PeaceWomen of the Month
PeaceWomen from India
This month, we are featuring not one but five women: Ritu Saini, Chanchal Kumari, Neetu Mahor, Gita Mahor and Rupa, all acid attack survivors, run Sheroes Hangout, a café near the Taj Mahal, Agra, India.
Acid attacks are a form of gender-based violence aimed at silencing and controlling women. In South Asia, disputes over land, inheritance, dowries, and declined marriage proposals often lead to acid violence. Acid attacks are intensely inhuman crimes because the perpetrators plan to disfigure the victims rather than kill them. These attacks make them disfigured, often blinded, and severely traumatized. The lives of many women, deprived of free choice and independence in this way, have been destroyed.
Sheroes Hangout only employs acid attack survivors. It was opened by the StopAcidAttacks team with a mission to provide a safe space for survivors and the community to come and discuss feminism and equal rights. Instead of succumbing to victimhood and staying in hiding, these women have decided to lead a normal life and go to work. Campaigners and survivors are working together to make the café a place where people can meet, have snacks and beverages, read books, buy souvenirs and learn to share their space with acid attack survivors.