This essay defines the spread of acid attacks in South Asia and other regions, where disputes over land, inheritances, dowries, and declined marriage proposals often arouse greed and jealousy and lead to violence. Acid attacks are profoundly vicious crimes, the more so because the perpetrators intend to deface the victims rather than kill them. Easily obtained and cheap, acid is thrown at women, who are disfigured, often blinded, and severely traumatized. The lives of many Bangladeshi women, deprived of free choice and independence in this way, have been destroyed. Govindnathan's paintings attempt to find beauty in the hideous, to look beyond judgment without undermining the victims' struggle for freedom and dignity.

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