This Acid Burnt Face

One of the acid attack survivors, Sima Basnet. Photo credit: Sanjog Manandhar taken from this site

One of the acid attack survivors, Sima Basnet. Photo credit: Sanjog Manandhar taken from this site


You can throw acid on my face

You can land a punch in my eye

You can rape me…(but) hold me down you can’t!

Some day you are gonna have to
Really take a good look in the mirror
See and accept what you’ve become.

It’s your reflection, not mine
When you see that black eye
The tears streaming down my face
(as you hold me down, pinned under your weight)

This innocent acid burnt face (is you).

Mr. Society! Tell me! how much longer
Can you hold the title of ‘The World’s
Most Dangerous Animal.’ Man.

Call me ‘feminazi’ or ‘manhater’ or accuse me
Of playing the victim, I don’t f*%ing care
It’s not a mask I wear, this acid burnt face.

(But) Hold me down you can’t!
I’m gonna show you this black eye
I’m gonna share my words, my memories
Not gonna hide this acid burnt face

I’m gonna show you my pain, raw
I’m gonna show you my tears, tender
Till I have breath left inside this acid burnt face.

Till you share your pain and tears with me
Till you heal your egoistic afflictions
Till you become gentle and at peace
With your own inner demons, not mine.

Till then I say ‘Mr. Society, f&*k you!’
You don’t own me
I’m not a f&*ing pawn
In your war with yourself
Twisted pleasures
Ego masturbation
Mysoginstic gene

I’m a woman, your mother, and you were born from me
From the vagina
Of this acid burnt face

So don’t look away
Take a good look
At this acid burnt face

You and I – we are her
She is our reflection
This acid burnt face

(Two girls were attacked recently in downtown Kathmandu with acid thrown on their faces by an unidentified male who not only so self entitled was he that he thought it was well within his right to do but he also did not stop to think twice about the girls’ humanity and the hurt and pain he would cause the two girls who now have disfigured faces and bodies and loss of vision and are recovering in hospital). I know that the emotional trauma will take much longer to heal than the physical wounds; they will have to live with this their whole life and I really hope they heal the spirit and that our society loves and supports them as much as possible – as much as possible in a society that prizes superficial ‘face value’ over all else. Why they were attacked is still unclear and I am not sure what punishment befits this type of crime. Some have suggested capital punishment/hanging. I personally think the problem lies very, very deep and the ball is in everyone’s court. It’s in the court of anyone who says violence against women is okay, that she provoked it (seriously?! How the f*&k did she provoke this, pray tell?), or anyone who stays silent, it’s in the court of anyone who looks away, and it’s in the court of our society who teach children how ‘to be’ and ‘how not to be’ from a very young age. It’s in the court of how we as a society teach our boys to become self-entitled and possessive – like the whole world and everything in it is but an extension of themselves. It reflects how we socialize ourselves to deal with emotions, like anger, jealousy, attachment, and rejection. It’s in the court of the laws and societal norms upheld by our leaders, policy makers, and our media and ‘women’s magazines’ that teaches women and men about ‘the ideal woman,’ an object of our desire, eye candy, something superficial with not much depth or humanity. Anyways, this poem is written for the two girls and for all women who have faced some form of Violence against Women (VAW), especially those who have faced it because they have stood up against the culture of ‘taking it like only a woman should’ in the most patriarchal of patriarchal societies in the world – where generally, a woman is not allowed to just be unless she subscribes to certain societal norms. And I also pray that the pain and suffering and insecurities of men who feel they need to feel ‘macho’ or ‘manly’ the way society demands them to be, is healed. 


11 thoughts on “This Acid Burnt Face

  1. Dear friends, thanks a lot for stopping my and reading and liking my poem, even though it’s a very difficult subject and one most would shy away from. I have decided to do some fundraising for the victims, especially Sangita Magar, who is the one who was the main target of the attack ( I have now also included a photo of hers). Here is an article with a video link to Sangita’s mother talking about the incident unable to hold back her tears despite her strength and pride (she says ‘I will not beg for money, but if anyone will out of their own will contribute, it will help my daughter’).
    Can anyone suggest a way to fund raise? As I don’t have access to an international credit/debit card and we are not connected to the world wide web to accept donations/payments (yes, we are backward in that way) and such and I am neither a foundation nor registered non profit, I have asked anyone who would like to contribute to pledge the amount to me, then I will personally get it to her in Nepali rupees at the hospital where she is receiving treatment, making sure her mother receives it directly, and then later we can arrange for the money to be transferred via bank wire transfer or western union and such. For transparency’s sake, if you are okay with it, I will mention your name and the amount you donated on my blog. If you would like to remain anonymous, please email me at It will take lots of money for plastic and reconstructive surgery and there is no government support. If anyone can also pass this along to any foundations working particularly in this field, maybe some good people can fund her entire treatment. So far, as of 2/26/2015 12.49 pm I have raised Rs. 20,000/- which is about US$200 and I will match whatever I raise by the time I go to meet her in the Kathmandu Medical College hospital today. But this fundraising effort will remain and I am open to all suggestions. Thank you for engaging!

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