Acid attack victims walk the ramp in attempt to fight off stigma

New Delhi [India], Mar. 28 : In an emphatic show of courage and hope, survivors of acid attack victims recently took to the ramp at a unique fashion show at the India Showcase Week, demolishing stigma and redefining the concept of beauty.

The fashion show was organized by Cocoona Centre for Aesthetic Transformation in a bid to empower acid attack survivors, who are often ignored or overlooked by the society.

Horrific cases of acid assaults are common in South Asia, and have shocked our collective conscience over and over again.

Despite strict laws being implemented to counter them, acid attacks in India have continued to rise in recent years.

The unique fashion display was followed by a motivational talk by Dr Sanjay Parashar, the founder of Cocoona Centre of Aesthetic Transformation.

Dr Parashar is a renowned plastic surgeon based out of Dubai, who believes that philanthropy starts at home.

Keeping the vision in mind, he has been helping burn and acid victims from challenging and unstable neighboring countries such as Afghanistan and lraq, and now hopes to extend the same help to victims in India.

"Acid attack is one of the worst acts of violence against women, and an extremely unfortunate infliction against aesthetic appeal.

By defacing the human being, it destroys the woman's identity, confidence and aspirations. Over the long term, it can lead to loss of socio-economic opportunity, and social seclusion. The grief and sorrow of an acid attack also digs deep into the emotional well-being of an individual, and can in no way be compensated.

This menace must be eliminated not just by strict implementation of laws but also by fighting patriarchy that justifies violence against women.

While the causes of this kind of violence need to be addressed through a larger change in mindsets, we as experts in reconstruction and plastic surgery provide palliative solutions that can help survivors recover from the traumatic scars," said Dr Parashar.

Adding, "Through reconstruction surgery today, we have the scientific and medical wherewithal to reconstruct the skin, eyes, nose, ears and lips of acid attack victims, and restore their hopes and aspirations of having a normal life.

As a plastic surgery centre, we are looking forward to tie up with social organizations working in this field to help acid attack victims in India." Speaking at the event, Pragya Prasun, founder of Atijeevan Foundation said, "I am a survivor myself and was attached in 2006.

I started Atijeevan in 2014 to help support other victims. I help them with surgeries, jobs, rehabilitation, and in every other way possible. I work with various entities that further support me run my cause. I am extremely thankful to Dr Sanjay Parashar for extending his support and especially time towards us- the survivors." Reconstruction surgery on victims is also a long and arduous process that involves several rounds of surgeries.

Aesthetic surgeons use skin from the patient's thighs and arms to construct artificial grafts, tissues and features and craft a fresh new face.

"At our Dubai centre, we have performed several such procedures and given a new lease of life to the victims.

Of all the procedures we do, these are the treatments that give us the most satisfaction as doctors. And the turnaround they bring to the victims' lives is remarkable. After undergoing reconstruction procedures to have socially more acceptable facial features, they bounce back faster from the trauma, regain their lost confidence and are able to rekindle their lost hopes and aspirations," added Dr Parashar.

Acid attacks can have catastrophic and devastating consequences on vital organs of the human body. Among the most unfortunate consequences are burns, skin tissue damage, and so on, while long term consequences include blindness or permanent scarring of face and body.

On the other hand, many such cases are even not reported officially in India, as many women (even in modern metropolises) do not come forward to fight for justice.

The show was choreographed and styled by fashion stylist duo Manish Bansal and Henna Parimoo. The showstoppers for the evening included Anu Mukherjee (30), Aruna Tripathi (28), Archana Thakur (30), and Bharti Panchal (20).

Source: ANI