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Feb 26, 2017: Over a long period of time, Social media as the new media has been criticized for disintegrating people to connect with reality. Despite the negative notions the new media has received, it has served vociferously a soapbox for acid attack victims. An acid attack is no longer uncanny for Indians, a purchased bottle of acid and feeling of vengeance is all that it takes to tear down victims’ life. However, These victims are no longer petrified and considered as victims, rather we see them as indomitable and fighting with fortitude with the help of a social connect.
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“Donate a face”, a campaign against acid attacks executed by Cheil India, was an initiative started a few years ago and strived to change the perception of acid attacks in minds of people. It was a campaign which talked about the heart-rending recovery of victims, and psychological imbalance the victim has to go through. The face is an important part of oneself – an irrevocable wounded face stains the identity of a victim. It thus targeted the then prevalent selfie craze and drove an urge to take faceless selfies among people. The campaign propelled people to take faceless selfies and upload it on Facebook and twitter profiles, this thusly spurred popularity through the help of social media and generated funds in abundance.
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In an attempt to the same, a photo shoot by Rahul Saharan for Rupa Designs takes on acid attack models. The photo shoot attempted to redefine notions of beauty. By conforming to its truest sense, a beauty should be idealized with flaws and reality. Another new media campaign adhered to boycott the sale of acid, petitioning the former Union Home Minister (Sushil Kumar Shine) with the help of change.org, a petition website portal. The petition was initiated by Lakshmi, an acid attack survivor and came out to be successful with government curbing down the sale of jeopardizing acid. This turned out into a confirmed victory with over 29,000 online supporters.
In the era of brutality, nothing seemed to wither these women’s invulnerable spirit. When nobody pays heed to your woes, it is the new media which helped these victims voice out and evolve stronger since the day of the committed heinous crime. Whether it is a campaign, a photo shoot or an online petition, the new media speaks volume when it comes to hearing these victims. Needless to say, new media is boon and serves as a stepping stone to these victims. There is a lot to absorb from these survivors who fought valiantly in the face of crime.
-prepared by Naina Mishra of NewsGram. Twitter-@Nainamishr94