Brave Acid-Attack Survivor Does Beauty Tutorials to Raise Awareness

Prepare to be moved, to be angered, and to take action.

Hairstyle, Eyebrow, Microphone, Audio equipment, Shelf, Eyelash, Wrist, Beauty, Music artist, Jewellery,
(Image credit: YouTube)

Reshma's video on how to get the perfect red lips begins much like any other beauty tutorial. In an upbeat voice, she advises viewers to exfoliate their lips with a toothbrush, apply lip balm to keep them moisturized, and use liner to get the perfect shape. But in the same breath, she reminds the viewer that in India, beauty products like these are just as easy to obtain as concentrated acid. 

In 2014, Reshma's brother-in-law allegedly threw sulfuric acid on her face while she was visiting Northern India to take an exam. She lost her left eye as a result, and her right eye is partially closed and infected. She suffers from severe burns and disfigurement and will need cosmetic surgery to repair the muscles around her mouth. 

She urges viewers to sign the Make Love Not Scars petition that seeks to ban the over-the-counter sale of acid. And it's about time, since Reshma's story is heartbreakingly common—according to the BBC, there as many as 1,000 acid attacks in India every year, and almost 90% of these victims are women. The usual motive? A man seeking revenge against a woman who rejected his marriage proposal or sexual advances. 

While India has implemented stricter punishment for acid attacks, it's still remarkably easy to obtain the dangerous liquid. "To explain in layman terms, anyone can go and purchase toilet-cleaning acids without any questions asked, and for just Rs 100 [$1.50] or less for a litre," a letter on the Make Love Not Scars website reads. 

To help end this horrifying practice and ban the over-the-counter sale of acid in India, sign the petition here

Diana Bruk
Viral Content Editor

My writing has regularly appeared in The New York Times, The Paris Review, Salon, VICE, Guernica, The New York Observer, BuzzFeed, Cosmopolitan, Seventeen, Esquire, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, and many more publications.

I was previously the Senior News Editor at Best Life Online and the Viral Content Editor in the Newsroom of Hearst Digital Media. My portfolio consists of a vast and diverse body of work that includes personal essays, lifestyle articles, breaking news posts, and viral content. My areas of expertise, however, are Russia, sex and relationships, and mental wellness.