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A mundane story of another acid attack

What are the things that you worry about when you leave your house? 

Probably the traffic? 

Or reaching late? 

Maybe the pollution? 

Or eve-teasing? 

How many of us worry about getting attacked? 

How many of us worry about our entire life changing in the matter of minutes? 

How many of us worry about ending up in a hospital bed? 

“An unidentified person has attacked a young woman with acid in Sitapaila, Kathmandu.” 

A news report that shook me to my core. But, it is not an unusual news, right? We get news like this every so often that we have become accustomed to it. 

Women getting raped. 

Burned for dowry. 

Acid thrown on her for saying no. 

So common! Mundane. 

This ‘common’ news was about a 22-year-old girl. The girl before that was 16 years old. Sometimes even younger. Sometimes older. Nepal averages around 40 acid attacks per year. 

Their mistake? 

They said no. Or rejected someone. Probably ignored someone. Hurt someone, maybe. 

A mistake so big, the verdict is to destroy her face and subject her to a lifetime of unprecedented struggles, hardships and pain.

The question of why the attacker did it becomes the hot topic as soon as we hear the news. 

Why did he do that? 

What did SHE do to make him do that? 

There must be a reason! 

Well, there is a reason. I have a reason and it has nothing to do with that girl did or say.

According to psychotherapist Jaime Gleicher, 

“Men have been taught since the earliest of times to protect their masculinity. When they’re rejected, they associate it with their masculinity. When that’s threatened by an outside source, they tend to fight for it—also as a way to re-prove their manliness.” 

Jedd Diamond, a psychotherapist stated that the limited menu to derive emotions from for men brought up in a patriarchal manner are rage, triumph and lust. 

When they realize something blocking their way to triumph, rage takes over – following the ‘manly’ response of aggression. Aggression when acted out can lead to violence. 

Violence is a learned behavior. In our society, chiseled with patriarchy, there is so much accentuation on men ‘being manly’ that it creates a distorted lens that says ‘problem is in others and they must be punished.’ The hypersensitivity and violent reaction is conditioned upon them since their childhood – and when they act out and hurt others, 

We all collectively ask, “What did she do to make him act that way?” 

We are all conditioned in a patriarchal society that feeds upon systematic oppression. Whether it is a random guy taking picture of a girl wearing clothes of her choice and making it viral, to another guy throwing acid on a girl. Violence comes in different forms, and in one way or the other, it is the social conditioning. 

Sexualizing every part of the female body in movies and asking women to dress a certain way, portraying that women should be scared of men because they hold power upon us – all of it adds upon the toxic mentality that men can suppress women and be violent towards them with no consequences whatsoever. 

This guy is caught, but what will be the punishment? Maybe 10 years in jail. Till then and even after that, the girl will be questioned, scrutinized, the police officers will discuss what she wore, where she goes, what she does, who she meets – and the guy will be asked just one question 

“Why did you do it?” 

She did not ask to be subjected to this. She doesn’t deserve to be asked questions. She said no. She rejected him. If early on, they were taught to accept a no and move on, rather than cry, fight and attack to get a yes, we would not have to read another news like that. 

4 thoughts on “A mundane story of another acid attack

  1. Reply
    Prakriti Joshi
    July 24, 2020 at 7:13 pm

    Great article Pratiksha, well elaborates on how patriarchy has been weaving this cycle of male ego- which can’t take a clear ‘NO’ from a women. Releasing their aggression and feeding their male ego is more important to them than the life of a woman!

  2. Reply
    Vaibhav Bhagat
    July 24, 2020 at 10:27 pm

    “Our society, chiseled with patriarchy” This is so much traumatic, the male ego has to understand that it’s not that important and we have to reshape our society which is on better foundations.

  3. Reply
    Shweta Acharya
    July 25, 2020 at 6:55 pm

    Well said. It’s the society that conditions men to believe that they can get away with things. The second last sentence hit me hard. While the man will be asked a question, the woman will be patronized for years!!!!!

  4. Reply
    Sushant
    July 26, 2020 at 6:24 pm

    Very Informative.

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