Agra City, India is the location of a famous Café Sheroes hangout that is attracting national and international attention. Although each young woman who works there has her own story, they have one experience in common: every single one of them has had acid poured on her face and body. Sometimes it was an act of revenge for alleged unrequited love and sometimes it was just an act prompted by brokenness, evil, and envy. Every year, more cases of acid throwing are being brought to light and often one single attack can hurt multiple women at the same time.
The attacker’s intention is that the woman dies or be limited to a life of begging. In case of survival, many of these women would never be able to have children or even support themselves financially.
The attacker usually gets a prison sentence ranging from 10 years to life for this merciless act of violence, but that doesn’t even come close to offering some sort of reparation. The damage done is virtually irreparable and the young woman’s life is changed forever. The scars that remain are not only physical; the emotional and mental repercussion is equally hard to heal.
One young man believes that attackers should be burned alive or hanged in the street, that way other men would think twice before selfishly trying to destroy a woman’s life.
With their faces disfigured beyond recognition many of these young women feel that their life has been stolen from them. Some of them suffer from being ostracized by their communities as being too ugly to be considered human. Many of these women believe that they are no longer worthy of marriage and a career because of their physical scars and the rejection they suffer. Add to that the constant fear that their attacker may escape from prison, and it’s a recipe for deep depression and anxiety.
When these women reach this point of hopelessness, Café Sheroes comes to their rescue. The place is run by acid attack survivors who prove that a woman is able to rebuild her life even after such a horrific ordeal. The purpose of the program is to help these women through the mourning period, while at the same time teaching them to love and accept themselves. They are led to discover that the only thing that has changed is the outside, but their essence and inner beauty remain intact. In the end, that’s the most valuable and long-lasting kind of beauty there is.