Victims of acid attacks in India have taken to the catwalk in a bid to show that scarred women don’t have to hide their faces.
On Saturday, the Make Love Not Scars group enlisted nine women to walk in their first couture show in New Delhi.
Each and every woman who modelled the gorgeous Indian designs had been a victim of an acid attack usually carried out by their husbands or close family members.
What’s most striking is that despite suffering from noticeable scarring, none covered their face.
Mother-of-one Meena Khatoon said she was “very nervous” to be taking part. After having acid thrown at her by her ex-husband, she told AFP “people often looked away when I went outside. They would walk in the opposite direction when they saw me. I would face a lot of problems.”
“But then one day I thought, if that’s the way you think, so be it. I have to build my life, I want my son to study and I have to support him.”
Organisers of the show, Make Love Not Scars, help survivors to reconstruct their faces and wider lives after acid attacks.
Although hundreds of cases are reported in India each year, vice president Tania Singh believes that the number is more likely to be in the thousands.
She said that the fashion show was an important way to boost survivors’ confidence, admitting that many acid attack victims refuse to take off their scarves when they first visit the organisation.
“They say ‘we can’t do it, we are pretty ugly’ and we tell them that’s not true you are not ugly, society is ugly,” she commented, describing the fashion show as “a chance to realise that they deserve acceptance, love and belonging.”
“Now they can go back out there and they can tell the world that they don’t have to hide their faces and scars. It is the world that needs to change its thinking.”
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