Fashion photo shoots for acid attack victims in India

Some women in India are living with a very difficult reality.

Vicious acid attacks have left them with debilitating scars and burns and fragments of their shattered dreams.

But some of the victims are not letting their pasts define their futures.

Some brave young women have faced a photo shoot to draw attention to the issue.

We do have to warn you - the attacks they endured were brutal and parts of this report may be disturbing to some viewers.

22-year-old Rupa is realizing her childhood dream; designing clothes and perhaps soon owning a small boutique.

"This is the first dress I made, I like western style ball gowns" Rupa says.

This was the ultimate high, her first photoshoot.

She modeled her debut collection.

Her friends posed too.

But behind the smiles and laughter, pain no one should have to endure.

"I was very nervous about the photo shoot, she says. I kept thinking to myself, what will people say if they see my face?" Rupa said.

These young women are victims of vicious acid attacks.

For years, they hid themselves from the world, ashamed to show their disfigured faces.

Rupa recalls, "When people saw me they would turn away. I realized they were too scared to look at me. I got so depressed, I would come home and cry, I often thought about killing myself, I always used to say, I wish I had died I don't want to live like this."

Rupa was attacked by a relative when she was just 15.

When she came to this safe house three months ago, she realized she's not alone.

19-year-old Ritu was scarred by two men on a motorcycle who threw acid on her.

"I always wonder how could a human being do this?" Ritu asks. "Most acid attack survivors don't want to meet their attackers. But I want to she says, just so I can ask, was it worth it?"

All the girls here want to forget their past and their present appearances.

This photoshoot is one way of coming to terms.

Fashion photographer Rahul Saharan says, "I've shot with lots of models but shooting with them was a very different experience. It was just a small effort from my side to make them feel beautiful to show them that everyone is beautiful."

Saharan says he never expected his photos to garner so much attention.

The message they want to send to women around the world; it's okay to show your face, no matter what you look like, no matter what society may say.
 


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