In lieu of a Valentine’s Day party we had a Mardi Gras celebration at the Winnsboro Center for the Arts and it was great fun. There was lots of good food, festive decorations and costumes, and music on our grand piano thanks to Mary White and Paul Miller.
How was your Valentine’s Day weekend?
What I’m Reading: Tears on the Equator:Muzungu by Gerasimos Kambites. This is a memoir of the experiences Kambites had as an Orthodox priest and a doctor in Uganda. He is a Canadian, married to a Ugandan woman, and they spent five years bringing medicine and hope to her home village. I was sent the book for review and plan to have that review this coming Sunday.
Celebrating Strong Women: Today I want to honor Laxmi Aggarwal who was just 16 when a 32-year-old man attacked her with acid after she rejected his marriage proposal. I first heard about her from a post on the Facebook page for A Mighty Girl. There are lots of girls and young women to celebrate on that page, but I was particularly struck by the picture of Laxmi.
Laxmi was horribly disfigured from the acid attack, and she hid her face for years, but two years ago she decided to join the fight to stop abuse against women. She is now 24 and is one of India’s leading activists. Last March, she was presented an International Women of Courage Award in Washington DC by First Lady Michelle Obama.
After the attack, Laxmi underwent over a dozen operations to repair her skin from the burns on her face and body, and her optimistic approach to her life did not come easily. People told her she would never find anyone who could love her, and she went through counseling to help her deal with the trauma. Since she decided to join the fight against this horrible practice of acid attacks, she has found love with a fellow activist, and works diligently to help stop other girls and women from suffering the same fate as she did. She has also landed a job as a news anchor on television.
As a result of the efforts of Laxmi and others, the Indian government passed a law that instituted criminal charges specifically for acid attacks and the Supreme Court ordered a limit of over-the-counter acid sales. Still the activists continue to petition the government for more prosecution and harsher sentencing for attackers, as well as more support for victims.
The A Mighty Girl Facebook page has some great links you can follow to find more information about the Stop Acid Attacks campaign, visit http://www.stopacidattacks.org/
There are also more links to documentary films about acid attacks, as well as links to find books for children and teens that deal with the issue of abuse of women. I highly recommend a visit to the A Mighty Girl website to check our this information and find the links.
Violence toward women is a serious issue and one that should not be overlooked just because we might not have first-hand experience with it. We should band together to help all women. Don’t you think?