Hasina is from Narayanganj District-50 kilometer from Dhaka. In 2004, when she was 17 years of age an agricultural laborer whom she used to call uncle (kaka) and Hasina had an argument over the use of tube well water. On the same day he threw acid on her while she was sleeping with her siblings in her own house.

“I didn’t realize what it was at first, it just felt like something warm but with sharp burning sensation, and I immediately ran to my mother. No one knew what to do as I was rolling on the ground and screaming for help”.

Hasina was admitted to Dhaka Medical College Hospital where she was under treatment for four months. “I was admitted to Dhaka Medical College Hospital where I was under treatment for four months. During that time I kept thinking that I was already in hell and facing excruciating pain which was not improving. When they were changing my dressings the pain was so intolerable that I would not be able to find the words to describe it.”

After the treatment, her face, one eye, one ear was destroyed. DMCH discharged her with raw wounds because there were other patients waiting to be admitted. After she was discharged from DMCH, Hasina was taken to ASF where she received post operative nursing care for two months.

“Once there was a wedding in our village,my cousins asked me to go and I refused because I said I could not bear to hear the comments people would make. They still insisted that I attend but then a chichi (elder) from the village came up to me three times because she believed that my presence at the wedding was unlucky for the bride and she insisted that I leave before the groom arrived. I kept refusing, but the fourth time she said this, I finally left”

When Hasina returned home she was surprised by how people started to treat her differently because of the way she looked. They would comment on the attack by making remarks such as “why is she alive? What will happen to her parents? Who will marry her?”

Hasina’s younger brother had to hear from many people “surely there must have been something wrong with Hasina for this to have happened to her?” She faced many situations where she was shunned and people refrained from asking her to attend social events. One of Hasina’s friend’s mother did not allow her pregnant daughter to see Hasina because she feared that the child might be born looking like Hasina. As a result of this Hasina avoided getting out the house and always kept herself covered up.

“Once there was a wedding in our village,my cousins asked me to go and I refused because I said I could not bear to hear the comments people would make. They still insisted that I attend but then a chichi (elder) from the village came up to me three times because she believed that my presence at the wedding was unlucky for the bride and she insisted that I leave before the groom arrived. I kept refusing, but the fourth time she said this, I finally left”

“Once there was a wedding in our village, my cousins asked me to go and I refused because I said I could not bear to hear the comments people would make. They still insisted that I attend but then a chachi (elder) from the village came up to me three times because she believed that my presence at the wedding was unlucky for the bride and she insisted that I leave before the groom arrived. I kept refusing, but the fourth time she said this, I finally left” Hasina did not want to remain in a community where she was not socially accepted and continually faced objections from community members that restricted her movement in public. At this point Hasina left home and came back to ASF. In 2006 Hasina joined ASF’s legal unit as an Intern and by September 2009 Hasina became a regular employee of ASF and started to work as an assistant in the Notification and Referral Unit. During her work in the legal unit Hasina started to take more interest in her own case and wanted to know more about it.

“My father filed a case immediately after my incident. But on the one hand, he used to pay two people to attend to me in DMCH, on the other he had to pay the police to continue with the investigations. He could not work out whether the priority should be my emergency medical bills (my survival), or seeking legal accountability and redress for violation of my rights. In this situation, my father stopped paying off the police. As a result I found my case was not going anywhere.” Hasina discussed the matter with the lawyers in ASF, and they went to the field and found out that her case had been filed, and the summons had been issued but not returned. Hasina’s father informed her that no summons has been served. “My father had to sell various assets to help bear the cost of keeping me in the hospital. Now when I was ready to pursue the cases again, and I asked my father to follow it up he said there is no point asking for justice anymore, he believed that nothing would come out of pursuing legal action after so much time has gone by.”

Some months later, ASF arranged an interview with the Daily Prothom Alo the leading Bangla newspaper on the occasion of International Women’s day. Hasina’s picture came out in the papers, and so did her comments on police corruption and the failure to arrest those responsible. The then Inspector General of Police, Nur Mohamed, saw the story and was distraught at how a girl’s life has been destroyed. He gave an order for an arrest to be made within 24 hours.
“My case was at a standstill for three years and suddenly the perpetrator was arrested within 24 hours and ultimately convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment in 2008.” In 2011 Hasina was able to get a government job at the Upazila Land Office. Hasina has finally found a place in society where she is accepted for who she is. “The Upazila Land Office has a good working environment and my colleagues are very nice. I do not face any discrimination and I am encouraged by my colleagues and supervisors to live a normal life and not to feel like I am disabled in any way” Hasina is continuing her education along with working full time. She has just completed her H.S.C from Bangladesh Open University and is currently in first year of Intermediate. Hasina has proven to be an inspiration for not only acid victims but all women in Bangladesh who have to overcome society’s barriers to pursue their dreams.