"I could not go anywhere alone for a long time"

"Then, when I started going out, I was scared when somebody was behind me. I kept hiding my face for many years." - Flavia




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Systemic harm based on gender

Gender-based violence (GBV) is a type of violence aimed at someone because of their gender identity. 

Photograph: Paula Bronstein

A human rights violation

Deeply rooted in gender equality

GBV continues to be one of the most notable human rights violations within all societies. It is widely acknowledged that most GBV is inflicted on women and girls, by men, because it is rooted in power inequalities between men and women. Violence against women and girls is the most widespread form of systematic abuse worldwide, affecting one third of all women in their lifetime. Preventing violence against women and girls is a development goal in its own right, and important in achieving better lives for individual women, their families and greater development progress for communities and nations.


A disproportionate impact on women

A form of GBV

Corrosive attacks happen across the world and it affects women disproportionally. Although it is also unacceptable when corrosive violence occurs against men, it is a form of violence that has a disproportionate impact on women. It reflects and perpetuates discrimination of women and girls in society, as such it is prohibited by international law. However, all too often it’s a crime that goes unreported and unpunished: survivors of acid attacks live in fear of reprisals for reporting the attack.

Acid and burns violence, like other forms of violence against women and girls, both reflect and perpetuate the inequality of women in society. Whilst there is limited information on the numbers of acid and burns attacks in ASTI’s focus countries, which appear to be in the hundreds, there is no doubt as to the devastating and lifelong consequences for the women and girls who experience it. Corrosive attacks cause immediate damage, disfigurement, pain and long-lasting medical complications for victims. Significant surgery is required by acid burns victims, as well as long-term support and rehabilitation. In addition, victims of acid and burns violence suffer psychological trauma, economic and social ostracism.


Now I have accepted that people will stare. Recently I started to go out without a scarf. This is me after all. Even if I cover the scars they are still there. People just have to accept me the way I am.

Flavia, acid attack survivor

Photographer: Ann-Christine Woehrl


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