Their faces and bodies may bear the ugly scars of acid attack, but their determination to overcome the stigma and have a dignified existence has not been dented.
Several women acid attack survivors tried to spread this message as they walked the ramp at a fashion show here yesterday to sensitise people to stop such crimes and launch a campaign against the illegal sale of acid.
Laxmi Agarwal, an acid attack survivor and a TV host who speaks for the rights of women who have gone through a similar ordeal, said her scars are a reminder of the narrow- minded approach of the society, but her grit and determination to live keeps motivating her every day.
"As an acid attack survivor, it was and it is a challenge to start everything from zero. It's difficult to concentrate on anything when a part of your body is still burning from inside," said Agarwal, who was a guest at the fashion show held at the Vivianna Mall on the eve of the Women's Day.
Nevertheless, she felt there was hope to create a safer society that gives equal opportunities to everyone.
"We are proud to be women and no one can rob us of that title, which stands for love and peace," she said.
A man had hurled acid on Agarwal in 2005 when she was 15 years old after she spurned his advances.
Later, she launched a campaign against acid attacks and to curb the illegal sale of acid.
Some of the other acid attack survivors also narrated the sufferings that they underwent, but all of them expressed their resolve to fight for justice and create a safer society for women.
An official of the mall said the objective of the event was to create awareness about the safety of women and create pathways for them towards success.
The mall was also open to creating job opportunities for the acid attack survivors, the official said.