A survivor, not a victim
A common part of the lexicon in India is acid attack. Not having been at the receiving end of such attack, it becomes easier to disassociate ourselves from those who have to bear the brunt of it. Scorned or jilted lover seems to be the excuse for those who throw the acid. But this does not take away the liability that their survivors are the ones who have to face the world.
Stories of victims fighting against all odds and emerging as survivors make for not just headlines but proud moments. In a society obsessed with predetermined notions of beauty, an acid attack survivor, Reshma Qureshi dismantled stereotypes by walking down the ramp for a fashion show in New York. Running the Sheroes Hangout café in Agra are acid attack survivors. All these positive stories makes for a ray of hope in this dark, hate ridden times.
Make Love Not Scars
Carrying forward this message of positivity is a video by Make Love Not Scars. It aims to provide positive and deserving employment to the survivors of acid attack. The video aptly titled #SkillsNotScars is a visual CV encouraging people to look at more than just the face of those who have been attacked with acid. The scars on their faces are not a disability or a liability. They are just a part of their body which does not make them less competent in any way. Whether it is the baby sitter Basanti or beautician Mamta, these people have a lot to give to the society. It is about letting go of prejudices and giving them the chance they deserve.
This is not the first time that Make Love Not Scars is giving a voice to the acid attack survivors. The organization had previously made a number of videos with Reshma focusing on beauty routine. While the video subtly talked about the right of acid attack survivors to be and feel beautiful, the intent was to sensitize people enough to sign a petition. The petition was to force the government to ban the over the counter sale of acid. Buying a bottle of acid is far easier than the right shade of cosmetics.
Normalizing the life of an acid attack survivor is the video by BuzzFeed India. Set in an office, it shows audiences how a survivor’s life is not different from the rest of us.
Another campaign that wanted to give a face was the Donate A Face campaign. It was to raise enough money to fund the medical expenses of acid attack victims. The idea was simple; upload a faceless selfie and donate to the cause. A picture speaks a thousand words took on a different meaning with this campaign.
The attack surely shook them to the core, but it fails to leave a scar on their determination.