Katie Piper, who became well known across the nation after suffering a horrific acid attack, has opened up about the “life sentence” of the emotional and physical trauma she has to endure as a result.
In 2008 Katie had sulphuric acid thrown in her face by an accomplice of her ex boyfriend, who organised the attack. As Katie explains: “This attack left me partially blinded, with severe, permanent scarring to my face, chest, neck, arm and hands.”
She revealed she has so far had 250 operations and will continue to have operations forever. She heartbreakingly confessed: “I will continue to need operations and therapy for life. For acid attack survivors, the aftermath is a life sentence.”
In an open letter that Katie penned she pleads for tougher sentencing for people who commit acid attacks. This comes as several people in London last night, within the space of 90 minutes, had acid thrown in their faces by two people on mopeds who were also committing burglary. One victim is said to have suffered “life changing injuries”.
Last week there was also a high profile case of cousins Resham Khan and Jameel Muhktar who had acid thrown at them through their car window, for which a man appeared in court earlier this week on trial for connection to the crime.
Katie says she struggled to accept her ‘new face’ after the attack: “I couldn’t recognise myself when I woke up from a coma and I wanted to commit suicide.
“Since the attack I have undergone over 250 operations to improve my physical functioning, including operations to help me breathe through my nose, as well as hours of psychological therapy to help me to deal with the trauma of the attack and to accept my ‘new face’.”
Katie set up a charity for burn victims and has met many others who have gone through a similar trauma.
She said: “Through my charity work, and via social media, I have met or spoken to many others who have been attacked with corrosive substances and whose lives have been shattered by the trauma of the attack, their permanent change in appearance and the loss of their identity; some have also lost vision and physical function.”
When it comes to the attackers Katie claims “it is all too easy for someone to buy a corrosive substance” and that to reflect the lifelong suffering of the victim, the sentencing for the attackers should be longer.
She explained: “Tougher sentencing would surely act as a deterrent to further attacks. The issue of penalties for carrying corrosive substances needs to be addressed and restrictions on the sale of corrosive substances need to be looked at seriously and methodically through a scientific and well-resourced approach that leads to swift action.”
Katie has been on numerous documentaries which focus on the way people look, including people who have suffered botched surgeries, debilitating skin conditions and disfigurements. She recently presented Katie Piper’s Face To Face where she invited people with facial skin conditions to get special makeovers.
The letter that Katie penned was published in the medical journal called Scars, Burns & Healing.