Acid Violence, also called Acid Attacking, is a comparatively recent form of violence, aimed mainly at women.
These attacks are currently most common in Cambodia, Afghanistan, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and in roughly 80% of cases are directed at women, mainly young women. In southeast Asia, such attacks have often been directed at women who refuse marital or sexual advances, or who have broken off relationships with men. In Afghanistan attacks have been carried out against women who dress immodestly or who attend school. In Pakistan, such attacks have increased dramatically in recent years, often carried out by husbands and brothers who felt a woman had dishonoured them. Despite the religious justification given by attackers in Islamic countries, permanent disfigurement by acid under any circumstances is NOT endorsed by the Quran. Or the Bible.
In some cases, the attacks have been carried out by women against other women, of whom they were jealous.
Once you've decided that hideously violating another human being is an acceptable practice, acid becomes a good choice. In many countries, acid is cheaply and legally available. It can cause permanent disfigurement, often dissolving bone. Acid is chosen specifically to destroy a women's physical beauty, often a flashpoint for jealousy, sexual attraction, or repressed perversion masquerading as concern for modesty. Of course, it may also cause blindness and other serious physical disabilities.
Countries where such attacks have increased have passed laws to combat the practice, but the laws have not been uniformly enforced. Pakistan has introduced life sentences for people who commit acid attacks. Bangladesh has introduced the death penalty, though the Bangladesh National Women Lawyers Association has complained that the law has not been enforced. Iran once sentenced an attacker who blinded his victim to be blinded himself by the same means, in an eye for an eye sort of an arrangement, but the victim forgave her attacker and the sentence was not carried out.
In the west, the most famous acid attack victim is UK actress and model Katie Piper. In 2008, a man she briefly dated, Daniel Lynch, and his friend, Stefan Sylvestre, threw sulfuric acid in her face, leaving her disfigured, blind in one eye, and unable to swallow normally. Her attackers were convicted and sentenced to life in prison. The incident became the subject of a documentary, Katie: My Beautiful Face. Piper went on to become a spokeswoman for those violated in this manner, and she has worked extensively with charitable organizations.
Groups have formed in the wake of such attacks, including the internationally-organized Acid Survivors Trust International, which tries to increase awareness of the hideous crime and provide treatment and legal help to survivors. As with more traditional violent practices like spousal abuse and Female Genital Mutilation, many people in countries where acid violence has developed work against it, but they sometimes face indifference or opposition.
Of course, given the fact that this type of activity has been more common outside of the Western world (though, by no means, exclusive to any particular culture), we in the West must, of course, regard it, of course, as a new, developing cultural expression and we must be careful how we discuss the topic. Clearly, we should avoid statements or language that might be interpreted as a value judgment on the practice of permanently disfiguring someone by angrily throwing burning chemicals in their face. Indeed, while I posted this write-up under Acid Violence, it seems it should be retitled Acid Modification or Acid Throwing since Acid Violence is pejorative, and people who practice this do not see themselves as engaging in inappropriate activity, but in activity which, as many Acid Modifiers see it, represents a legitimate expression of hostility towards women who have stepped outside of time-honoured, culturally-proscribed boundaries.
Statistical-type references from wiki.