Exploring the trauma of acid attack victims: a qualitative enquiry

Elsevier, Women's Studies International Forum, Volume 88, 1 September 2021
Mittal S., Singh T., Verma S.K.
Various researches have been carried out in the past to understand psychological trauma that suggest that gender differences can be observed in the type, prevalence, and impact of trauma. Ample evidence exists that indicates that women are often the target of different kinds of gender-based violence, causing them to experience physical and psychological trauma. However, the trauma associated with one such gender-based crime, acid attack, has been less explored and lacks due representation in media and literature. Moreover, trauma has mostly been studied from a clinical perspective. Hence the present research was conducted on 30 female acid attack victims to explore their experience of the trauma of acid attack from a social constructivist approach. Narratives focusing on their victimization experience and trauma were collected and analyzed with the help of a six-step thematic content analysis approach. Based on the patterns identified in the research, six significant sources of trauma associated with acid attack, with inter-related but mutually exclusive subthemes, were identified. These sources include violence, motive, social statement, betrayal, violation of civil rights, and embodiment. The present study increases the visibility of acid victims in scientific research and contributes to the understanding of psychologists, counselors, and other mental health professionals that might work with them.