ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – Acid attacks, are a heinous crime in which the perpetrator seeks to deliberately maim or kill their victim with acid so that they suffer horrendously in the short-term, and if they survive, must suffer the further indignity of being horribly disfigured.
These attacks are most common in Cambodia, Afghanistan, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and other nearby countries. Globally, at least 1500 people in 20 countries are attacked in this way yearly, 80% of whom are female and somewhere between 40% and 70% under 18 years of age. (Source: Wikipedia)
The recent assassination attempt of the Pakistani heroine, Malalai Yousafzi, galvanized Pakistanis who took to the streets in an unprecedented demonstration of support for Malalai. The nation and the world was swift and vociferous in the condemnation of the perpetrators, and this watershed moment seemed to mark a desire by the citizens of the country to stand up for the rights of Pakistani women and girls.
It was therefore disconcerting to learn of the murder of a young Pakistani girl who was targeted simply because she was speaking to a boy. Unlike Malalai, who was targeted by the Taliban for advocating for access to education for Pakistani girls, the young 16-year old girl who lost her life today, was victimized for no other reason than she happened to speak to a boy in front of her home.
She was the victim of an 'honor killing,' which is the murder of a girl or woman by relatives, because they perceive her actions as having brought dishonor to the family.
According to Reuters, the girl’s parents poured acid on her face and body. In this case, as in others, the mother was the main perpetrator, though usually it is a male relative who initiates and carries out honor killings.
Unlike the acid attack victim pictured above, the young 16-year old did not survive the ‘third-degree burns on her scalp, face, eyes, nostrils, arms, chest foot and lower part of legs. According to the doctors who tried to save her life, even her scalp bone was exposed.’ (Source: Reuters)
The parents in this case have been arrested, which is unlike many cases in Asia in which the perpetrators often escape justice. In many cases the murder is viewed as a private family matter and in some conservative communities the practice is tacitly condoned.