Award Winning Work By Paula Bronstein
|79702426, Paula Bronstein/Getty Images|
ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN: Sabra Sultana, 28, a victim of acid violence poses in Islamabad on June 11, 2007. Sabra was burned at the age of 15, a child bride married off to an older man who later was discontent with the relationship and Sabra was attacked because of lack of dowry. 'My face was burned, not my heart. I try to stand up like a firm wall but there are people who want to break down that wall.' Depilex Smileagain Foundation, a non-governmental organization is helping her recover with vocational training and reconstructive surgery. The UN and other human rights organizations have issued reports for years on many forms of violence against women in Pakistan which involve domestic violence, rape, and honor killings. Acid is thrown at women to avenge the shame that the woman is accused of bringing. Typically it is over marriage refusals, which are often arranged, arguments in the home and sexual advances that are rejected. Acid burns rarely kill but result in serious disfigurement and suffering which can confine women to their homes, leading to social isolation and depression. Allegations are made and the crime is committed. The acid is cheap and readily available to all. Although women have protested the open sale of acid, it is still easily available. Women in Pakistan face biases in the criminal justice system and police are relunctant to deal with the so called 'family matters'. Only a small percentage of the cases go to trial, bringing the criminals to justice, while the majority are settled out of court after a substantial bribe is paid. Bribes are comonplace in the culture of the southern Punjab and Sindh areas where a feudal society allows the rich to pay off officials. Illiteracy is commonplace amongst women in the poor rural areas of the country, poverty and a conservative Islamic culture play a strong role in the subordinate position of the female.
NPPA's Best of Photojournalism
New York Photo Awards