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In India, selling acid to anyone under 18 is banned. These 4 women can explain why.

How the Sheroes' Hangout empowers women everywhere.

Note: This story contains descriptions of gender-based violence.

20 years ago, Geeta Mahor was asleep with her two toddler daughters when her husband poured acid on them.

His reasoning? He was upset that she hadn’t brought him a son. Her 3-year-old daughter, Neetu, was left blind while her 1-year-old daughter, Krishna, died as a result of the burns a few weeks after the incident.


Over a decade later, Geeta — now more noticeable because of her scars — was approached by a member of India’s Stop Acid Attacks campaign. The group helped Geeta start a small kitchen to support herself, which eventually turned into a venue where survivors of acid attacks could redefine themselves as change-makers and heroines.

Geeta Mohr. All photos taken by Amund Bakke Foss and used with permission.

Acid attacks are heinous, gender-based crimes that are becoming more common in India.

In fact, India now has one of the highest rates of gender-based acid violence worldwide. According to a 2011 study, 72% of the cases reported in India from 2002 to 2010 included at least one female victim. In most of these cases, the perpetrators were men. While there are no exact recent figures available for India, in 2014 the Acid Survivors Foundation India documented 394 acid attacks nationwide, which triples the figures documented from the previous year.

"This number can be attributed to more women coming out and complaining about the crime, better mechanism of documenting the crime and the police's improved attitude towards handling the cases more seriously," said Janhavi Dave, a feminist activist working on gender and livelihood issues in India.

Agra, a city in the Uttar Pradesh state of northern India, is home to the kitchen that Geeta opened years ago, now called Sheroes’ Hangout.

Sheroes’ Hangout café in the city of Agra.

Sheroes’ Hangout, launched in late 2014, serves delicious food and drinks in the shadow of a glamorous neighbor: the ivory-white marble palace of the Taj Mahal. But since its opening, it has also had a larger purpose: to become a beacon of hope and strength for survivors of acid attacks and a center for art, education, and activism.

"In a small kitchen, I can fulfill my dreams, but with a big café, not only my dreams, but the dreams of all acid attack survivors in India," Geeta said.

The café is currently run by five female survivors of acid attacks, and four of them told me their stories.

The team includes Geeta and her daughter Neetu, who is now 24. The acid might have burned Neetu’s face and eyes, but it didn't reach her big welcoming smile.

Neetu sits at the café’s entrance to welcome visitors.

20-year-old Ritu Saini, a former professional volleyball player, is the manager of the café. In a case of revenge for unrequited love, Ritu’s cousin hired people to attack her with acid as she walked in the streets of her hometown Rohtak in the Indian state of Haryana.

Ritu is the Sheroes’ Hangout’s manager.

The youngest "shero" at the hangout is 16-year-old Dolly Kumari from Agra.

"I read about the café in the newspapers, so I decided to join the fight. I wanted to stop living in the closet and being ashamed, and my family supported me," she said.

Dolly was attacked three years ago by a man who constantly harassed her as she walked to school. "I told my parents, and they had a fight with him, my parents verbally abused him. One day I was playing with my siblings, and to take vengeance he poured acid on my face," Dolly explained.

The fight against acid attacks in India is still on, led by women like Dolly, Ritu, Geeta, and Neetu.

Several acid attack laws were passed in India in early 2013, including the Criminal Law Act. Under the new law, a person convicted of carrying out or being involved in an acid attack would face a minimum of 10 years of imprisonment and a maximum of a life sentence.

And in July 2013, India's Supreme Court also ordered that acid should not be sold to anyone under the age of 18 in an attempt to reduce attacks on women. At the same time, the court ordered a financial entitlement of 300,000 rupees to the survivors to help with rehabilitation as well.

(From left) Geeta, Ritu, Neetu, and Dolly.

But in 2014, a report analyzing 55 cases of acid attack in India indicated that on average it still took between 5 and 10 years for a legal case to be concluded and that only a few survivors actually received compensation.

Indian feminists like the sheroes welcome the supreme court’s ruling, but they also see that there is a long road ahead.

For example, it is still easier to buy concentrated acid than eyeliner or lipstick at Indian markets.

"Acid attack survivors want to adjust back into the society and be economically independent, but due to physical disability as a result of the attack or because of the popular notion of 'beauty,' the survivors are bereft of job opportunities. Spaces like Sheroes’ Hangout provide an opportunity to not only earn, but also continue their fight of activism," Dave said.

