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Acid attacks are a legitimate problem in India. Data shows that in 2014 alone, 309 people reported an attack, up from 66 in 2013. Among these numbers, it is estimated that just a third of victims are men, due to acid being a common weapon used against women who thwart male advances. Horrifying? Yes. But there are women who are moving on, and not letting the actions of their attackers get the better of them. They’re also fighting.

We told you about Reshma Quereshi, the 18-year-old woman who was attacked with acid by her own brother-in-law and two other men. She was given an emotional and tear-worthy makeover, and later she gave us all beauty lessons. The message was akin to you may have hurt me, but I’m not broken. She now works with Make Love Not Scars, a group that’s hoping to end the sale of over-the-counter acid.

Most recently, another victim of acid assault has thrust into the spotlight – she was attacked 10 years ago by a man and his friend, after she denied his proposal. Her name is Laxmi Agarwal, and she’s the new face of a fashion campaign for Viva N Diva titled “Face of Courage.”

And she looks beautiful:

lax

More than that, she’s a fighter; a saviour. She’s now 26, and she’s an activist and an advocate for women who have suffered similar, gendered abuse. In 2013, she was essential in a Supreme Court judgment that led to harsher restrictions on sales of acid. Basically, she’s kicking ass and taking names.

No one deserves to have acid flung at them, ever. But we’re deeply moved by the courage exhibited in these women, and we hope their stories encourage other women to do the same.

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