Juliette: Acid Attack Survivor, Amazing Woman
Susan notes: I found Juliette's story on the ode exchange where it had been posted by Vicky Collins, a Colorado-based TV producer and photographer, who graciously gave me permission to post it on AWR. Collins asked me to credit HDNet World Report, which looks to me like a very cool news resource.
See an inspiring video of Juliette at the end of this story.
Juliette dreams of someday marrying a nice man.
One unlike the monster who poured acid on her in a jealous rage in July 2007.
We are sitting with this young woman, just 19 years old, on a porch near a church in Kampala, Uganda. Juliette is beautiful on the side of her face that she shows to the world. Her eyes are bright and she has a radiant smile. The other side of her face she covers with long braids.
It prevents the fearful looks from those who pass her by. It covers the half of her face that was destroyed in the brutal acid attack that sent her to the hospital for five months and disfigured her for life. “I open?” she asks. She lifts her hair to show what remains and tells her story.
Juliette says there are hundreds of women in Kampala who have suffered a similar fate to hers. In the ward where she recovered there were 30.
As is often the case, the man who attacked Juliette was never prosecuted, but because of the courageous testimonies of women like Juliette, this most brutal of human rights abuses is being exposed. Juliette walks in the world and hopes people will look past her damaged face and see the beauty inside her.
She sings songs that honor God and Africa. She finds comfort in Jesus and her church, in an acid survivors support group and in BeadforLife (www.beadforlife.org), which has taught her to make bead jewelry so she can earn a living and take care of herself and her daughter.
Juliette hopes a doctor will one day help repair the damage from the attack, and even dreams she will be married someday. She begs people not to reject victims of acid attacks.
And Juliette plans to give back to others too. “In my future, I’d like to help orphanage, lame people, widow. I want to help some of them when I’m somebody, I’m somewhere. I’d like to help to show them they’re still someone. They can do more. They can go somewhere."