Tuesday, August 24, 2010

In Scarred Land, a Haven for Victims of Acid Burns


Touch Eap stroked her husband’s scarred and discolored back as she described the night six years ago when she poured a tub of acid over his head, burning off his eyes and ears and lips and leaving him as dependent on her as a child.

“I wanted to kill him,” she said. “I didn’t want to injure him. He said he would kill me, and I thought, better to kill him first so that I can take care of the children.”

She smiled ruefully as she talked; his drunkenness and threats were an old memory. Her husband, Phoeung Phoeur, 45, opened his mouth in what may also have been a smile.

“I’m sorry for him,” said Ms. Touch Eap, 46, who grows vegetables to support her husband and three children, “and I try to take care of him.”

It was a moment of domestic tranquillity here in Cambodia’s only shelter for acid burn victims, where a dozen other mutilated residents napped or sang or hung their heads backward in an exercise to help keep their scarred necks flexible.

Cambodia, along with Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, has a history of acid attacks — a rare and extreme form of revenge or punishment.

An increase in the number of reported attacks in Cambodia, with 17 so far this year, has drawn attention to this shelter, the nonprofit Cambodian Acid Survivors Charity, on the outskirts of Phnom Penh.

To read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/24/world/asia/24cambo.html?_r=1&ref=cambodia

No comments:

Post a Comment