From reality to comics: New book features acid-attack survivors to highlight sexual violence, gender equality

From reality to comics: New book features acid-attack survivors to highlight sexual violence, gender equality

The comic book was funded by the World Bank’s WEvolve Global Initiative, which is aimed at changing attitudes and behaviours that lead to gender inequities, including gender violence.

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The comic book is a sequel to Priya’s Shakti and features acid-attack survivors from Sonia Choudhary, Monica Singh, Lakshmi and Natalia Ponce de Leon. (Source: Illustration by Dan Goldm)

Superhero comic books are no more about fictional characters. In present-day world, when adversities are high, common man and women have risen under extraordinary circumstances and became the superheroes the world needs today.

Committed to tell tales about real life heroes who have fought all odds, Indian comic novel Priya Shakti is back with their second book. Priya Shakti that was launched two years ago was about a rape survivor-turned-superhero who took on her abusers. It was the first book of its kind. The comic book highlighted the story of a young rural woman who is gangraped and consequently shamed by her family and community.

WATCH VIDEO: Woman Gangraped In Mumbai, 7 Out Of 8 Accused Arrested

Now, the creators have come out with a sequel, ‘Priya’s Mirror’ and have dedicated it to the cause and fight for acid attack victims. Funded by the World Bank, the new comic book focuses on the pertinent cause of acid attacks in India and tackles the problem of gender violence around the world.


“Creators Ram Devineni and Dan Goldman are presenting the innovative comic book, which uses the leading augmented reality APP Blippar to make animation, videos, real-life stories, and other interactive elements come to life,” the official press release said.

The initiative is joined by a UN Women’s Global Youth Champion, Monica Singh who is also a co-creator of the comic book. Singh, who was also an acid-attack victim, has shared her resilient experience of surviving the brutal attack and then creating a success story by becoming a renowned fashion designer. “As one of the characters in Priya’s Mirror, and through my own endeavors; I hope to inspire other women, who have gone through similar violent attacks, to find courage and confidence,” Singh said.

The comic book which has created a perfect assemblage of ancient mythological tales and modern day powerful women who fights against social evils and tyranny has been a powerful mass medium. In the recent book, it tells the “story of Priya—a mortal woman and gang-rape survivour—who join forces with a group of acid attack survivours as they fight against the demon-king, Ahankar.

The book also features global icons that have fought against the gruesome attack. Natalia Ponce de Leon, who had a liter of sulfuric acid thrown over her face and body by a man who she had never spoken to in Bagota, Columbia is also part of the book. She believes that the book will serve as a creative tool to educate younger generations about gender equality.

The book also features stories based on the lives of Laxmi and Sonia Choudhary, who are pioneers of the Stop Acid Attack movement in India.

Founder and CEO of Blippar, Ambarish Mitra said, “We are thrilled to partner on the next edition, Priya’s Mirror, and bring the issue of sexual violence to the forefront. Technology is being used here as the vehicle of engagement driving impactful social-change and this is extremely powerful.”

The first comic book that was inspired by the gory 2012 Nirbhaya gangrape was also honoured by the UN Women as a “gender equality champion” was immensely popular and downloaded over 5,00,000 times. The comic book also inspired various wall murals across the country and became a powerful symbol of fighting evil in today’s world.

The comic book which was launched earlier this month at the New York Film Festival is free in every digital format and is available in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and Hindi. The book is set to release in India during the Mumbai Comic Con festival that will be held on October 22 and 23.