ACID ATTACK “HER DESTINY”

She turned to look at a boy riding by on a motorcycle – and her parents killed her for bringing dishonor on the family.

Now arrested and facing charges, the parents, from the Pakistani-controlled Kashmir region, told the BBC in an interview that it was their daughter’s “destiny” to die in this way.

“There was a boy who came by on a motorcycle.” The father told the BBC from his prison cell. “She (Anusha) turned to look at him twice. I told her before not to do that, it’s wrong.

“People talk about us because our older daughter was the same way,” he said.

 

 width=Pakistani parents jailed for killing their 15 year-old daughter. Image via bbc.co.uk.

 

Her mother Zaheen described the aftermath: “She said ‘I didn’t do it on purpose. I won’t look again.’ By then I had already thrown the acid. It was her destiny to die this way.”

Anusha’s father is reported to have taken his daughter inside, beaten her and then acid was poured over her with the help of his wife. Officials say that the couple did not take their daughter to hospital until the following morning.

The couple say that an older daughter had already disgraced the family and they did not want to be dishonoured again.

By the time Anusha was taken to hospital she was suffering burns to more than 60 percent of her body.

Police say this is one of the first cases of its kind in Pakistani-administered Kashmir, where such killings are relatively rare.

Tragically, honour killings are not rare in other parts of Pakistan.

According to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, at least 943 women were killed in the name of family honour last year. This is reported to be an increase of 100 on the previous year.

Only 20 of those women and girls were given medical care before they died, the report said. The real toll is believed to be higher because many of the crimes go unreported.

In “honour killings” women and girls – and to a lesser degree the men involved with them – are  killed by members of their own family when it is perceived they have brought shame and dishonour on their families for “crimes” generally regarding their sexual freedom and moral conduct.

 

 width=A 24 year-old woman in hospital having survived an acid attack. Image by AP, via HuffPost.

 

It was only in March this year that the government of Pakistani-administered Kashmir made acid attacks a criminal offence punishable with life imprisonment.

This is some sort of progress at least, as previously honour killings were committed with impunity, according to the Asian Human Rights Commission.

 

What can you do to help? You can join Human Rights Watch, or an organisation like Equality Now to help combat violations against women and girls. You can also get involved in the Half The Sky movement, which crusades against gender-based violence around the world.

 

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