Rekha(20) is a young woman from Haveri, Karnataka. She got married to Vineet (name changed), her second husband, in 2011. Vineet is a taxi driver working in Bangalore and Rekha moved in with him. They took up a rented accommodation in Electronic City, Bangalore. Their married life was fine initially, but Rekha later realised that Vineet had a drinking habit and would often come home drunk and insult and beat her.
Unhappy with his drinking habit and beatings, Rekha told Vineet that she would move back to her village in Haveri. Vineet said he would never let her leave him and threatened her that he will destroy her. She didn’t take the threat seriously then, thinking that he had said it under the influence of alcohol.
On 2nd October 2013 –Rekha was sleeping with her daughter, who is just two-and-a-half years old, in their house. Vineet came in the morning at around 4.30 am. Rekha did not know that he was carrying a bottle of acid from his car’s battery. He came to where Rekha was sleeping and poured a little of the fuming acid on her head. When Rekha got up in shock and pain, he poured the rest of the acid all over her.
Rekha was initially treated at the district hospital in Haveri, where she could not be provided with specialised treatment and care required for cases of acid attack. She was shifted to a charitable based private hospital where she underwent her first round of surgeries. A few months after the attack Rekha’ss parents passed away leaving her completely alone with no support from her brother and sister.
After her first round of surgeries Rekha went back to her village to rest, but soon slipped into a deep depression and all of her wounds from the previous surgeries became infected. The doctors are not being able to perform any surgeries due to her mental instability and she needs these surgeries to reduce the risk of a fatal infection.
We were informed today that Rekha has now been diagnosed with the following-
• Wounds on her head and face are infected
• Her food pipe and intestines have become ulcerated
• She is suffering from jaundice
• She has blood discharge in her urine, indicating infection in her kidney or uterus (she was pregnant at the time of the attack, and the foetus got aborted due to the shock following the attack)
• She is suffering from mental depression and instability
Acid attack survivors are entitled to government compensation which is said to be released in the first 15 days of the attack. The compensation payable by the State Government under section 357A shall be in addition to the payment of fine to the victim under section 326A or section 376D of the Indian Penal Code.
The chairperson of the state women’s commission has visited Rekha, but sadly she is yet to get even a single rupee of help from the state government, even a year and half after the acid attack.
Where is her compensation? Where are the funds that could help us get her quality treatment and trauma counselling that could have been beneficial in avoiding her present state? Its been a year and a half and now Rekha is fighting for her life. No girl should have to ever be in such a position.
Ria Sharma, Founder- Make Love Not Scars and The Logical Indian are putting all their efforts to make life of these survivors, slightly better. Join us in our efforts, we need your help! We are coming up with a follow-up post on the same.