In Cambodia, acid attacks are increasing. They have officially affected more than 400 people since 1984, but experts say countless incidents go unreported.
REFUGE FOR SURVIVORS:
Acid is relatively cheap and easy to get hold of in Cambodia, but is responsible for blinding and disfiguring its victims.
The Cambodia Acid Survivor’s Charity is helping victims, including a mother and her three-year-old son, featured in this film.
When acid meets skin, it can melt through flesh, muscle and bone. It can burn through ears and eyes. We meet a 29-year-old woman who was doused in acid following a domestic dispute. Her body will be scarred for life.
Her three-year-old son was also caught up in the attack. It’s estimated that thirteen percent of all victims of acid attacks are under the age of thirteen.
We visited a refuge for acid survivors, run by the Cambodia Acid Survivor’s Charity. They say the number of attacks have increase considerably in the past five years.
CUSTOM MADE GARMENTS:
The extraordinary part of this story is that there appears to be no reason for most of these attacks, other than acid is easy to obtain in Cambodia. It is used in local industries such as rubber production or sold for car batteries.
We see how the charity is helping these victims. Many of the women who were attacked are now being trained to sew pressure garments – a tight piece of clothing which limits the growth of scar tissue by exerting constant pressure over the wound.
The garments are custom-made according to body shape and size.
We filmed a six-year-old girl who is being helped since she was attacked a few years ago. In the film she has her custom-made pressure garments fitted. She was injured when five men attacked her mother. Many years – and five operations later – she is now at school.
Like all the survivors at the refuge, they want her to have the best chance of a normal life.