One of the cruelest, most cowardly crimes against another person – throwing acid in their face – leaves last physical and emotional scars.
A Pakistani woman is helping acid attack victims reclaim their lives at a beauty salon where the women train as beauticians, all in a safe, women-only space.
Mussarat Misbah wants to bring smiles back to the faces of burn victims, who are often shunned for their disfiguration. Many women are "left to rot like vegetables" after the acid attacks, Misbah said.
Their physical scars mirror the deep psychological pain many victims are in; a sizeable portion were attacked by their own families. One woman recounts how her own husband and in-laws held her down and doused her with acid because her dowry wasn't large enough.
Through her Depilex Smile Again Foundation, Misbah opened a salon in Lahore, Pakistan, to help the women find a new way forward. They not only learn a trade, but have access to medical and psychological care through Misbah's foundation.
The barbaric acid attacks only became illegal in Pakistan in 2010, but still the violence continues. The Acid Survivors Foundation reported 56 attacks in 2014, with 70 survivors. Women and girls are the overwhelming victims, but men and boys are attacked as well.
The Acid Survivors Foundation pinpoints disputes over land, property and money; refusal to marry or rejection of love; and marital disputes as the top motives for acid attacks.