The organization Make Love Not Scars is sharing the stories of acid attack survivors

A quickly-growing organization is bringing awareness to the issue of acid attacks through enabling survivors of acid attacks to share their stories.

Occurring in India in particular, acid attacks are a form of gender-based violence, made more common by the cultural acceptance (in some areas) and the ease of buying acid. The organization is Make Love Not Scars, and through their online presence they feature pictures and stories from many survivors of acid attacks. According to Make Love Not Scars, their website “will have an active, survivor-centric, dynamic page for each survivor, where they themselves post about their life’s events through video-blogs.  This goes with our concept of looking at survivors of violence as special, unique individuals with stories to tell and talents to showcase.”

Make Love Not Scars is also working to found an NGO that will identify “cases of acid attack and other forms of gender-based violence and help in providing emergency medical and legal assistance as required; support in the rehabilitation of survivors…through need-based training and assistance for stable employment; [and] actively work with the government, other non-government organizations, the media and other social institutions to campaign against acid attacks and other forms of gender-based violence and help in bringing a “new normal” in society, where such acts are seen as archaic and condemnable.” They have made progress towards creating the NGO, beginning with the establishment of core members who will form their governing body.

In addition, Make Love Not Scars acts as a support group for survivors of acid attacks and works to tell the survivors’ stories through “paintings, music, video documentaries, short films etc. [that] can be showcased on the website.”

The series, Beauty tips by Reshma, is one example of assisting the survivors in telling their stories. The jarring combination of make-up tutorials done by a survivor of an acid-attack is utilized to highlight the absurd availability of acid for purchase in India. The videos in the series have titles such as How to get rid of dark spots naturally, How to apply eyeliner, and How to get perfect red lips, and the videos illustrate the fact that buying acid is as easy as buying make-up products, and call the viewers to take action.

Make Love Not Scars is working on a petition which will #EndAcidSale and “make acid unavailable to the common man.” Acid attacks are a serious issue, and, as the majority of them target women and are often perpetrated by the victim’s husband or boyfriend, prove that gender-based crime is real and needs to end. These horrifying crimes have ruined lives, yet the survivors of acid attacks who are sharing their stories through Make Love Not Scars are proving that they are not defeated, and that they are taking their future into their own hands.

Make Love Not Scars accepts donations and has an online petition to end the sale of acid. If you would like to learn more about the issue of acid attacks, you can also check out the BBC article, “How Many Acid Attacks Are There?”

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Emily Pate is a third-year student at Seattle University interested in Strategic Communications, learning Spanish, and working with non-profits. Her work for Rooted In Rights is focused on discussing current events in the community of people with disabilities. Her experience previous to Rooted In Rights includes writing broadcasts for KBOO radio in Portland, OR, and managing a neighborhood blog in the Seattle community. In addition to work, Emily enjoys drawing, spending time with her friends and family, and backpacking.