By Yvette Martyn


Acid attacks are rife throughout the world and often leave victims permanently disfigured

A documentary featuring a disfigured young woman in the aftermath of an acid attack was shown on Thursday. “Katie, my beautiful face” which previewed on channel 4 challenged people to watch the horror of the life a once stunning model was left with following the shocking attack. At 26 years of age she has undergone 18 months of torture after a stranger threw acid in her face instructed to do so by a vengeful boyfriend.

Face of pure evil

When Judge Nicholas Browne QC sentenced the pair he declared they represented the face of pure evil. The documentary sees Katie enduring a life full of fear. Featuring a poignant scene where Katie and her mother, who gave up work to become her carer, filled the kitchen table with medical supplies required for her ongoing treatment.

People have been shocked by the plight of the young victim, tens of thousands have joined groups on Facebook such as, “I think Katie Piper Is Still Beautiful.”

Many people are attacked each year in the UK, some of whom are left with physical scarring but this case was different, it represented a medieval torture technique. It saw the permanent disfigurement of a young beautiful woman. Such attacks are rare in the UK but rife in countries most notably in South Asia.

Taking out jealousy

Acid attacks or vitriolage occur in countries such as India, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan a large proportion of attacks are against women who have dishonoured men. However other reasons for attacks include immodestly dressed women, girls who attend school and property or land disputes.

An article in an Indian journal described the act as, “a common means of taking out jealousy or malice or revenge.”

The attackers usually throw acid to cause injuries to the face, the acid penetrates destroying skin and even bone in some cases. Victims are sometimes left blind following attacks. Assailants have also been known to attack women’s genitals with acid.

Ameneh Bahrami, is an Iranian woman. In 2004 she rejected Majid Emovahedi and as a result he threw a bottle of acid in her face leaving her blind and permanently disfigured. She fought in court for justice and a judge gave her permission to pour acid into his eyes.

No justice

Although Katie Piper’s story is immensely upsetting, she is not alone, Bangladesh Acid Survivors Foundation(ASF) say that in Bangladesh there is an acid attack every 2 days. Most women unlike Katie and Ameneh will see no justice, only 10% of accused are ever punished.

Image: renjith krishnan /