How This Acid Attack Survivor Learned To Feel Beautiful After Her Face Was 'Stolen'

"I would like to dispel the myth that I am my scars."

Regardless of the size, shape, or placement of scars, it can be difficult for some people to accept these permanent changes on their bodies. But in a new video for Allure, acid attack survivor Monica Singh is proving that you can learn to embrace them. 

The video is part of Allure's video series Dispelling Beauty Myths in which women share their personal experiences finding love and self-confidence. In the past, they've featured a woman with vitiligo, a breast cancer survivor, and a woman who is 6 foot 2 inches tall

In this video, Singh shares that she grew up "pampered by her parents" and considered herself to be beautiful, based on society's standards. She was used to being asked out by guys. "I was very much [a] tomboy person and always used to say, 'yeah, not interested' or something like that," she said. 

Singh went on to study fashion design. After her first year in school, she went home for the summer to spend time with friends and family. One night when Singh was driving home after a night out, she saw a man who had been stalking and harassing her for the past five years. Singh had no interest in dating him. "It was a one-sided love affair for him," she said. 

The man got her to stop her car, and before she knew it, two other guys threw what Singh thought was coffee on her face and body. "But then it turned out to be an acid," she said. "My entire upper torso, 70 percent of my face, legs, arms, everything." 

Singh went through operations for eight years and had 46 reconstructive plastic surgeries. She finished her degree, but found it difficult to find a job in fashion because of her scars. 

She covered her face for years until, one day, her dad encouraged her to show her face at a party. "My dad told me that if you face 600 people tonight, you can face the world. People will look at you once. They will look at you a second day. They will look at you a third day or fourth day, but the fifth day, you will become old news and nobody is going to care how you look anymore,'" Singh said. After that, her dad helped her to show her face in public with confidence. 

"The fact of beauty comes in my life when people see that I'm living my life," she said. "Now I accept my face and people see I have a smile, regardless if it's an asymmetrical smile. I don't care. I feel beautiful." 

At the end of the video, she proudly makes this declaration: "My name is Monica Singh and I would like to dispel the myth that I am my scars." 

You can watch the video below:

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On YouTube, many commenters felt emotional hearing about Singh's experience and found her incredible strength inspiring. 

"I would like to tell her that God, you are so fricking strong! And wow, just wow. You seem like a wonderful being. I'd like to kick as hard as I can that horrible being that someone might even call man. But this kind of feeling doesn't help anyone. The focus should be on you and you only. KEEP UP!!!! I really hope you'll read this and feel just a tiny bit better," one commenter wrote

"You are an amazingly strong and beautiful woman! I am so glad you didn't let the evil that was done to you touch you for you are everything that is pure and good! God bless you and Thank You for sharing your story! You are an inspiration to women everywhere!" another wrote

"This was my first cry for the day. And I would hire her in a heartbeat. I'm more interested in strong women who are survivors with life experience, than a perfect face/body with nothing behind it. Substance >>>> Perfection," another wrote

Singh sharing her experience helps to bring awareness to acid violence and how this heinous crime affects victims. About 1,500 acid attacks are reported around the world each year, according to the BBC and the Acid Survivors Trust International

"The victims of acid violence are overwhelmingly women and children, and attackers often target the head and face in order to maim, disfigure and blind," according to the Acid Survivors Trust International's website. "The act rarely kills but causes severe physical, psychological and social scarring, and victims are often left with no legal recourse, limited access to medical or psychological assistance, and without the means to support themselves. Acid violence is a worldwide phenomenon that is not restricted to a particular race, religion or geographical location." 

Many others are working to bring awareness to this issue by sharing their personal experiences with acid violence, participating in campaigns such as the #StopAcidAttacks movement and the Make Love Not Scars campaign, and by employing acid attack survivors.

To learn more about how you can help, visit acidviolence.org and stopacidattacks.org.

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