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Saturday, July 14, 2012

How to destroy a woman

Taslima Nasreen has a horrifying post up at No Country for Women on individual cases of women attacked with acid in different countries. It includes a lot of photos, so be forewarned. Each woman had acid thrown in her face, with the result of being disfigured beyond recognition and often losing sight in one or both eyes and even the eyes themselves, resulting in a person who barely looks human any longer. Why does this happen? Nasreen writes:
Men throw acid on us with the intention of injuring and disfiguring us. Men throw acid on our bodies, burn our faces, smash our noses, melt our eyes, and walk away as happy men. 
Acid attack is common in Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Afghanistan, Nepal, Cambodia, and a few other countries. Men throw acid on us because men are angry with us for refusing sexual harassment, sexual exploitation, proposals of marriage, demands for dowry, for attending schools, for not wearing Islamic veils, for not behaving well, for speaking too much, for laughing loudly and for pure fun.
Nasreen's post is titled "Our men throw acid in our faces, destroy our lives but we never stop loving men."

The aim, as she says, is to disfigure. You can gravely injure anyone by throwing acid on them, of course, but these attacks specifically for women are to mar her face and make her ugly-- beyond ugly; monstrous and frightening. Her primary worth is her beauty, therefore to destroy that is to destroy her. In so doing, you also destroy her family through the burdens of caring for her health, her chances of having gainful employment, her social status since she is now an outcast...you have taken everything from her. Every one of these attacks is motivated by sheer misogyny-- a feeling of resentment for women who do not conduct themselves as desired, for refusing to obey, for simply being women. For this, their faces have literally been melted and their entire existence turned to suffering.

A handful of face transplant surgeries have occurred recently, most notably Isabelle Dinoire in France and Charla Nash and Dallas Wiens in the United States. In each of their cases the disfigurement was the result of an accident, and each was lucky enough to live in a country with advanced medical care and the opportunity to radically improve-- though not completely fix-- his or her appearance and physical functioning. The women who are attacked by acid have no similar opportunity in their countries. They are pariahs not only within their own societies, but in their world.

Nasreen concludes:
We are more abused, harassed, exploited, kidnapped, raped, trafficked, murdered by our lovers, husbands, fathers, brothers, uncles, cousins, friends, or men we know well than by strangers. Whatever happens to us, we never stop loving men.

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