Geeta, Neetu, Ritu, and Dolly recently returned to their café after a short trip to the city of Lucknow, where they helped to open a second branch of Sheroes’ Hangout on International Women’s Day.

"I am very happy about the Lucknow branch. Seven survivors are running the café and starting a reach-out Stop Acid Attacks campaign sponsored by the Uttar Pradesh government," Geeta said.

Ritu, Dolly, and Geeta enjoy a cold drink in the Agra kitchen after their trip to Lucknow.

The Sheroes’ Hangout pay-as-you-want menu sums up the mission of the cafe pretty well: "Snacks are served with the chutney of empowerment," the menu reads. "Drinks are made using the sugar of happiness."

While I'm there, a customer approaches Ritu and tells her that the sheroes are a worldwide inspiration. Ritu's face lights up.

"People on the streets of Agra used to say hurtful comments about my face," she says. "After the success of the café, people come from all over the world to take pictures with us. Life is good."

Sponsored

3 organic recipes that feed a family of 4 for under $7 a serving

O Organics is the rare brand that provides high-quality food at affordable prices.

A woman cooking up a nice pot of pasta.

Over the past few years, rising supermarket prices have forced many families to make compromises on ingredient quality when shopping for meals. A recent study published by Supermarket News found that 41% of families with children were more likely to switch to lower-quality groceries to deal with inflation.

By comparison, 29% of people without children have switched to lower-quality groceries to cope with rising prices.

Despite the current rising costs of groceries, O Organics has enabled families to consistently enjoy high-quality, organic meals at affordable prices for nearly two decades. With a focus on great taste and health, O Organics offers an extensive range of options for budget-conscious consumers.

O Organics launched in 2005 with 150 USDA Certified Organic products but now offers over 1,500 items, from organic fresh fruits and vegetables to organic dairy and meats, organic cage-free certified eggs, organic snacks, organic baby food and more. This gives families the ability to make a broader range of recipes featuring organic ingredients than ever before.


“We believe every customer should have access to affordable, organic options that support healthy lifestyles and diverse shopping preferences,” shared Jennifer Saenz, EVP and Chief Merchandising Officer at Albertsons, one of many stores where you can find O Organics products. “Over the years, we have made organic foods more accessible by expanding O Organics to every aisle across our stores, making it possible for health and budget-conscious families to incorporate organic food into every meal.”

With some help from our friends at O Organics, Upworthy looked at the vast array of products available at our local store and created some tasty, affordable and healthy meals.

Here are 3 meals for a family of 4 that cost $7 and under, per serving. (Note: prices may vary by location and are calculated before sales tax.)

O Organic’s Tacos and Refried Beans ($6.41 Per Serving)

Few dishes can make a family rush to the dinner table quite like tacos. Here’s a healthy and affordable way to spice up your family’s Taco Tuesdays.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 22 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 packet O Organics Taco Seasoning ($2.29)

O Organics Mexican-Style Cheese Blend Cheese ($4.79)

O Organics Chunky Salsa ($3.99)

O Organics Taco Shells ($4.29)

1 can of O Organics Refried Beans ($2.29)

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Add 1 packet of taco seasoning to beef along with water [and cook as directed].

3. Add taco meat to the shell, top with cheese and salsa as desired.

4. Heat refried beans in a saucepan until cooked through, serve alongside tacos, top with cheese.

tacos, o organics, family recipesO Organics Mexican-style blend cheese.via O Organics

O Organics Hamburger Stew ($4.53 Per Serving)

Busy parents will love this recipe that allows them to prep in the morning and then serve a delicious, slow-cooked stew after work.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 7 hours

Total time: 7 hours 15 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 ½ lbs O Organics Gold Potatoes ($4.49)

3 O Organics Carrots ($2.89)

1 tsp onion powder

I can O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 cups water

1 yellow onion diced ($1.00)

1 clove garlic ($.50)

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

2 tsp Italian seasoning or oregano

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Transfer the cooked beef to a slow cooker with the potatoes, onions, carrots and garlic.

