An Indian woman left severely disfigured in a brutal acid attack has found love with a social activist helping bring justice to victims of such attacks.
Laxmi, 24 — who goes by just her first name — had given up on finding a partner thanks to the stares and comments she received in public left her too ashamed to leave the home.
But after meeting Alok Dixit, 26, while protesting against the rising tide of acid attacks against women, Laxmi has turned her life around.
The 24-year-old, from Delhi — who underwent seven major surgeries to try and reduce the burns to her skin said: 'After the attack, I never thought I would ever find a soulmate. I had lost hope.
'But in Alok, I couldn't have found anyone better. He understood the kind of pain I was in. He understood what I had been going through.'
Alok, who along with Laxmi now runs the Stop Acid Attacks campaign, added: 'I never felt that looks are important. Looks do not matter because I find Laxmi very beautiful. She is a beautiful person and her beauty lies in her heart.'
Laxmi was attacked in 2005 when she was 15-years-old by a man more than twice her age, who she refused to marry.
The incident — which took place in broad daylight in one of Delhi's busiest markets — left her physically and emotionally scarred.
It led her to file public interest litigations in India's highest court, seeking changes in the law and asked the government to take steps to restrict the sale of acid.
But privately she struggled to cope with the dramatic change in looks and confidence following the horrifying attack.
Laxmi added: 'I cannot forget how brutally I was attacked. I want to make sure that such things don't happen to anyone else.
'My father worked as a chef. I was friends with another girl in the neighbourhood and her brother soon started proposing to me. I was only 15. On April 18 (2005), he messaged me: 'I love you." I ignored it.'
But Laxmi had little idea of the tragic turn of events set to unfold because of her perceived snub.