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ED: Being there for acid survivors

  • Published at 07:06 pm October 22nd, 2020
acid survivor
Photo: SYED ZAKIR HOSSAIN

We have yet to reach a point where we can claim that acid violence has been completely eradicated

Over the years, Bangladesh has made great headway in the fight against acid violence. 

The country has seen a 93% decrease in acid attacks in the last two decades alone, through not only introducing legislation to limit acid sales and hold perpetrators accountable, but also numerous media campaigns, extensive social awareness programs, and general civil society advocacy. 

In short, a holistic approach was taken to both bring perpetrators to book and also advocate against patriarchal societal tendencies inclined towards blaming the victim. This is indeed commendable progress. 

However, we have yet to reach a point where we can claim that acid violence has been completely eradicated. There were still 21 cases of acid attacks this year. As such, we must remember that just because the numbers have gone down, it does not mean the problem has been curbed. It is imperative that we keep holding perpetrators accountable so that a culture of impunity does not prevail once more. 

In addition, it is also important to focus on social reintegration for survivors of acid attacks, as victim blaming is still prevalent in our patriarchal society. The damage from acid violence is rarely just physical; it can lead to a lifetime of mental trauma. Rehabilitating survivors, therefore, requires extensive counselling and mental health support, which can still be difficult to come by as it is a neglected aspect of the far-reaching consequences of acid attacks. 

As time goes by and numbers come down, it can become easier to overlook the cases that continue to exist. It is crucial that the fight against acid violence continue so that attack rates do not surge again, and this can only be done through thorough implementation of the law and an increased focus on helping the survivors.