Katie Piper, an acid attack victim, gave a talk to share her story and inspire students with disabilities or facial disfigurements, at Kingston University on October 15.
At 6:30 pm she entered the Jacqueline Wilson hall on Penrhyn road campus. 200 students had travelled from all the different campuses to see the brave woman talk.
They applauded her with cheering, shouting and whistling as she walked to her stand.
Katie started her presentation: “Seven years ago I was attacked. I was raped, brutally beaten and had acid thrown on my face.”
With painful honesty Katie described the day she lost her dreams, identity and nearly her life. The scars that burned so deep into her face had also burned into Katie’s memory.
She said she will never forget the day of the acid attack and that hope was the only thing that kept her going.
Katie shared that she was invincible when she was younger. Diseases, disabilities and sickness were something she was immune to. She could never predict or imagine her close friends or family members to be part of an attack, let alone herself.
When Katie was 24, she had planned her future ahead. She was young, beautiful and very naive, her career was going forward and the only thing that was missing was love. She met a man, Danny, on a online dating site and they went to a handful of dates.
She said: “I can count our dates on one hand-so you can imagine, I barely knew that man.”
After the few dates Katie realised that he was not her prince charming and ended the relationship.
Katie never could off visualised what would happen next. Just a few days before the series of the horrendous attacks, Danny contacted her one last time to say “I’ve got a present for you; this present would change your life forever”. And it had indeed.
Danny was not able to tolerate the rejection and went to great length to destroy her life. Before he ruined her looks he decided to rape and beat her.
The acid attack happened in broad day light at 5 pm on a busy high street rush-hour just 30 minutes away from Penrhyn road. Danny who had planned out the attack, had to hire someone to do his dirty business for him.
And in the blink of an eye, Katie’s life was changed for ever. Her world was turned upside down and the time stood still. She spent the next 13 days in coma and had over 350 operations.
Katie’s pyschologist suggested writing a coping mechanism to ease the pain she was going through.
This is a poem Katie wrote three years ago:
Katie: My Old Face
I miss you.
I think about you every day.
The fun we used to have, those memories I have of you,
I will always treasure.
I know, I know you are gone forever (but never forgotten).
Sometimes I wonder if we will be reunited in Heaven.
I took care of you, all those expensive creams, if I close my eyes
I can picture and feel all the contours as I would rub it on.
You’d be shocked, I’ve really changed. I’m kind to this face and I love it, but nothing will replace you….
I’m sorry I let you down and let him take you away.
I will never destroy your pictures. I’m scared as you fade in my mind and I accept this face more.
But I’m sorry, it’s the way it must be until we meet again.
Everyone in the hall was crying as she finished reading, every single person felt her pain. However, her intention is not to make people feel sad for her. Her view on life were changed after the attack.
Katie said: “As old Katie died, the new Katie was born.
“Just remember that you are living someone’s dream, you have more than someone else out there. Just enjoy every day, as it comes. Never look down on people you don’t know their story.”