Nazanin Hafez

Acid attack is a crime that occurs especially in developing countries where gender gap, discrimination and violence against women are more prevalent. In the meantime, many have fallen victim; they live in silence and isolation with fear, and they live with the pain and suffering caused by acid burns. In addition to deep and persistent physical damages such as loss of face and vision, acid attack causes permanent psychological damages such as depression, anxiety, disorder and suicide.

In Iran, a large proportion of victims are women, who in most cases are victims of domestic violence. The purpose of the acid attack is to isolate and eliminate the presence of women in society and to leave a lifetime of suffering from burns. Unfortunately, due to the lack of appropriate punishment for crime in Iran and easy access to acid (from online stores to pharmacies), the number of acid attacks is increasing.

Leila was an accountant at a clinic who was acid-attacked by the clinic housekeeper before she arrived at work just four days before her last working day. Unlike many acid attacks, Leila’s story has no romance and Leila still does not know exactly why the clinic housekeeper did this to her.

Ever since this happened, laughter has hardly come to Leila’s lips. It has become difficult for her to go out because she cannot stand the humiliating looks of others and the reproachful questions of others: “What did you do to make this happen to you?” Her whole life is tied to the nightmares of that accident. She stays at home and leaves the house only for treatment, and all her communication with her friends is through virtual networks. However, she does not want this happen to anyone anymore: “I want to try not to let any woman stay at home in the future for the fear of acid attack.” Now Leila knows the difference between the words of “humanity” and “woman” better: “I will become stronger Leila.” Leila does not consider herself a victim or any of the women who had similar experiences: “We are not victims. Do not choose the word victim for me and the women of my country. The victim is the acid attacker who has fallen victim to his greediness and unconscionable conduct.”

Nazanin Hafez © 2022