Created: 11/16/01

Updated: 07/09/08

Acid Burning

Hundreds of women in many countries have been burned with acid, usually in the face, for dishonoring a man. This could be because she rejected his marriage propasal, or accused him of raping her. It doesn't matter if she is a child, many children have been scarred as well. It helps to understand these men's reasoning behind burning a woman's face. In many countries, the father must pay a dowry to the prospective husband. This varies as to how much the woman is "worth". If a man's marriage proposal is denied, he will suffer financially and will also be humiliated. By burning the woman, he is ensuring that she will be worthless, at least where money is concerned.

Actually, a woman can be burned for any reason and the man is almost never prosecuted. It is a somewhat acceptable practice in many places. There have been many women who have been burned in a case of mistaken identity. Sometimes a man will burn the faces of his enemy's wife and daughters as a way of getting even.

This atrocity is most common in Bangladesh and Afghanistan, where women have no value as human beings. The only value a woman carries in these countries is how much dowry her father can pay for an accepted marriage proposal. Sulphuric acid is the most widely used and very readily available, costing only sixty cents a bottle. Hydrochloric acid is also used in some cases. As these countries are very poor, little, if any, treatment is available to these horribly scarred women. It is reported that Bangladesh has only five burn centers and the vast majority of burned women couldn't afford treatments anyway.

Increasingly, men have begun attacking their wives for such minor offenses as not having dinner ready or not having sex. This is believed to be attributed to the fact that women are gaining independence in cultures where they were formerly repressed. Many organizations are providing loans to women who want to start a small business and increase their social standing. Men are put off by this and risk losing control over their women.

Maybe the most ironic thing is that though these men are fighting for control over the women, most of the attacks occur while the woman is asleep. This shows an obvious lack of courage on their part, as they cannot even face the woman while he does it. Since many women in the family often share a bed, it is common for one attack to yield two, three, or even four victims. Most men are never prosecuted for committing this heinous crime against women.