Thursday, March 5, 2009


I've seen pictures of women who have been disfigured with acid before. Even without pictures, this form of abusing women who transgress--by leaving their husbands, or refusing to marry a particular man, or daring to get a higher education--has always shaken me especially deeply. It's not the kind of thing you can call a crime of passion, and it has always seemed just so especially, vehemently, inherently vindictive (it's ridiculous to say "There are so many nicer ways to oppress the women in your life!" but that's sometimes how I feel) that I physically recoil when the topic comes up.

But I have seen pictures before, and physically recoiled--not in horror at a freakshow but in rejection, confusion, and pain at the men (it's always men) who could do such things. To anyone.

Today, Sullivan's Face of the Day is a woman who was blinded by a "spurned suitor" with acid.

Her assailant was sentenced to the same fate by the Iranian court that heard her case.

I don't have anything intelligent to say about this. On the one hand, more needlessly disabled and disfigured people in the world is not good. On the other, I was surprised when I read the verdict primarily not because of the sentence but because I was amazed the court cared at all. I had more or less assumed that justice would go unserved, as it usually does in cases of violence against women no matter where you are, let alone in Iran. I find myself taking a certain grim satisfaction that he has been sentenced to anything even as I recognize that this particular verdict might not be the most enlightened way to go about things.

But sometimes it's hard to be enlightened. Having gotten past the several minutes I spent physically recovering from my reaction to what was done to Ameneh Bahrami here, I'm not so much upset or angry as I am grim. I want to say something like "This has to stop" but I have no idea what to do to make that happen, and I'm not a fan of spouting Activisty Talk with nothing to back it up and no particular goal. I just wanted to put a reminder out there that this goes on, I guess. It happens fairly frequently in India, Pakistan, and the Middle East.

And that the methods of abuse are different in some other places does not make those places safer; it does not make the places where acid is used more depraved or less safe than the places where gang rape or setting women on fire are more common tools. It's all the same, bloody thing.

Some days I just don't know what to say.

No comments:

Post a Comment