What happens after your husband throws acid on your face?

Shirin Juwaley's husband threw acid on her face after she requested a divorce. In this harshly honest talk, Juwaley challenges society, and even the audience, to question their stereotypes and prejudices. Why are people with visual disfigurements socially ostracized and isolated? And more importantly, why is this behavior acceptable in society? This unforgettable talk will forever change your presumptions and perceptions about visually different people.

Recorded at INK2011, Jaipur, India


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About the Speaker

Shirin Juwaley

Human rights activist

An acid attack survivor herself, Shirin started the Palash Foundation to address social reintegration and livelihoods for people with disfigurement. In 1998, her husband threw acid on her after she requested divorce.

She has an MSc in Development & Human Rights and earned a distinction for her thesis, ‘Does disfigurement lead to disability due to social exclusion?’ Prior to Palash, she worked on a range of projects in the social sector.

Being burned was the best experience of my life. The many masks that I was carrying started melting one by one. The disfigurement of my face also helped in sifting out people who genuinely cared for me. Having a second lease on life, the realisation came very strong to stop complaining and enjoy what I have. I started appreciating all things made by the creator and the imperfections of life. The journey inward had begun and I am still a work in progress.


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Ajay Kumar

Hardly two weeks ago I had to rush to the Divisional hospital in Varanasi - as a reporter. A man had threw acid on his wife and 8 children - two of them below five years of age. A drunkard and weaver by profession, the man wanted her and the children to leave to the village so that he could sell off the house. One of their daughters was to be married the next day. The 'Baraat' arrived and returned. I wondered on matter-of-fact manner in which she narrated the sequence of events - until she told me that she had been beaten since she was married with him 20 years ago.

Miriam Haenen

Thank you , from the bottom of my heart , for your courage and strength .Choosing the name Palash , touched me deep . Yes , its also called Flame of the Forest. Thats what you are , a flame for many in a human forest , so dark , that hardly anyone can imagen .And then 'they' judge and more ...

Miriam Haenen

A song , written by a colleague , put on music by me . For now the words , once I ll sing it for you .
I am the Flame of the Forest now
I took the Flame from the golden Sun
to bring some joy to the forest
The Sun and I have far to go
I face the Sun and I feel its glow
Thanks to the Sun I flame and grow

Lata Subraidu

i would like to meet Shirin Juwaley and invite her to my conference on women empowerment . Pl contact me SHIRIN.

truth unity

After listening the talk, I became aware of the superstitious that we live with about the people with different physical appearance. Many times without understanding the pain, the embarrassment, the humiliation these people suffer we had a very casual attitude for them and take them for granted. Now received a lesson about sufferers.

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