“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” former model Katie Piper, 34, wrote on her Instagram on the 10 year anniversary of the day a former lover arranged for acid to be thrown on her face in a busy street.
In the course of one decade, she’s transitioned from being a model, to a spokesperson for burns survivors and a body acceptance advocate. Her whole life changed when acid was thrown at her, burning her entire face, and blinding her in one eye.
Piper has become the face acid attacks in Britain, and with their incidence on the rise, her story teaches us what we – especially women – need to know.
10 years ago to the day today, I found it hard to dig deep, believe and trust in when people would say ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’… now I look in the mirror and see the hardest thing I’ve ever had to go through, it is now my strength, scars maybe be permanent but I am who I am today, take back the power and live your best life… Never allow anyone to control or attempt to silence you. #acidattacks #survivor #10years #burns #scars #recovery #confidencethesecret #thingsgetbetter
In March 2008, Piper had the world at her feet. She was a successful model, and had a promising career in the media. It was that beauty and fame which caught Danny Lynch’s attention.
Lynch met and began dating Piper in February 2008. Within two weeks, Piper discovered just how dangerous he was. He held her hostage in a hotel as he raped and tortured her for eight hours. A terrified Piper managed to escape, but was too afraid to report Lynch to the police.
Two days later, Lynch asked Piper to meet him, but it was a trap. On the street, she was approached by a hooded man – Lynch’s accomplice – who threw sulphuric acid at her. The highly-corrosive chemical covered her face, went into her eyes, and some of it was swallowed.
Piper was in an induced coma for twelve days, and her recovery was long. Over the next nine years, she underwent a painful 250 surgeries, including a complete facial reconstruction.
Despite the enormous challenges Piper faced daily, she knew she had to do something so that no other person would suffer like she was. So she established her charity, The Katie Piper Foundation to raise awareness about acid attacks, and support burns survivors.
Last year, she wrote an open letter as part of her campaign for greater control of the sale of corrosive chemicals.