BettyJean Downing- Kling
A woman who became the disfigured face of the shunned and forgotten women of Pakistan committed suicide, jumping from her sixth floor apartment window in Italy last week.
Fakhra Yunus was only 22 when her husband of three years, Bilal Khar, a member of Pakistan’s politically elite Khar family, allegedly threw acid on her face while she slept, the Asian Correspondent reported.
The Washington Post noted that Yunus became the face of violence against women in the country after Pakistani activist Tehmina Durrani, author of “My Feudal Lord,” helped Yunus escape to Rome and get treatment for her disfigurement. Durrani is known to speak out against the injustices women face in Muslim society. Over the years, Yunus underwent 38 facial reconstructive and plastic surgeries after the attack.
GeoNews via YouTube
GeoNews via YouTube
Pakistani acid victim Fakhra Yunus is seen before and after her attack in this undated video
Durrani wrote of Yunus in The News Daily, “I have met many acid victims. Never have I seen one as completely disfigured as Fakhra. She had not just become faceless; her body had also melted to the bone. Despite her stark and hopeless condition, the government of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan was not in the least God-fearing. She was provided nothing…but disdain…and trashed.”
Prominent Pakistani acid attack victim Fakhra Younus had endured more than three dozen surgeries over more than a decade to repair her severely damaged face and body when she finally decided life was no longer worth living.
In the Washington Post article on Yunus, Durrani quoted an Italian professor who assisted in Yunus’ recovery, “I tried to mend her physical scars, but was unable to heal her soul.”
Yunus’ body was buried Sunday, according to News Daily, which also reported that she left a written message saying that she was committing suicide because of the silence and atrocities committed by Pakistani leaders.
Yunus’ death came only a month after the documentary, “Saving Face,” won an Academy Award for Best Documentary Short. The film, which chronicles the lives of women who have suffered such attacks, was said to have given Yunus hope for the future.
While plastic surgeons are continuously making strides to improve reconstructive plastic surgery procedures for victims like Yunus, it’s difficult to imagine the emotional and psychological scars that remain, Dr. Malcolm Roth, president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, told ABCNews.com.
“Our face defines us, provides information about our age, gender, and ethnicity, and is central to communication and our recognition by others,” said Roth. “Individuals that fall outside of appearance norms due to severe facial deformity or disfigurement often experience psychological suffering and social isolation. We can only hope that awareness of the impact of these heinous crimes and the devastating suffering for the victims will discourage such further acts.”
Filed under: Uncategorized