'Saving Face' Sheds Light on Women's Lives Ruined by Acid Attacks (VIDEO)

saving faceIn my opinion, the most meaningful Oscar moment of 2012 was when HBO Documentary Films presentation Saving Face won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Short. Talk about an inspiring reminder that film really can be a powerful tool for change. I can't think of a more worthy topic for a documentary. Actually, scratch that -- I can't think of a story more desperately in need of the global attention that comes with an Academy Award-winning documentary than the one told by Saving Face.

In case you missed director Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy's acceptance speech, the film is about the many women in Pakistan who become victims of an unimaginably terrible crime -- made all the more horrible by the fact that it often goes unpunished.


Known as acid attacks, these cruel, disfiguring assaults can ruin a woman's life in a split second. Perhaps the worst part? The attacker is usually the victim's husband or someone else she knows personally. Like the two women whose stories are at the emotional center of Saving Face: 39-year-old Zakia's husband threw acid on her after she asked for a divorce; 25-year-old Rukhsana's husband and in-laws threw acid and gasoline on her before setting her on fire.

It's impossible to look at the faces of these women and not be profoundly affected. The word "scarred" doesn't even begin to describe it. And though there is some movement toward reforming laws to ensure attackers would face life imprisonment, the situation isn't even close to being anything besides reprehensible. Especially considering that these women, if they survive, often have no access to medical care.

Which makes the work of Dr. Mohammed Jawad all the more encouraging. Also featured in Saving Face, Dr. Jawad is a Pakistan-born plastic surgeon who left a thriving London practice to help the women of his homeland.

But as generous a man and gifted a physician as Jawad may be, he can't fix this problem alone. Hopefully the more people who see Saving Face, the more people will join his crusade.

Did you know anything about acid attacks in Pakistan before Saving Face?


Image via SavingFaceFilms/YouTube

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