US First Lady felicitates Indian acid attack victim Laxmi

Washington: "You hold the acid that charred my dreams. You will hear and you will be told that the face you burned is the face I love now. You will hear about me in the
us first lady felicitates indian acid attack...
IANS March 05, 2014 11:53 IST
Washington: "You hold the acid that charred my dreams. You will hear and you will be told that the face you burned is the face I love now. You will hear about me in the darkness of confinement."

So said Laxmi, a "Stop Acid Attacks" campaigner from India in her first poem recalling the horror when at age 16 her friend's brother threw acid on her face when she refused his advances.

"The time will be burdened for you. Then you will know that I am alive, free and thriving and living my dreams," she said Tuesday as she was honoured by US first lady Michelle Obama with nine other "extraordinary women" from 10 countries with the 2014 Secretary of State's International Women of Courage Award.

"When we see these women raise their voices, and move their feet and empower others to create change, we need to realise that each of us has that same power, and that same obligation," said Obama at the State Department ceremony.

Catherine M. Russell, US ambassador-at-large for global women's issues, thanking Laxmi for "what you did" told her that her "poem was beautiful and your spirit, obviously, has not been crushed by what happened to you".

Deputy secretary of State Heather Higginbottom, who presented the awards, recalled that last year the US "honoured the memory of a tremendous young Indian woman known simply as Nirbhaya", a victim of the 2012 gang rape in a Delhi bus.

"This tragedy sparked outrage and inspired people all over the world to come together to say no more looking the other way when gender-based violence happens, no more stigma against victim or survivors," she said.

 
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