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Freedom from Sexual Violence

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“Eye for an Eye Makes the Whole World Blind:” What Happens Next?

“Eye for an Eye Makes the Whole World Blind:” What Happens Next?

The struggle of a woman who sought retribution after a man blinded her with acid.

By Samantha Wickramasinghe, CCASA Blogger

Imagine how you would feel if someone threw acid on your face because you did not want to marry that person.

Imagine how you would feel if someone threw acid in your face because you wanted autonomy and your choices to be respected.

In 2004 a man threw acid on Ameneh Bahrami, a young woman lived in Teheran, Iran because she had refused to marry him. The acid attack blinded and disfigured Bahrami, changing her life forever.

In retaliation Bahrami sought a unique form of justice from the Iranian courts under the Sharia Law that allowed her to blind the attacker with acid. In other words, Bahrami wanted to punish the attacker with an “eye for an eye” type of justice. After years of hard work, she obtained the permission from the courts to blind her attacker with acid, but things did not happen how she intended.

At the last moment, just before blinding the attacker, she pardoned him. Instead of retribution, Bahrami requested financial compensations from her attacker that she needed for her treatments and surgeries. However, she has not been paid her compensations and the man who attacked her has been released from the jail. These consequences have made Bahrami wonder whether she made the correct decision, pardoning her attacker. After all, acid attacks against women in Iran have not ended, and the people have protested on the streets to call the attention of the authorities.

Bahrami’s story opens so many debates about the way we should respond to these heinous attacks. Essentially, her story teaches us that silence is not the way to battle acid attacks that are intended to victimize and control women.

Women throughout world face acid attacks because they are born female and want to have more autonomy in their lives. Women like Bahrami, who have the courage and spirt to fight injustice, will make the world a better place. However, the world would be a better place if these attacks did not happen in the first place.

Image Credit: http://i.guim.co.uk/static/w-620/h--/q-95/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2015/4/15/1429095681444/ad00d71f-4745-43c7-b3cb-1cf6b07a3641-620x372.jpeg
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