She was all of 30 that Tuesday morning in December. A young doctor on her way to work, she had no idea that her life was going to change forever.
They came at her on a motorcycle. One grabbed her handbag while the other emptied out the contents of a syringe in her face. The liquid ate through her skin before she could muster the strength to call for help. Things would never be the same.
A report on the Reproductive Health Manual says that about 91,000 women die of burn injuries annually in India. The National Family Health Survey estimates that 12 lakh women have suffered from burn injuries as a consequence of domestic violence.
Most acid attacks have been acts of revenge by men or their families on women. And while the Supreme Court of India has time and again banned the sale of acid over the counter, sales are in free flow. India has the highest incidence of acid attacks in the world!
The International Foundation for Crime Prevention & Victim Care (PCVC), a Chennai-based not-for-profit, has, in its flagship program, Vidiyal (meaning dawn in Tamil), helped many burn victims see the light of day.
Since 2003, it has been providing physical, psycho-social and economic rehabilitation for women survivors of acid attacks, burns and domestic violence.
Burning (from acid, kerosene, gas, alcohol) is one of the most horrific forms of violence against women/girls. It leads to severe deformities, often leading to partial or complete disabilities. Many women succumb because of inadequate, unresponsive support services, overwhelmed by more than just physical injury.
Every month, 80-100 burn victims are admitted to PCVC’s recovery and rehabilitation centre in Chennai. Since 2006, PCVC has offered support to nearly 4,500 such survivors. Currently, the recovery and rehabilitation centre has 10 survivors.
The survivors need extensive physiotherapy for over seven hours a day, pressure garments to prevent scar formations and contractures which restrict movement of the bones, leading to a complete lack of movement at the joints.
Sadly, these pressure garments are made from special spandex material not readily available in India, which makes them highly expensive. This, added to the multiple surgeries, specific dietary requirements and other expenditures, means that PCVC needs a lot of help.
You can make a difference with your donation. Your donation will take PCVC a long way in helping burn survivors this year.