Urge Ugandan President Museveni to pass the acid attack bill now
After having lived for seven years with an abusive husband, I decided it was time to leave. I didn’t think I would survive another year if I stayed, so in 2011, I walked out the door and broke the crippling silence and isolation the abuse had made me feel. I felt empowered and free, and finally looked forward to my future. But because I left my marriage, my husband considered me “disobedient” and, therefore, worthy of punishment. So one day, when he called me to pick up my children at his house and suddenly acid was thrown at my face and body.
The next thing I knew, my face felt as if
it were on fire. My skin was literally melting away.
He thought he would break my spirit, but he only made me stronger. Since my attack, I have been fighting to put an end to this horrific practice in my country of Uganda, and I need your help to do it. Please support our petition by asking H.E. President Yoweri Museveni Kaguta to sign the Toxic Chemicals Bill into law.
That is my story, but there are many more, each one as harrowing as the last. Acid violence occurs around the globe and isn’t specific to race or religion. My country, Uganda, has some of the highest rates of acid violence. In fact, since 1985, there have been nearly 400 reported cases of acid attacks here, and in just one hospital alone, they have reported 8 attacks and two deaths this year. And those are just the ones that were reported. The real statistics are likely much higher.
My name is Hanifa Nakiryowa,and my fellow acid attack survivor Gloria Kankunda and I have founded the Center for Rehabilitation of Survivors of Acid and burns Violence (CERESAV). We founded CERESAV because of our personal experiences, and because of the stories we were told by fellow victims. CERESAV’s ultimate goal is to address the issue of acid attacks and gender violence on a global level, but today we have a chance to make a difference in Uganda by helping to pass legislation that would classify products like acid as controlled substances. Cutting off easy access to acid has proven to drastically reduce the rate of attacks in other countries.
Research indicates that the most effective ways to reduce acid violence are through regulation of the sale of acid, tougher jail sentences for perpetrators, and raising awareness of the devastating impact that acid attacks have on individuals and their families. Step by step, CERESAV hopes to make all of these things a reality, but we can’t do it alone.
With collective efforts, we can end this devastating act and save the next potential victim. I know we can make a difference. When strong women and fellow victims of female-directed violence, like Jaha who fought to end female genital mutilation, or Malala who is a champion for girls’ education started Change.org petitions, great things happened.
Please join me in asking H.E. President Yoweri Museveni Kaguta to sign the Toxic Chemicals Bill into law.