3. Mix the tomato paste, water, salt, pepper, onion powder and Italian seasoning in a separate bowl.

4. Drizzle the mixed sauce over the ingredients in the slow cooker and mix thoroughly.

5. Cover the slow cooker with its lid and set it on low for 7 to 8 hours, or until the potatoes are soft. Dish out into bowls and enjoy!

potatoes, o organics, hamburger stewO Organics baby gold potatoes.via O Organics


O Organics Ground Beef and Pasta Skillet ($4.32 Per Serving)

This one-pan dish is for all Italian lovers who are looking for a saucy, cheesy, and full-flavored comfort dish that takes less than 30 minutes to prepare.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Total time: 27 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp dried basil

1 tsp garlic powder

1 can O Organics Diced Tomatoes ($2.00)

1 can O Organics Tomato Sauce ($2.29)

1 tbsp O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 1/4 cups water

2 cups O Organics Rotini Pasta ($3.29)

1 cup O Organics Mozzarella cheese ($4.79)

Instructions:

1. Brown ground beef in a skillet, breaking it up as it cooks.

2. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder

3. Add tomato paste, sauce and diced tomatoes to the skillet. Stir in water and bring to a light boil.

4. Add pasta to the skillet, ensuring it is well coated. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Remove the lid, sprinkle with cheese and allow it to cool.

o organics, tomato basil pasta sauce, olive oilO Organics tomato basil pasta sauce and extra virgin olive oil.via O Organics

@jennielongdon/TikTok, Photo credit: Canva

It might not be hip, but it makes sense!

Online shopping is an integral part of adult life no matter what age group you fall into. But apparently there’s one digital spending habit that didn’t make it to Gen Z.

UK-based radio host Jennie Longdon recently went viral for sharing how—despite being able to do virtually everything from our phones—folks over the age of 30 can’t seem to part with using their laptops for “big purchases.”

“Takeaway , clothes, shoes within reason, yeah,” she says in a clip posted to her TikTok. “But…a plane ticket? That’s a laptop job!”

Longdon continues to feign disgust as she imagines big purchases being made from the phone, as these items obviously require the larger screen. It’s just something that a millennial brain cannot get behind. “We cannot make a big or significant purchase on the phone. You can't browse properly."

“Bigger screens for the big things please,” her video caption reads.

@jennielongdon Bigger screen for the big things please. #millennial #millennialsoftiktok #millenialmum #fyp #foryou ♬ original sound - Jennie Longdon

But there may be some sound reasoning behind this seemingly outdated logic. According to Fluid Commerce, the average desktop provides “over 3 times as much information” as a smartphone screen, allowing for more research. Laptops might not offer quite as much information as a desktop, but they certainly offer more than a phone, and it’s just good common sense to want as much information as possible before making an investment.

Either way, most millennials seem willing to die on this hill.

“Big purchases on the computer because I don’t trust mobile apps to show me everything I need to know,” one wrote in the comments.

“Big purchase requires the big internet,” added another.

A third said, "I will literally look at the information on my phone, then go get my laptop to go to the same site to book it.”

A few even shared horror stories of trying things the newfangled way and it backfiring immediately.

“I lived dangerously the other day and booked a hotel room on my phone and it tools ages buffering at the confirmation screen and I was fuming and knew I should’ve done it on my laptop,” one person lamented.

Another wrote, "I booked a mini break on my phone once and I accidentally refreshed the page with my thumb midway through booking.”

Still, there are some millennials who are on board with the phones-only approach.

"I booked flights, accommodation, and extracurriculars for four people on my phone recently,” one person wrote. "I was so proud."

Another said, "I'm a millennial and I just booked my Vegas hotel and flights on the phone. It's.....fine....."

Lastly—kudos to this commenter, who truly got to the root of this issue by saying:

“We grew up in an age when mobile websites were terrible and we’ve never forgotten it.”

That really hits the nail on the head, doesn’t it? Some scars just never truly heal.

via SheIsAPaigeTurner/TikTok (used with permission) and Sarah Chai/Pexels

Paige Connell on the 7 things she doesn't do for her husband.

Paige Connell is a working mom of four and a popular social media personality who discusses moms' mental load and advocates for equality in relationships. Recently, she struck a nerve on TikTok with a video where she admitted she doesn’t do her husband’s laundry and said it “brings out big feelings in people.”

Paige says she isn’t being petty. It’s “just how it functions” in her home.

She took things a step further in a follow-up video, listing all of the things that she doesn’t do for her husband. "You all know I don't do his laundry," she said in the video. "He can do that himself."

