Make-up tutorials are ubiquitous on YouTube – everything from the perfect cat eye flick to how to looks like any (or all) of the Kardashian-Jenners. Reshma Bano Quereshi’s video on how to create to perfect red lipstick is like any video tutorial you’ve come across before, except this one makes a bold statement.
Eighteen-year-old Reshma is a victim of an acid attack, a common occurrence in India. Reshma had acid poured on her face last year by her estranged borther-in-law and his accomplices. She lost her left eye and her facial skin has been extensively scarred from the attack. And the video draws attention the stomach-churning fact that concentrated acid is as freely available – and in some cases cheaper – to purchase as a red lipstick is.
The video producers, Make Love Not Scars, estimate that almost 1,000 women were victims of acid attacks in 2014 alone, nearly all of them by men who were potential suitors or scorned partners. These terrifying numbers are only amplified when you consider how little support these women have received. Reshma had no aid from the government during her recovery process and up until 2013 very few acid attacks were reported and they were hardly ever prosecuted. Since then, acid sales have been more heavily monitored and police are dealing with the attacks with severity deserving of the barbaric crime.
However, the lives of these women is still extremely difficult in India’s beauty-driven society, where flawless skin and large eyes are prized beyond all else. Make Love Not Scars hope to reduce the number of victims by circulating a petition to remove acid off the open market completely. It’s no longer sufficient to limit it’s availability as it continues to be made in numerous unregistered distilleries.
The video has garnered almost 1 million hits since it went live last week and has spawned the hashtag #EndAcidSale. The saddest thing about this series is that it’s based on what the women had hoped to do prior to their attacks. If you’re interested in signing the petition to make acid unavailable to the common man you can sign it here.