Extraordinary Courage: Acid Attack Victim Speaks Out

With these horrifying crimes still prevalent in India, one woman helped launch a campaign to fight back

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When Laxmi was 16 years old, she was waiting at a bus stop when she felt a tap on her shoulder. As she turned around, a man threw acid on her, brutally scorching her face and arms. The attacker was an acquaintance whose marriage proposals she’d rejected.

The outcry against rape in India over the past year has brought attention to another kind of violence that plagues the country: acid attacks. These crimes often occur when men who are unable to deal with the emotional crush of being rejected want to punish the women who rebuffed them. With strong acid being readily available in India, these attacks are alarmingly prevalent.

The man who assaulted Laxmi was eventually caught and sentenced to 10 years in jail. After years of hiding, Laxmi decided to speak out against acid attacks. She successfully petitioned India’s Supreme Court to make it harder for the average person to buy the kinds of acid often used to disfigure and maim victims. She also began working for a campaign called “Stop Acid Attacks,” where she met an activist named Alok and fell in love. The couple now work and live together.

In March, Michelle Obama presented Laxmi with the International Women of Courage Award for her hard work helping other victims and her efforts to prevent attacks. Laxmi’s story proves that with bravery and dedication, you can turn a tragedy into a new beginning.

When Laxmi was 16 years old, she was waiting at a bus stop when she felt a tap on her shoulder. As she turned around, a man threw acid on her, brutally scorching her face and arms. The attacker was an acquaintance whose marriage proposals she’d rejected.

The outcry against rape in India over the past year has brought attention to another kind of violence that plagues the country: acid attacks. These crimes often occur when men who are unable to deal with the emotional crush of being rejected want to punish the women who rebuffed them. With strong acid being readily available in India, these attacks are alarmingly prevalent.

The man who assaulted Laxmi was eventually caught and sentenced to 10 years in jail. After years of hiding, Laxmi decided to speak out against acid attacks. She successfully petitioned India’s Supreme Court to make it harder for the average person to buy the kinds of acid often used to disfigure and maim victims. She also began working for a campaign called “Stop Acid Attacks,” where she met an activist named Alok and fell in love. The couple now work and live together.

In March, Michelle Obama presented Laxmi with the International Women of Courage Award for her hard work helping other victims and her efforts to prevent attacks. Laxmi’s story proves that with bravery and dedication, you can turn a tragedy into a new beginning.

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