Acids attacks aren’t exclusive to Zanzibar. There were 56 reports of acid attacks in New Delhi this last Spring alone. Cambodia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and other patriarchal societies are hot beds for acid attacks.
While those may seem like distant locales to some of you PDers out there, in 2011 and 2012 there were 144 reported UK cases.
For the most part, about 80% of acid attacks are done on women, and of that 80% roughly 30% are under the age of 18.
Acid Survivors Trust International explains that, “Attackers often target the head and face in order to maim, disfigure and blind. The act rarely kills but causes severe physical, psychological and social scarring.”
Plastic surgeon Mohammad Jawad believes that acid attacks are about trying to destroy someone’s identity. “The attacker is saying: ‘I don’t want to kill her, I am going to do something to distort her.’ It’s a walking dead situation for the victim and often a grey area in the eyes of the law.”
Think about that for a second. Is there anything more terrifying?
If you are struck with acid, first you’ll need to immediately remove any clothing, or jewelry that was hit. Getting those items off your skin and away from anyone coming to assist you is paramount.
Then second, think getting hold of water, and lots of it. Wash the areas hit repeatedly. Room temperature is best, but if you’ve just been drenched in acid, don’t be choosey. You aren’t looking for an Alpine Spring at this point. Water even stagnate with bacteria is better than nothing.
If you have baking soda around (a huge plus if you do) add that to the water to neutralize the acid.
On the off chance you’re out in the middle of nowhere and can’t get to any type of hospital, keep up the water, and eventually gently wrap the areas with the most sterile pieces of cloth you can find. Gauze is great, but a fairly clean tee can do in a pinch.
Above all keep as calm as possible to minimize the acid spread.
Do we advocate popping a few packs of baking soda in your purse when you go out? Sure, why not? You’ve already got half your existence in their anyway, what’s a little baking soda?