Stalker spills acid on young beauty
By Victoria Inganji and Mesrach Ayele
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ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia- Kamilat Muhisin, 21, lies at theYekatit 12 Hospital, her face, chin, neck and chest severely disfigured from acid burns, a result of an acid attack by a man whose romantic advances were not reciprocated by Kamilat.
Kamilat before the incident
Kamilat after the incident
Kamilat’s hands were also badly burnt and subsequently deformed had a wonderful life and saw a bright future ahead of her. She worked in a private company of her parents, graduated from St. Mary college in 2004 with a diploma in secretarial science. Her life was on a roll but today she suffers in agony due to the battery acid that was spilt on her face and chest region about one and a half months ago, by a young man who told her repeatedly, “I am in love with you.”?
“A man came from nowhere, and spilt acid on my face, and some of the acid touched a part of my sisters’ face, as well’, Kamilat says explaining how she and her sister were attacked while returning from work late one night.
Kamilat had known the assailant for about five to six years, as a friend. But with time his attitude started to change. ” He used to stalk me all the time, by following me everywhere I go, sometimes he even knew what I ate and drank,”? she said.
Her assailant with his friends would also assault her after she rejected his romantic approaches. “He even threatened me by grabbing my hand one day and placing a bomb in my hands, to show me the extent of his madness and then he calls that love,”? she sobs among the constant pain from the acid burns.
Besides the constant physical abuse, her assailant would try his knack at imparting mental pain as well by beating her in front of her friends, especially young men, the particular young man, would put her to shame by beating her up in public and then beat her friends, so that they too could suffer the consequences of being associated with her. Describing that fateful night she said, “The moment the liquid was spilt on my face, I didn’t know that it was acid until it started burning my eyes. It just happened within a matter of seconds. So my immediate reaction was to try and clear it from my face, with my hands and that was when it burned my eyes entirely.”?
“When my parents arrived, they put some water on my face to cool the burning and rushed us all to hospital,”? she said.
The next day Demesew, her assailant came to the hospital she was admitted in, to see her. When he insisted on visiting her, a nurse came in and told her that someone by the name Demesew wanted to see her. Upon knowing of his identity, the nurses told him to wait outside as Kemilat called her brothers, so they could call the police. He has been in custody since then.
She has gone through the first surgery in her eyes, and is still waiting for the other surgeries to follow. She was not able to see during the interview due to the surgery she had.
Kemilat now lies in her bed feeling miserable, about what had happened to her and is constantly disturbed about what will become of her future. She often finds it difficult to express herself because of the pain she was having. She does not want to think about the past, but has left it to the judgment of God.
“Though the worst thing of all is I’ll never ever have the same face again, I just want to get rid of this pain I’m feeling right now and leave the rest to God”?.
Dr. Yohannes Demissie, Kemilats’ doctor, is a Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon at the Yekatit 12 Hospital. Regarding Kemilats’ case, he says that he knows she has undergone a great deal of pain, physically and mentally, though unfortunately psychotherapists are what most hospitals lack in Ethiopia. “The main problem is when we tell patients to go back into the society, they start judging them with the way they look due to the physical scars on their faces and on the rest of their bodies, and that is usually a big trauma for them, and most of all a challenge they would have to face.”?
According to the doctor, Kemilat’s whole face including her forehead and chest region were burnt. So if you consider the levels of degree of her burns they were of about 5%, which were not high if you look at it in terms of percentage. Though considering the fact the face is the most important part of the body, and the whole of it was burnt, it will definitely affect her psychologically for the rest of her life.
The acid disfigured her face and caused a discoloration in her skin, and he said that she had also lost her hairline on the forehead, therefore the hair would not grow again. Another problem was that the acid destroyed the function of the eyes. He said that the only way they were going to give her surgery is when he first control the infection in the eyes. When he was treating the eyes from infection, both eyelids could not come down due to the scarring of the face. As a result, she could not close both her eyes.
After the incident, she went into surgery on the 5th of March 2007 ,on both her upper eyelids, so she could at least close her eyes. He says he still would have to perform another surgery on her lower eyelids. Another effect was her nose, which will also need skin grafting, and her ear was infected as well. even though the skin heals, there will always be deformity in the face.
The doctor did raise hopes that plastic surgery would put her back into shape, though she will still need to have multiple surgeries, and that would be extremely costly.
Mrs. Shewaye Takele, Coordinator of Ethiopian Women Lawyers Association (EWLA) said that the association was following kamilat’s case, the trial system and are thinking of organizing a fund raising program. She also said that the association is making sure that the case is going according to the law and if not they will inform the public prosecutor about it. According to Shewaye if prosecuted the perpetuator might face between 15 to 25 years of imprisonment. The case was adjured and would reconvene on March 12, 2007. The charge brought against the assailant is attempted homicide and the law is clear about it that the public prosecutor is in charge. She has also said that they are working on creating awareness on people particularly on women and girls.
The family of Kamilat Mehdin has opened a bank account for those who are interested in helping to pay Kamilat’s medical expense abroad:
The Commercial Bank of Ethiopia,
Paulos Branch, Addis Ababab, Ethiopia
account number 27645.
Those who want to contact her brother, his name is Ismael Mehdin, his mobile no is +251911211190.
Source: The Sub-Saharan Informer