Massoumeh Attaie, 35, is an Iranian citizen who was the victim of a brutal acid attack by her father-in-law. She was seeking to divorce her husband but according to Iranian law, her eye’s were equivalent to only one of his. She had blackened her husband’s eye by the move so his father decided to remove both of hers by throwing acid in her face. Attaie never received justice for the attack that has permanently disfigured her face and her ex-husband’s family has threatened to do the same to her son should she decide to press charges; most likely any attempt would be in vain as Iran’s tyrannical regime carries no sympathy for woman such as Attaie.

Somayeh and Rana Mehri following an acid attack in 2011 in Iran Wikimedia

Eight years later, Attaie is blind now but that has not stopped her from bringing joy and wellness into the lives of others. She does not choose to let the brutal transgression define her as a person and has begun pursuing a career in art. Attaie has said, “I chose my son over justice. I don’t want to be known as a victim, I want to be known as an artist,” during an art show in Tehran. The Ashianeh gallery was held to raise awareness and money for other victims and their families of acid attacks like the one she suffered. Of the artists gathered there, many were also blind or scarred and presenting their unique works for the public to see. Attaie herself is an accomplished sculptor who produces bowls and statues.

Attaie now lives with her 12 year old son in Tehran where she gives art classes to other blind people. She proudly declared that she is, “Totally independent,” and, “I hope this exhibition is encouraging for others like us to give them a bit of morale to come out from hiding away in their house and come back to society.”

Attacks like the one Attaie suffered are somewhat common in Iran as they are not lethal and the Iranian Regime generally refuses to take action on the victims behalf. They are often carried out in a manner that caters to Iran’s Islamic law so little to no retribution is ever seen by the victims. In 2014 a series of attacks occurred, specifically targeting woman who were deemed to be wearing “immodest” clothing in public. The most extreme case was in 2011 after a woman, Ameneh Bahrami, had acid thrown in her face and was blinded by a man when she rejected his marriage proposal. This was one of the few case where the Iranian courts granted retribution to the victim after public outcry was heard on a national level. The Iranian courts ordered the man be blinded in both eyes by his victim, but Ameneh Bahrami spared him when it came time to carry out the sentence. Iran’s brutal and primitive justice system led to nationwide protests this past December.
Featured Images Courtesy of Wikimedia