediate relief to victims.
” Acid Attack Victims are now to be enrolled in the disability list. Hence, they can benefit from several government schemes meant for physically handicapped people such as 3% reservation in government jobs.
” The society as a whole needs to stand together in the fight for justice in such cases and totally support the ban on the open sale of acid. It is very easy to throw acid for revenge, but very difficult to dissolve those deep scars of burnt flesh…
Confronting the break in tradition-Part 8