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Brave acid attack survivors redefine beauty at Indian fashion show

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Updated: 08:30 GMT, Mar 8, 2018 | Published: 03:54 GMT, Mar 8, 2018 |
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Eleven women disfigured by acid turned models at a fashion show in western India on Wednesday (March 07) as they ventured down the catwalk with courage and self-confidence.

Each survivor, who had been a victim of an acid attack usually carried out by their husbands or close family members, was dressed in colorful Indian and western attire at the fashion show in Thane city on the outskirts of Mumbai to mark International Women’s Day.

Laxmi, an Indian acid-attack survivor who has since become an activist and a fashion model was the showstopper for the event. She was attacked by a 32-year-old man at the age of 15 in 2005 after she refused his marriage proposal.

She spent months in hospital and faced alienation from the society but it did not deter her spirits. She raised her voice against acid attacks and her petition with over 27,000 signatures led to an order by India’s apex court in 2013 on regulating the sale of acid. The legal victory took her to the White House where she was felicitated by then U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama in 2014.

We do not want respect, we want equality and equality can help reduce crimes, said Laxmi.

Globally, as many as 1,500 acid attacks are recorded every year, with more than 1,000 cases estimated to occur in India alone. However, many attacks go unreported because victims are too afraid of reprisals from their abusers. Most victims are women, who are blinded or disfigured by jilted partners or relatives.

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