"He cooks dinner every night. I do breakfast and lunch for us and our kids," she continued. "I don't pack him a lunch. If he's hungry, he'll figure out what he's gonna eat for lunch the same way that I do." She added that she doesn’t make his doctor’s appointments, pack his clothes for vacation, or buy him new underwear when it gets holes.


"Is it my job? Absolutely not," she said. "All of those are things that he's a grown man and he can do himself."

@sheisapaigeturner

Replying to @rafael it’s important to show your partner, love and kindness. And I believe in small acts of kindness for a partners. However, expecting your partner to do your laundry and all of the cooking and all of the cleaning, is not the same qe small acts of kindness. All of those things are domestic labor and then when add it up, create a lot of work. #domesticlabor #actsofkindness #actsofservice #marriagegoals #fairplay #millennialmom #mentalload #laundry

However, she doesn’t want to confuse her refusal to take care of her husband’s domestic responsibilities with a lack of kindness. "That's domestic labor. Those are chores; those are not acts of kindness," she says.

She adds that she does plenty of kind things for him outside of the home such as buying him vinyl records or picking up a new non-alcoholic beer that she thinks he would like.

Her main point: "Small acts of kindness that are mostly domestic labor just add up to work at the end of the day."

Paige's post has resonated with many, garnering over 2.5 million views and a wave of support from the commenters. “Preach. Parentifying your spouse is such a turn-off,” wrote Nicki, echoing Paige's sentiments.”'Exactly, a lot of men think that having a wife is like having a personal assistant. If that’s the case, pay me by the hour,” added iloveme_011.

Some women say that they still do their husbands' domestic chores as a sign of love. "I do all these things because acts of service are my love language, but after a while of no reciprocation, you start to become resentful," Soph wrote in the comments. “Times have changed for sure. I take pride in doing all of those things for my husband. In fact, I’ll do it for my grown children, too!" Brenda Castro added.

Upworthy contacted Paige to find out what her husband thinks about the arrangement. “We are in alignment on sharing the load equitably. We believe in striving for a partnership where we are both supported and neither one of us takes on more than the other when it comes to our home and kids. We work hard to share the load as equally as possible!” she told Upworthy.

She also shared why some women equate domestic labor with kindness. “I believe many women have been taught that doing labor for someone else shows your love to them. It is ingrained in us in so many ways in our society that we are raised to believe that is how you show love when in reality there are many ways to show love and doing domestic labor does not have to be one of them,” she told Upworthy.

Paige’s video proves that we all have different ways of expressing our love for our significant others and that for women, it can be a lot more than taking on more of the domestic load. As Paige notes in the video, what starts as kindness can quickly devolve into a job and then resentment.

Representative Photo by Siobhan Kelleher|Wikimedia Commons

Elderly cats now safe thanks to adorable cat retirement village

There is an amazing retirement village now accepting guests but instead of catering to elderly people, it's designed for elderly cats. Shropshire Cat Rescue has been rescuing elderly cats that are set to be euthanized and providing them with top notch elder care.

The owner of the rescue was tired of seeing older cats get passed over for adoption and subsequently put to sleep simply because they were old so she decided to do something about it. That's where the idea for Shropshire Cat Rescue came from and they've got cats wandering the retirement village who are over 20 years old. One cat, lovingly named Cat, loves to hang out in the little "store" in the tiny cat town, while others lounge in cat condos.

Veterinarian, Dr. Scott Miller, owner of an elderly cat himself wet to visit the feline retirement community to check it out. He was impressed with how much the retirement community had to offer the cats that call it home.


Shropshire Cat Rescue is in England, but it's not the only retirement home out there for felines. A Florida couple opened a retirement home for elderly cats, too. Terry and Bruce Jenkins decided to open their home for elderly cats in their back yard, rescuing them from "hardship situations." The Jenkins' don't adopt the old kitties out, they let them live out their years cozy in their back yard.

In fact, there are several retirement homes for cats in America, but the Shropshire village truly looks like a mini town. It comes complete with stores and other town staples designed for cats to lounge about in, but humans also use the store fronts to store items for the cats.

Watch:

Shropshire Cat Rescue currently has about 17 cats and has a program set up that allows local kids to come play with the cats. The elderly cats get to socialize with humans and other cats while receiving whatever care they need. The retirement home is the last stop for these old guys so there's no effort to rehome them.

These cats simply get to live out the rest of their lives being loved on by volunteers and the visiting children. Maybe even more retirement homes will start popping up across the country.

