Tuesday, April 7, 2020

I Felt As If Someone Had Set My Whole Body On fire. The Skin Was Just Coming Off, It Was Like Dripping, From My Hands, And My Face.

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How many times did you feel like “I’m so sick of this life, I wish I could end this life”? If we can sometimes identify the underlying reasons, there could be meaningless incidents. The core of such a cause can be secondary when compared to the value of one’s life. 

​You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending -C.S Lewis

Laxmi Agrawal, an acid attack survivor is one of the inspiring stories about people with such a direct personality who did not give up on their dream goals. She was raised in a middle-class family in New Delhi. Her dream was to become a singer one day. In 2005, at the age of fifteen, she had to face such misfortune.  Naeem Khan AKA Guddu, 32 years old, wanted to marry her but she was not interested and rejected his proposal. He refused to accept NO for a reply and continued harassing her, but she kept refusing him. One reason why she had to hide all her problems from her parents was the fear of not being able to continue her education.

In some cultures, girls are a burden to the family where the male child is always welcomed.

One day, on her way to a Khan Market bookshop, Naeem’s accosted her and attacked her with acid. She remained on the ground in pain until a taxi driver came in and rushed her to the nearby hospital.

I felt as if someone had set my whole body on fire. The skin was just coming off, it was like dripping, from my hands, and my face.”​

LAXMI RECALLED IN AN INTERVIEW WITH DAILY MAIL

Laxmi languished under the attack’s mental and physical toll. She couldn’t wear any clothes for months and would sit under a blanket. Managing menstrual hygiene was an additional burden for Laxmi to bear when even a thin strip of fabric weighed down her battered body.​ She had to undergo multiple surgeries and was in hospital for three months. ​

Laxmi was so emotionally scarred that she was considering suicide. Yet she decided to put an end to such feelings, thinking of the suffering it might cause her parents. Instead, she chose to trust her parents, who encouraged her to seek advice. Laxmi then decided to bring her case to the court and the trial lasted four years. The result: Guddu was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Laxmi raised her voice for the rights of acid attack victims, importance of stopping the acid trade selling them under legal regulations. She even went to the Supreme Court of India regarding this matter. She started her campaign Stop Sale Acid, a movement against acid abuse and acid sales through # StopSaleAcid was supported by many local as well as foreign organizations. Recently, for her campaign Stop Sale Acid, she received the 2019 International Women Empowerment Award from IWES, Ministry of Women and Child Development, Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation and Unicef. Laxmi received a 2014 International Women of Courage award by US First Lady Michelle Obama. She was also chosen as the NDTV Indian of the Year. Chhapaak is an upcoming Bollywood film featuring actress Deepika Padukone, influenced by Laxmi’s experience as a survivor of an acid attack.

Her goal is to provide the victims of acid attacks with justice, to give them all the rights they have lost, and to rehabilitate them according to their needs. Even great figures such as Michelle Obama are admired for her efforts. Although he lost his beauty by acid attacks, her personality and her courage still shine.Lakshmi is a good example for all those who are afraid to face life and end their life without knowing the value of life.

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