Acid attacks are occurring with alarming frequency in London, with nearly 1,500 recorded since 2011, British media reports.
A third of the attacks alone were committed in 2016, which itself was up 250 percent from the previous year. The attacks are notoriously used occasionally in the Islamic world by angry suitors seeking revenge on women who rebuff marriage proposals, or commit other “shameful” acts. Charities consulted by British media said 80 percent of all acid attack victims globally are women.
London, however, has the opposite trend. Nearly 80 percent of acid attack victims in the city are men.
“Looking at the data in general, there is a fairly large probability that a high percentage of the incidents are male-on-male attacks and most likely to be gang-related,” Jaf Shah, the executive director of the support group Acid Survivors Trust International (ASTI), told the Guardian.
“There does seem to be an increase in reporting of acid violence in Europe and the U.S.,” Shah continued to the Guardian. A London-based estate agent confronted two gang members outside his shop in November 2016 before they took out a squirt bottle full of acid and significantly wounded his face. As the attack was unfolding, the victim was told not to fight back because his attackers “have more bottles.” The story may indicate how London gangs weaponize the acid in lieu of other weapons that are heavily restricted in the city of London.
“Acid is used as an extreme mark of dominance. It’s letting the individual know I haven’t killed you, but it’s almost worse than that, it’s a mark – on your face. It’s a sinister legacy,” one former UK gang member told the Mirror.
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