The most beautiful people I’ve known are those who have known trials, have known struggles, have known loss, and have found their way out of the depths, said Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.
This holds true for 14-year-old Dolly, an acid attack survivor who has now found a way to gain back her confidence and her will to live.
According to a Times of India report, she has penned an open letter to her attacker which reads:
“You and your family say you want to marry me. You keep on giving false statements in court… Since the day of attack, I imprisoned myself. You don’t have a clue how I coped. My elder sisters stopped going to school, got married early. I stopped studying. I kept thinking it was all my fault. I forgive you. In the past, sometimes, I have wondered how it would be to empty a full bottle of acid on you. My hands would tremble… You burnt my face, but not my will to live. You can’t throw acid on that. I will fight this case in court, not only for myself but for other girls, so they do not lose their courage before people like you.”
Her attacker, Pradeep who is currently in jail worked as a carpenter in her neighborhood. After unsuccessfully trying to lure the then class four student into engaging in a sexual relationship with him, he proceeded to throw acid on her face.
More and more women survivors of this heinous and sadistic crime are only just starting to speak out. The Sheroes Hangout in Agra, doubles up as a cafe and an activism workshop, a community radio hub, and an exhibit space, where girls like Dolly are empowered to go on with their lives.
On 24 December last year, thousands of acid attack survivors from across the country were sitting on an indefinite hunger strike at Jantar Mantar in Delhi, asking the government to regulate the open sale of acid.
First respondents unfortunately do not know the appropriate measure in case of acid attacks. With stricter laws and community training we can reduce these attacks to a great extent,” said Alok Dixit, the founder of the NGO Stop Acid Attacks told the Indian Express.
Dolly plans on going back to school and completely her education and provides hope to the thousands of women whose faces were used to settle scores.
Despite a Supreme Court ban on the sale of acid in 2013, it can still be easily purchased in many parts of the country.