Meet Reshma Qureshi, a young 19-year-old who survived a harrowing experience that she will never forget.
In 2014, as Reshma and her elder sister walked to school in their hometown in Uttar Pradesh, India, her brother-in-law and his friends grabbed Reshma and poured corrosive acid on her face in an attempt to avenge a family dispute. That’s not the worst part. The two sisters were wearing burqas, so Reshma was accidentally assaulted instead of her sister. Regardless, since when has this been a way to get payback? The wounds were not limited to Reshma’s facial skin. They were visceral. The poor girl lost an eye and was literally scarred for life, in the worst way imaginable.
Initially a vulnerable, depressed, and suicidal girl, Reshma was found by Ria Sharma, founder of the non-governmental organization “Make Love Not Scars.” Ria’s compassionate personality and genuine interest in impacting lives was enough to help Reshma discover a newfound perspective on the beauty of life. Now, Reshma is a confident young woman who strives to ensure this injustice is not done with anyone else. She is no longer afraid to roam the streets without covering her face with a veil. Last week, Reshma was told that she will be walking the ramp in New York’s Fashion Week. Her reaction was poignant and absolutely priceless.
Acid attacks are widespread in countries like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Columbia, etc. Every day, at least one girl’s life is ruined, or worse…is killed by these devastating attacks.
Why would someone commit such a horrendous act, you ask?
A majority of these perpetrators are uneducated men who:
- Think this is a great tactic for revenge
- Cannot take no for an answer by a girl they wish to pursue
- Can’t deal with the fact that their wives are more attractive than them
- Need to take anger management classes
- Have to learn about a virtue called “forgiveness”
With concentrated acid being widely available to the common person for less than $1 in these countries (for cleaning purposes), we need to act fast to mitigate (if not eradicate) the situation. Please sign this petition to ban the sale of acid to just about anyone on the street.
Find out more about Reshma’s story in the video below.
*This video may be a little hard to watch, as the images are a bit graphic.