Internet Rallies Behind Young Acid Attack Survivor Documenting Her Recovery Online

"I have two main priorities: to make a full recovery and to make sure no one ever goes through the living nightmare I have endured."

In June, Resham Khan and her cousin, Jameel Muhktar, were out celebrating her 21st birthday in London when the pair had acid thrown on them by a stranger as they were sitting in a car. Her alleged assailant has been charged, and, according to The Wharf, his trial will commence in November.

Since the incident, Khan has been documenting nearly every aspect of her recovery via her blog, Resham Online,Twitter, and GoFundMe, where a friend helped her raise money to help with her recovery. In an August entry, she detailed the extensive recovery that still lies ahead of her, going through each part of her body — face, shoulders, neck — that was impacted.



A screenshot of Khan's crowdfunding page. Months later, people continue to donate.
A screenshot of Khan's crowdfunding page. Months later, people continue to donate. www.gofundme.com

Khan also mentioned being mentally "up and down" and physically dealing with the demands of various skin grafts, suggesting she wasn't ready to share photographs of herself just yet.

However, the young business student apparently had a change of heart and shared several photos of herself celebrating the Muslim holiday of Eid on September 2. The photos, which you can see above, show one side of Khan's face and her hands, which seem to be healing well.

"I shared the photos because I felt great," she told A Plus in an email. "I missed uploading photos frequently, I missed being dressed and done up. I'm a young woman that usually takes pride in her appearance and I hadn't done anything like it in months. I spent my 21st in a hospital gown when I should have been pampered in a spa followed by being dressed up in central London for dinner with my mum. I needed a change. I only took the photos as I had applied makeup, and for the first time in a long time I recognized my old self... I see the world go by, my friends dress up, and it was Eid, that's all I had seen all day. I just wanted to be a part of it again. 

After many remarked there was "no sign" of the impact the attack had on her body, Khan pointed out that the images she posted only show one side of her face. She also told someone who asked if she was fully recovered that she still has "two years of recovery to go."

"My life has now been affected in more ways than I could have ever been imagined," she told A Plus. "People don't realize that as soon as I apply for a job and a prospective employer Google's me, they'll see the pain I've been through. I wanted to be known for me, my personality, my morals, not as a victim. That's why I have tried so hard to remain confident and turn this negative ordeal into a positive one."

Though the attack left Khan "devastated" and fearful to go outside, she has used her experience as a motivator to help others and to change corrosive substance laws in the U.K. 

"Currently, I have two main priorities: to make a full recovery and to make sure no one ever goes through the living nightmare I have endured," she declared in a blog post shortly after the life-changing incident. "I cannot sit back whilst others remain indoors in fear of this happening to them. This problem needs to be eliminated. I refuse to allow the country I grew up in to simply get used to corrosive substance attacks. The fear is real. The crime is real."

According to The BBC, Khan has since lobbied the government to discuss acid attacks in Parliament. The outlet also notes she has spoken to the Home Office (a government department), and received backing from 35 MPs. In addition, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick has pledged to look into the issue in London. Meanwhile, a Change.org petition to stop the purchase of acid without a license has been started in Resham's name. It currently has over half of the necessary million signatures. 

 I think being mindful towards survivors is key," Khan told A Plus. "Every survivor is different and would probably prefer a different approach... I want the world to understand, I want the world to see just what such attacks can do to people, but I also don't want the world to pity me. I am more than just the attack."

A post shared by Resh (@reshkhan_) on

A photo of Resham Khan months before she was attacked with acid in London.

The U.K. is actually ahead of many countries regarding how it handles acid attacks and provides support for victims. Acid Survivors Trust International, for example, is a U.K.-based charity and the only international organization whose sole purpose is to end acid violence at a global level.

As Khan wrote on Twitter on September 1, "I look back and wonder how I was ever sad. I literally have the whole world by my side."



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