Men in Columbia Attacking Women by Throwing Acid in their Faces
Over the past three years, the cases of Colombian women being assaulted is on the rise. But not just any assaults. At least 250 women have been doused in the face with acid leading to severe injuries, medical bills and physical and emotional scars. The attacks are baffling the police, who are at a loss for how to stop the horror and trauma that has women petrified.
The most recognized of such cases is probably that of Maria Fernanda Nuñez, the Colombian beauty pageant contestant who was attacked after returning home from a rehearsal in 2010. An unknown attacker doused her face with acid, searing her skin, nose and lips and severely damaging a cornea.
The punishment for these attacks are usually very short which has caused calls for tougher penalties for all offenders. Some feel that the violence and lack of punishment are due to serious underlying problems in the way women are being treated. Olga Rubio, a Bogota councilwoman, said the assaults are indicative of the discrimination and violence women face in Colombia.
“An attack suspect can only be arrested if the victim spends over thirty days in recovery,” police commander Jorge Ivan Florez told Colombia Reports. Nuñez was hospitalized for 20 days, so there was no arrest for her attack.
Those found guilty of an acid attack are generally sentenced to between six months and two years in prison, according to Colombian news site InfoSur. Critics feel that such a sentence is far too short for a crime so despicable and harmful to others.
One Colombian Congresswoman, Gloria Stella Díaz, has introduced a bill that would increase sentencing from eight to 20 years. The bill is gaining support after an increase in the number and severity attacks.
The reason for the spike in such attacks is unknown, but those pushing for the bill hope that tougher punishment will be a deterrent for would-be attackers.