“Mom, which would be worse, to have acid thrown in your face or have your nose cut off?”
My son has a penchant for proposing these kinds of grotesque thought experiments, but he’s more sensitive than it might seem. He refuses to watch movies with torture scenes in them and is distressed if he sees anyone smack a dog. And he has very strong feelings about gender violence. He is of course getting exposed unwittingly to anti-Taliban propaganda, or human rights reporting about violence against women, whichever way you want to look at it.
The comment above came one morning recently after seeing last month’s Time Magazine on a newsstand and then hearing a report on violence against women in Pakistan the next day, where acid attacks have become so frequent that the government is passing a bill to prevent them. As the Times reports today, acid attacks – which are sometimes a response to as well as a form of family violence – occur not just in Pakistan and India but in parts of Southeast Asia as well. Oh, and also Arizona.
I leave it to readers to debate how precisely a parent might respond to such questions.