Redefining Beauty through Acid Attack Survivors
Bangladesh hosted a fashion show with a difference to mark International Women’s Day, featuring 15 confident catwalk models fighting to overcome the trauma of acid attacks.
British charity ActionAid, hosted the show called “Beauty Redefined” on Tuesday night in the country’s capital, where acid attack survivors showed their inner strength.
Such horrific violence across South Asia is often prompted by insufficient dowries, rejection of advances or land disputes, disfiguring victims for life and ruining their prospects.
The models included three men who walked the catwalk, danced and sang, showcasing woven handloom Bangladeshi designs by local designer Bibi Russel.
“This is something really close to my heart,” designer Bibi Russell said. “I want them to have recognition. Let them have life as a part of this world.”
Sonali Khatun, 13, who had acid thrown on her face when she was just 17 days old over a family property dispute. She led Tuesday night’s parade, drawing lots of claps when she told the audience that she aspires to be a doctor.
Asma Khatun, a former model whose dreams were shattered when attackers poured acid over her four-member family, including her one-year-old daughter, while they were asleep, again because of a land dispute. She said the perpetrators were never caught, and that her family is still enduring hardships.
Ganga Dasi, 40, had acid thrown on her face at the age of 17 after she refused a marriage proposal.
Farah Kabir, Bangladesh country director of British charity ActionAid, said the girls and women have come a long way.
In 2002, Bangladesh passed laws restricting the import and sale of acid and imposing the death penalty for acid throwers.