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Michelle Obama honors Indian acid attack victim with ‘Women of Courage’ award

- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 5, 2014

First Lady Michelle Obama awarded Indian acid attack victim Laxmi and nine other "extraordinary women" with the International Women of Courage Award at the U.S. State Department on Tuesday.

Laxmi, who has led the movement to end acid attacks against women, recited a poem recounting her horrific experience, the Times of India reported.

"You haven't thrown acid on my face; you threw it on my dreams. You didn't have love in your heart; you had acid in it," she recited in Hindi after receiving the award along with several other women, the newspaper said.

Laxmi was 16 when a friend's brother threw acid on her face for ignoring his romantic advances. She was disfigured permanently.

Women from Afghanistan, Ukraine and other countries are among the 10 awardees.

"When we see these women raise their voices and move their feet and empower others to create change, we need to realize that each of us has that same power and that same obligation," Mrs. Obama said in her speech.

"And as I learned about this year's honorees and I thought about how we could support their work, I realized that for most of these women, there is a common foundation for their efforts. It's a foundation of education," she said.

Deputy Secretary of State Heather Higginbottom said that many acid attack victims are women, and many of them commit suicide.

"Acid attacks are committed almost exclusively on women, particularly on young women," she said, the Times reported. "Many of the victims feel they have no choice but to withdraw from society or even commit suicide, and they're more common than you might realize, in part because it's such an easy weapon to get your hands on."

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