Documentary Review: Saving Face (2012)

By The Gorgeous Palah Chingu

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My Rating : 4.5/5

I am speechless when I watched this documentary. My eyes are swollen just because I can’t stop crying. This documentary is featuring 2 women named Zakia and Rukhsana who has been a victim of domestic violence. They are facing the disfigurement of their entire face by acid attacks committed by their husbands. Is this an act of cowardice? That is what I called it. Zakia who is 49 years old woman suffered a vicious acid attack by her husband. She stated her husband did it out of temper and his addiction to alcoholism and gambling had driven him to do so. Rukhsana, on the other hand, said it happened so fast and her acid attack also involved her own sister and mother in law. Her husband threw acid on her face and body while her sister in law poured a gasoline on her body and her mother in law lit the matches and burned her.

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Zakia
Rukhsana
Rukhsana

It was so touching seeing their member of parliament especially women MP fight for the rights of these acid attack survivors. They argued and presented their bills in the parliaments and eventually, passed the bill. The perpetrators might not get a death penalty as they suggested earlier but they get a life imprisonment sentence for what they did to those poor women. It might not fair (for me at least) but it is one step at a time. By sentencing this fucking bastard (sorry, I can get emotional sometimes), it showed that you will not get away from the crimes that you did to your wife. It will be the lesson that they will not get away with it.

One of the Parliament's members is discussing about the bill.
One of the Parliament’s members is discussing about the bill.

Zakia is the first woman among of possibly thousands of acid attack survivors that wanted justice for her. Her lawyer applauded her bravery saying that it is rare to see these survivors coming upfront and demanded a punishment to be imposed to their criminals. Due to Zakia’s courage, Her lawyer fight for her case without any charge and hopefully, she can use this case to set a precedent in other acid attack’s case. It was heartwarming seeing Zakia’s son and daughter stayed by her side and gave her a moral support. They knew Zakia is innocent and their father should be punished for the crime that they did.

Dr Mohammad Jawad and Zakia
Dr Mohammad Jawad and Zakia

This documentary also featured some interview clips of Zakia’s Husband and Father in Law. Zakia’s husband did not confessed to his crime and claimed that he was indeed innocent. He told the interviewer that someone else did it and he doesn’t know his name. Her father in law on the other hands, blamed Zakia’s Infidelity and she was punished for it. One thing that bothers me is how Zakia’s husband said ‘Whatever happened, it did happen’. What the fucking fuck are you talking about? You just destroyed your wife’s face and future. You already scarred her face and make her suffered for it. While watching this, I suddenly remember one documentary I watched last year. The documentary film of ‘Dancing boy in Afghanistan’ told the story where some of the owner of dancing boy lived a double life. They have their own family, did pray 5 times a day and never ditch it but when the night came, they cheered seeing an 8-12 years old boys dancing and swaying their hips in front of them. At some point, those poor boys have to serve and please them. Seeing Zakia’s husband and father in law acting so pious and blaming the poor woman instead reminded me of them.

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Rukhsana’s husband, on the other hands, told the interviewer a completely different story. He claimed rukhsana had a mental illness and all the burnt scar on her face is caused by her own act. She poured the acid and gasoline oil on her face and body and she herself lit the fire. Nobody did it to her; her husband said it with smile on his face. The interviewer then asked about the burnt scar on his hand, he stated that he got it when he tried to save rukhsana from being burnt alive. Can you believe it? I don’t know how the journalist can handle Rukhsana’s Husband without being angry or enraged. I know they are supposed to be fair and not bias, but still, I was shaking like crazy, held my anger when I saw Rukhsana’s husband said it without any remorse.

Zakia's face after surgery.
Zakia’s face after surgery.

Dr. Mohammad Jawad, a plastic surgeon who lived in UK returned to his homeland, Pakistan just to help those victims to recover back what is left on their face. He did say he was angry but he try not to think about his anger and try to help them instead. He said that mostly those victims are very young and in the age range of 12-40. The perpetrators usually are their husbands, relatives or someone who is jealous and wanted to have revenge. There are series of interview clips showing that the victim told their story of how they got attacked and why the perpetrators did it. I still am in shock seeing how petty and coward those perpetrators are. Just because, she rejected your proposal or does not follow your order, you poured the acid on her. I just can’t believe it.

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