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Inspirational: Reshma Quereshi walks New York Fashion Week

In 2014, 349 cases of acid attacks were reported in India. A 17 year old girl, Reshma Quereshi was one of them. Victims of acid attacks in India are usually young women and girls, who have refused sexual advances from older men, or disobeyed certain rules imposed by their male family members. Quereshi was attacked by her brother in law after he had made various attempts to harass her and her sister. What is shocking, is that many people stood aside watching the barbaric acts inflicted on Quereshi, yet no one came to help her. It was only in 2013 that Indian criminal law began to recognise acid attacks as a serious and separate offence. However, while Quereshi must live with her permanently scarred face, the perpetrators walk free today. Acid attacks are used to publicly humiliate these young women. They assume that by taking away their beauty, they are taking away their lives and any possibility of a good future. Many survivors slip into depression and experience suicidal thoughts every day. 

(Photo Credit: www.dailymail.co.uk)

However, despite being exposed to these emotional traumas, Quereshi has used her scars to promote awareness of acid attacks to the world. Teaming up with the Make Love Not Scars organisation, Quereshi has created beauty videos that share light tips on how to apply makeup, but most importantly, raise awareness of acid sale in India. Astonishingly, a litre of concentrated acid is cheaper to buy than a 9ml eyeliner. Acid can be bought and sold very easily in India for such a low price, despite the fact that it has been used as a terrible weapon in gender based violence. Many campaigns have been set up in order to stop this “over the counter” sale of acid although unfortunately, these have been ignored. 

(Photo Credit: www.dailymail.co.uk)

Quereshi has not stopped here. In fact, she walked the runway during New York Fashion Week this year. An amazingly brave move from such an inspiring woman considering many acid attack survivors refuse to leave their homes. Quereshi knew this and hoped that her appearance on the catwalk would show other survivors that they don’t need to hide away, but live their lives freely. She has also gone on to say: “I have learnt that beauty does not just come from your face and looks. If you believe in yourself – you will be beautiful.” By participating in beauty campaigns and catwalks in the most prestigious events in fashion, Reshma Quereshi has not only brought courage and hope to survivors of acid attacks, but a knowledge that no one can throw acid on the beauty that comes from within a person. 

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