My name is Farida. I am 4o years old and live at my sister's house in Manikgang in Bangladesh. My husband was a drug addict and a gambler. He lost so much money that he had to sell our house.
I was furious and told him that I would leave him. So that night, when I was asleep, he threw acid at me and locked the door with two locks. My whole body started to burn and I fell off the bed onto my son, who was sleeping on the floor. I was screaming so loudly that the neighbours came running over. They had to break open the door. It was dark inside and all they could see was a black mark on the bed. So their first thought was that my husband had chopped off my head. But then my son, he was five years old, told them that I was on the floor. This was 16 years ago.
I was in hospital for six months. It was unbearable. One of my eyes was sealed, the other eye was melted and my nose was gone. When I ate, the rice came out through the holes in my cheek. I had gangrene. If they did not bathe me and change my bandages every day, it would stink. I was screaming with pain. My family is poor and my father had to sell his land to pay for my treatment. At times I was starving hungry. When I was released from hospital and came back home, I stayed in bed under the mosquito net day in, day out. This went on for almost three years. When people came to visit, they were scared of me. It was unbearable to look at me. I wanted to commit suicide twice, but I stopped myself for my son's sake. His happiness is my happiness. I am a mum, I have to carry on living for him. My son always stood by me.
Thanks to some operations provided by the Bangladesh Acid Survivors Foundation, I am better now. The contractions and the pain have eased. I also look better. But I still do not like meeting people. When they hear that my husband threw acid at me, they immediately assume that I am a bad person. The society is so cruel, people always point their finger at women. I am the victim, but the society is accusing me of something that I never did. This is why I wear a burka, to avoid the questions and stares.
My husband was jailed for twelve years. When he was released, he threatened to attack me again. But my neighbours drove him away. Why do men throw acid at us? What's wrong? If they do not want to live with us, then they should leave us or tell us to go away. They can beat us or even break a hand. The hand can be mended. But what they do is really un-imaginable. I want at least one perpetrator to be hanged in public. I know this is very cruel. But we have to sacrifice one life to teach the males and the nation a lesson. To show what you will get, if you do things like that. The perpetrators get away with it. The judiciary, the state and the police are on their side. But victims like me are suffering, struggling, fighting for justice.
I have lost everything, not only my body. I have lost my dignity. I depend on others. I can not live like a normal human being. This is not a life any more. No one accepts me the way I am. I want to live in dignity. I don't want anybody to have pity on me.”
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