Survivor stories

Deb Da, Cambodia

Since his father died, Deb Da has been living with his mother and younger brother. In order to earn a small income, Deb Da’s mother and Deb Da helped their neighbour Mr. Som on his rice plantation. Mr. Som’s ex-wife viewed this with jealousy and with the help of two men, she decided to punish Deb Da’s mother by throwing acid on her.

Deb Da’s mother was attacked with three litres of acid, which was thrown over her and poured into her mouth. This attack resulted in such horrible injuries, that she died within 15 minutes of the attack.

Deb Da also suffered severe burns caused by acid splashed onto his face. His aunt and neighbours poured water on him, and sent him to the district hospital the next morning, which referred him to the provincial hospital. There, the doctor merely gave him dressings before sending him to a children’s hospital where he received treatment for 3 months.

A while later, the organisation World Vision visited him and picked him and his young brother up to stay at their centre at Phnom Penh. They provided him and his brother with all necessary supplies and paid their school fees. In May 2008, World Vision contacted ASTI’s partner in Cambodia, Cambodian Acid Survivors Charity (CASC), regarding Deb Da, and he was admitted to CASC for medical treatment.

At only 20 years of age, Deb Da is still young and with CASC’s support, Deb Da should be able to find a decent job, support himself and become independent.

Mrs. Hom, the main perpetrator of the attack, was arrested and the principal court sentenced her to 18 years in prison. One of her two male assistants in the attack, Mr. Put, was also sentenced to 3 years in prison.

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