Survivors

Using the art of photography for a journey within one self.

A three-week photographic workshop was conducted to engage nine survivors of Acid Violence at the Acid Survivors Foundation (ASF) premises, beginning July 8, 2013, in Islamabad, Pakistan. A workshop model aimed at empowering survivors to describe their internal and external landscapes through the lens.

The goal of the workshop was to train the survivors to use the camera as a tool for personal narrative and emotional catharsis: To use basic functions on the provided cameras to express their trauma, fear, hopes, ambitions and emotions through a visual exploration of their immediate environments.

Participants would, through aesthetic and technical training, begin to see the camera as an extension of their own selves and therefore, document their daily rituals, moods, feelings, recollections and to some scope, the course of overcoming emotional distress.

Participants returned to their hometowns to take photographs of their choice

Diego Ibarra Sánchez ran the workshop with the help of Myra Iqbal and ASF Pakistan.

Survivors

Acids attack is an act of cruel vengeance that permanently disfigures the victims. The burning acid can leave a woman or a man with a heavily disfigured face, unable to eat or swallow properly. The community often shuns victims.

This horrifying form of violence against women and men involves throwing acid, usually sulphuric acid, with the malicious intent to permanently disfigure their faces and body features. Motives are varying, but in general the lack of education promotes these attacks. The perpetrators usually are relatives, rivals, unsuccessful suitors and enemies provoked by property disputes or other disagreements.

Acids attacks have been on a rise in Southern Punjab.  Acids were used in various agricultural areas along the cotton belt of Southern Punjab. Most of the incidents happen in Punjab. The government has taken a commendable step in constituting a law against these inhuman attacks. The Acid Control and Acid Crime Prevention Act 2009 acts as an important tool to safeguard the rights of acid burn survivors and the people of Pakistan in general against atrocious and heinous crimes.

Acid and burn attacks are not exclusive to Pakistan. It is also common practice in Colombia, Bangladesh, India, and other South Asian countries.