Friday, 20 September 2013

Acid Attacks: A Cowardly Man's Weapon?

by Hattie Gould and Annie Materna

The horrific stories of acid attacks are becoming increasingly more common around the UK. Katie Piper is one of the unfortunate examples of this harsh and brutal attack. Katie was attacked by a man she had met online and attempted to remove him from her life, clearly he did not take the news well and decided to attack her by throwing acid in her face. Urgently she ran into a near by cafe and attempted to wash the acid off with water from the tap; unfortunately the acid immediately burned her face and she was left with permanent scars and disfiguration.

Not only do attacks like this permanently, physically scar a person; they also mentally scar people. Katie was scared just to walk to her near by shop to buy everyday necessities, she lost her confidence and trust in others. Although she has had facial reconstruction she knows that her life and look has changed forever, but it is not necessarily a bad change. Katie has managed to prove a level of bravery that is difficult for people to achieve in our modern day society, where it would appear that looks mean everything. People stare and judge people that look different, leading to a slippery slope for people like Katie where gaining confidence and approval from others may mean the world. Although Katie proved that she could learn to embrace her difference and love her new look. Life is too short after an attack that spares your life, to hide away and give up.

But why acid attacks? Acid is essentially becoming a weapon, which is even more dangerous because it is an easy way to attack, and permanently hurt someone; and it is easily accessed and made. Another example of this is a woman named Tara. A man knocked on her door one day and asked if she was called Michelle, she replied by informing the man her name was Tara and so he walked away. Five minutes later she had a knock on the door again and this time as she answered, acid was thrown into her face, also hitting her dog in the process. The man, whom she did not know, escaped without charge and is unknown to this day, while Tara has a permanent, physical and mental scar to live with for the rest of her life.

Vicious personalised or unpersonalised attacks are becoming more common, not just in the UK but throughout the world for example the attack on the two British girls in Zanzibar over the summer. Acid is now a weapon that is used to destroy people's lives; it can be argued that an acid attack is worse than being shot. If you have been shot, you may die or eventually recover; however with an acid attack you are forced to live with mental and physical scaring for the rest of your life.

It has become evident over the last couple of years and through our examples that there is a strong correlation between acid attacks targeted on girls between the age of 15-30. This is a crucial age, as many girls are still young and developing as people, so for them to be attacked by acid is devastating. In addition, the main acid assailants tend to be men, who therefore target women. What does this show? It certainly does not show these offenders as gentlemen, but it portrays them as cowardly because they hide behind a corrosive solution which will permanently damage a girl forever. These vicious attackers particularly target the girls faces, possibly, attempting to prove their dominance over women and show their superiority. However, this  type of behaviour is not acceptable in modern social times and is in fact gender discrimination, and therefore should not be tolerated.

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