Acid Violence against Women in Bangladesh
Standing at the entrance to the Social Initiatives Office in Dhaka, Bangladesh, waiting for an acid survivor to greet us, I felt overwhelming anxiety. Her footsteps drew closer, and I glimpsed her through the crack between the iron gates. The gates opened to reveal a woman in her early twenties, who welcomed us with utter generosity, as though we were old friends. My eyes were glued to her face and body, observing every inch of her arms and face, studying the scars and deformity caused by the acid, which had burned her skin away completely. When I first laid eyes on Tahmina, I was oblivious to my actions; fortunately, I quickly realized that by paying so much attention to her appearance, I made her feel apprehensive as well. But as we came to know each other better during hours of conversation over food and drinks, I discreetly studied Tahmina’s distorted, lopsided face: one eye was contracted, the other stretched; only a fraction of the nose remained; layers of skin grafts had created strange shapes and scars of various tones.
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