Monira Rahman was born in Bangladesh in 1966. She received her master’s degree in philosophy and later went on to work as a social worker for “Concern Bangladesh”, an organization that challenges poverty and inequality. Early on, Rahman was shocked by the amount and the severity of acid attacks on women throughout the country. She started working for the women’s rights organization “Nari Pokkho” and then joined the “Acid Survivor’s Foundation” in 1998, which she has been Executive Director of since 2002. She is also a member of the National Acid Control Council, where she works rigorously with the government to adopt legislation punishing acid attacks. In her function as Executive Director of the “Acid Survivor’s Foundation”, she addresses acid violence issues in Bangladesh and raises awareness for the situation and the victims.
The “Acid Survivor’s Foundation” currently has eighty employees. In addition to addressing acid violence issues, coordinating rallies and protests and helping raise funds, the Foundation offers survivor support programs. These include, beside medical services, psychological and legal support, as well as encouragement and assistance with reintegrating into society. The Foundation opened a hospital in Bangladesh’s capital, Dakha, with a total of twenty beds. Roughly 700 to 800 victims receive treatment in the clinic each year. Most of the victims are women and children who refused sexual advances or marriage proposals. Rahman describes the reason for acid attacks as follows: “If I take this beauty away from a girl, then no one will marry her. So if this girl is not mine, she will not be anyone else’s.” She further explains that the reason for acid attacks lies in the patriarchal mindset of the Bangladeshi society. Ruining the “worth” a woman ultimately results in social stigmatization and exclusion.
Acid is easily accessible as it is used in the textile industry and in jewelry manufacturing. Not only is it very cheap, but also available in great quantities – and it is very harmful. Acid corrodes skin right down to the bones and leads to terrible burns and blindness when coming into contact with the eyes. The “Acid Survivor’s Foundation” has statistics which show that one acid attack happens every two days in Bangladesh. Monira Rahman has successfully lobbied for anti-acid legislation, which makes it harder to purchase acid. Another bill passed makes acid attacks punishable by law, and thus makes it easier to press charges. Yet she says there are other problems with the acid laws, given the fact that many attacks are made on the victims by their own family members. Victims often refrain from pressing charges against the perpetrator, as acid attackers, if convicted, often face the death penalty.
Monira Rahman and the “Acid Survivor’s Foundation” fight for reintegration and acceptance of victims in society, but have also set an ambitious goal: To end all acid attacks in Bangladesh by 2015.Hint to use Comments / Hinweis zur Kommentarnutzung You can use your Twitter- or Facebookaccount to comment on this Page Du kannst Deinen Twitter- oder Facebook-Account verwenden, um auf dieser Seite zu kommentieren