101

Acid Attacks 101

Iranian acid attack victim Ameneh Bahrami
Iranian acid attack victim Ameneh Bahrami (Photo: Reuters)

In honor-based cultures such as Iran, Pakistan, India and Afghanistan, acid attacks are often committed as punishment for women violating Islam’s strict dress code or refusing a man’s advances or marriage proposal.

However, a recent acid attack in London – where an aspiring model and her cousin were severely injured — unfortunately demonstrates how this culture is being imported to the West. 

According to Acid Survivors Trust International, there are 1,500 recorded attacks each year; 80 percent of the attacks are on women.

In 2014, thousands of Iranians protested after nine women were attacked with acid in the span of three weeks for violating the dress code.

Under Iranian law, victims are allowed to seek retribution for their attacks under a law called qisa, where punishments match the crime that was committed. Victims or their surviving family members have the ability to grant clemency to the perpetrator, if they so choose.

Iranian woman Ameneh Bahrami – once a beautiful woman — became an international focus in 2011 when she was blinded and left horribly disfigured after a man poured a bucket of acid over her for rejecting his marriage proposal.

Weeping and waiting to be blinded by having corrosive chemicals dropped in his eye, her attacker was spared at the last minute from this fate when Bahrami chose to forgive him.

In 2009, a man in Iran was blinded in both eyes in 2009 for blinding a four-year-old girl in an acid attack. More recently, an Iranian court ruled that a woman must be blinded in one eye as punishment for leaving her victim completely blind.

The National Council of Resistance of Iran has called the qisa laws anti-human and “clear violations of all principles and norms of modern judiciary” to be condemned by any “freedom- seeking person.”

 

AC
Alicia Cherem
Alicia Cherem is a contributor to Clarion Project.