Acid assaults towards girls reportedly on the rise in Mexico: “Once I look within the mirror, I see him”

After Mexican mom Carmen Sanchez left her abusive ex-partner, he attacked her with acid, leaving her severely scarred. As a part of her therapeutic course of, she now helps different victims rebuild their lives.

Within the eight years since her life was modified without end, the 37-year-old has undergone 61 operations, together with pores and skin reconstruction and grafts.

“Day-after-day I endure it however I do not know if I’ll heal fully sooner or later,” mentioned Sanchez, who wears darkish glasses to cowl traces of the assault. “It wasn’t an accident. I wasn’t born that manner. He deliberate it, went and purchased the acid and threw it at me. Once I look within the mirror, I see him.”

Carmen Sanchez, who was sprayed in her face with acid, poses for an image after an interview with AFP on the Carmen Sanchez Basis which she based, in Mexico Metropolis on March 15, 2022.

OMAR TORRES/AFP by way of Getty Pictures

Her Carmen Sanchez Basis — launched in 2021 to “put a cease to acid violence” — believes that companionship and friendship are essential for victims.

It faces challenges comparable to coping with a public well being system that ensures solely restricted therapy for victims, and a judicial system beset by impunity and ineffectiveness, Sanchez mentioned.

Gender-based violence is a significant downside in Mexico, which registered round 3,750 murders of ladies in 2021, of which about 1,000 have been labeled as femicides.

The inspiration has documented 31 acid assaults towards girls since 2001, of whom six died.

The crime is on the rise, with seven instances in 2021, in contrast with two on common in earlier years, in accordance with the group, whose aim is for victims to regain some enjoyment of life.

“The moments of leisure, the celebration of essential dates, going out to eat or just speaking on the telephone is a basic a part of what can maintain them on their ft,” mentioned its co-president Ximena Canseco.

“He instructed me … he had slightly shock for me”

Sanchez, who has two daughters, reported her abusive ex-partner 3 times however he escaped punishment and sprayed acid in her face in 2014 after she left him.

“He instructed me that he was going to do one thing to me that I might keep in mind without end,” she mentioned.

Sanchez spent eight months in a public hospital, after which she relied on non-public docs who deal with victims freed from cost.

On the public hospital, “they instructed me I might stay with my scars” and to “be grateful I survived,” she mentioned.

After the police didn’t arrest her ex-partner, Sanchez tracked him down herself and he was lastly captured in 2021.

“I used to be the one who did all of the work,” she mentioned.

Yazmin, 34, is one in all eight girls whom the Carmen Sanchez Basis helps to acquire free medical therapy, authorized recommendation and psychological remedy.

A 12 months and a half in the past, when she was leaving her work, a lady threw a liquid on her, leaving her in agony.

Yazmin misplaced an ear and suffered burns to her eyelids, neck, legs and one arm.

She suspects her attacker was despatched by her ex-partner.

“Days earlier than, we argued on the phone and he instructed me to watch out as a result of he had slightly shock for me,” mentioned the girl, who didn’t need to give her full title.

Yazmin saved silent about her violent relationship for years earlier than the assault, however now she feels liberated due to the inspiration.

“We’re not judged. They do not say: ‘They did it to you for a motive.’ You’re feeling protected. I assumed I used to be the one one, however I found that it’s a international downside,” Yazmin mentioned.

“He got here for me”

Amongst different affected international locations, tons of of acid assaults are reported in India every year, though — like in Mexico — specialists concern they’re solely the tip of the iceberg.

Colombia, the place the crime is punishable by 50 years in jail, registered 50 instances in 2021, 28 of them towards girls, in accordance with official figures.

Britain has one of many world’s highest charges of recorded acid assaults per capita — most apparently gang-related and focusing on males, in accordance with the charity Acid Survivors Belief Worldwide.

Martha Avila, 63, calls herself a “collateral sufferer” of acid violence in Mexico.

Martha Avila, who was sprayed with acid in her face, poses for an image after an interview with AFP in Mexico Metropolis on March 28, 2022.

OMAR TORRES/AFP by way of Getty Pictures

In March 2017, she was assaulted by her daughter’s Argentine ex-husband.

“He got here to assault her, however since he could not discover her, he got here for me. He mentioned he was going to ‘destroy what she liked probably the most,'” she mentioned.

Regardless of struggling burns on practically half her physique, Avila is glad that she was the sufferer, not her daughter.

“I could not think about what it is wish to have your life destroyed so younger, and much more so if he is the daddy of your youngsters,” she mentioned.

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