Acid Attacks Are A Protest Of Misplaced Patriarchal Entitlement

This macabre way of dealing with rejection leaves one feeling vulnerable and completely debilitated in the systematic violence meted out against women.

Mohua Chinappa
New Update
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Why are acid violence survivors in India, Bangladesh and neighbouring counties mainly women? Is this the protest of patriarchy when things don’t go their way?

When acid is thrown on a woman’s face, it is to prove that the perpetrator is extremely angry and the only revenge that can be sought, is to destroy her forever.

In acid violence, the man marks his rejection by throwing acid on his lover, girlfriend or wife. Often such perpetrators think that, it is their birthright and the only way to profess their extreme love and possession for the woman they covet.  The understanding is, that if she can’t be his, she can’t belong or be anyone else’s too.

Acid Attacks and patriarchy

Often it is the unchecked rage and entitlement that the perpetrator feels towards destroying the girl’s life forever, without thinking of the consequences ahead.

The recent case of the 17-year-old girl in Delhi who was allegedly acid attacked by her jilted boyfriend, leaves us wondering about the mindset of such perpetrators. Also the big questions that arises is why do big e-commerce companies sell acids, without enough verification of the buyers.

As per NCRB data, in the last five years there were 1,362 acid attack cases on women that was registered in the country.  With this alarming rise in such heinous cases, acid sales must be automatically banned in India. Yet sales continue even now.


The 17 year old girl has lost her eyesight and her face forever, for having the audacity to break up with her boyfriend. Onlookers said, her eyes and head were lit up immediately and smoke began emanating from her head. They poured buckets of water, to no avail.

This macabre way of dealing with rejection leaves one feeling vulnerable and completely debilitated in the systematic violence meted out against women.

Suggested Reading:

One Acid Attack And Life Changes Forever…. Why Is Acid Violence So Common?



Will the government seek answers from these online marketing giants, for the sale of acids, is to be seen now.

Rashmi (name changed) who is a survivor of marital violence and is based out of Chennai, said: “My ex husband used to drink a lot and get aggressive with me. He often threatened to pour acid on me, if I said that I wanted to leave him. His anger often hit the roof. This was frightening for me. But once his anger subsided, he made me believe that it was his love for me, that made him feel insecure. I believed this for long, but finally I couldn’t take it anymore, so I hoodwinked him and left my home one evening, when he was away drinking. He continued to threaten me over phone calls. But over time he lost interest in me, as he found another partner. Even today, I shudder when I recall the days with him. I pray for the other girl, that she remains safe and is not burnt already.”

Justice for acid attack survivors are often a long drawn emotional battle that many complainants give up during the fight. The struggle with the changed life and the costs towards treating the burn injuries, isn’t affordable for many in India. Some victims learn to live an extremely harsh life with a scarred face and sometimes other burnt body parts and some fortunately succumb to the injuries, reducing the trauma on herself and her loved ones.

Acid violence against women is done because the perpetrators have a notion of ownership over a woman’s body and her actions. By doing this act, they destroy the girls chance to marriage and employment forever.

Societal outage for such dastardly acts against women must be heard louder than before, so that men are not permitted to think they can get away with this behaviour.

Mohua Chinappa is an author and a podcaster of a show called The Mohua Show. The views are the author's own.

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