Parents are debating over whether to give children "adult" or "baby" names.

The names we choose to give our children can significantly impact their lives. Multiple studies from across the globe have found that a person’s name can influence their employment, social and economic outcomes.

Unfortunately, humans make snap judgments about one another, and having an unusual name can lead people to make unflattering assumptions. “We’re hardwired to try to figure out in a heartbeat whether or not we want to trust somebody, whether we want to run from somebody,” Northwestern University researcher David Figlio said, according to Live Science.

However, an increasing number of parents are giving their children non-traditional names to help them stand out. “Parents are trying to be original, almost branding their kids in an era where names are viewed on the same level as Twitter handles or a website URL,” writer Sabrina Rogers-Anderson said.

Ruby, a mother on TikTok, took a hard stance on parents giving their children names that sound childish in a post that’s received over 11 million views. Ruby says she named her kids as “adults, not babies” hoping they would never “outgrow” their names.

@rubyyvillarreal

Visit TikTok to discover videos!

“The whole concept when I was trying to look for a name and choose a name for her is I did not want her to outgrow her name,” she said in the viral video. “I wanted the name to fit her as a baby, as a toddler, as a child, and into adulthood. So, it's like I really am happy with what I ended up with naming her and it just fits her so well.”

She captioned the video, “love having nicknames as they are younger and it doesn’t mean they will prefer it over their name as they get older. Just gives them options.”

People in the comments responded with modern names they think that kids will outgrow.

"My name is Koazy and I’m here for a job interview," Stalker joked. "Hello sir, I am Bluey Mason Garrison! I was called in for a job interview last Tuesday," Pastel Purr added.

"I can’t imagine knowing [a] 30-year-old named Emma or Posie," Mikey wrote.

However, a lot of people commented that names that seem like they’ll be outgrown will sound fine in the future when those names are popular with the new generation. “Kids grow up with their generation having their own names on trend. They will be normal adult names when they are grown,” Kerry wrote.

“Names grow with the generation,” Lauren added. “The name Dennis sounded like a baby name once too. Names grow up just like generations.”

@rubyyvillarreal

Visit TikTok to discover videos!

In a follow-up video, Ruby shared the names she gave her children. Her girl is named Karla Esmerelda and her boy is called Deluca.

“I just really liked how simple, how bold, and strong that the name by itself just really kind of is. Doing some research names with the letter K tend to be like very bold and powerful names, so I really wanted it with a K and not with a C,” she said.

She named her son Deluca, after a doctor on “Grey’s Anatomy.” She said she chose the name because there was nothing to connect it to, and it sounded “nice.”


This article originally appeared on 4.26.23

Toddler helps mom when she's locked out of the house.

Would you be considered human if you haven't locked yourself out of your house at least once? One mom on TikTok found herself in quite the predicament with only her toddler to "mission impossible" his way to unlocking the house door to let his mom, @gesikaaaaaa, inside. The video starts with the camera pointed at a rosy-cheeked toddler on a snow-covered porch.

The boy looks to be no older than 2 or 3 but he's an expert at following directions … sort of. It's all still pretty new to him and, as anyone who's ever interacted with a toddler knows, multistep directions are not the way to go. They tend to hear one thing only and even then are apt to be distracted by a stray piece of lint and not be able to finish the task.

Everything is new to a toddler and it doesn't take much to distract them. And just about anything can be a toy. So when this mom helped her son through an open window in an effort to guide him through the process of unlocking the door, classic toddler cuteness ensued.



The desperate mom explains in the video that she left one window unlocked and you can see immediately that there's no way an adult could fit through the small space without injury. So instead she uses her toddler to do it and once he's inside the house his instructions are to get a chair … he finds a bowl. His mom tells him, "Focus. Focus. Grab the chair and take it to the door."

What do you know? That sweet boy did just as he was told. Until he found a rock. Mom quickly refocuses the boy and the chair is back on the move, then he finds the fireplace tongs and takes a break to play with the fireside tools stand. Eventually the little guy succeeds in his mission but the journey there was the cutest maze of side quests you'll ever see.

Watch him rescue his mom below:

@gesikaaaaaa

Thank god for tiny humans #bne #lockedout #tinyhuman #mamashelper #breakingin #DoTheSmartThings #toddlercomedy #kidtok


This article originally appeared on 1.4.23