I found myself once again watching 20/20 on a Friday evening, this time without my daughter. The story was too graphic and painful for her, so she chose to sit this one out.
The story was of Katie Piper, a young woman in her 20s living in London. She was a model and a budding TV presenter. She was enjoying her life, her job, and the successes she was having. She met a young man, Danny, and they began dating. It was then her world fell apart.
In retrospect she saw the red flags were there immediately. He was possessive, jealous, controlling, easily angered, and wanted to move very quickly in the relationship. One evening he took her to a hotel room and brutally raped and abused her for over eight hours. She was only able to leave after she convinced him that they could still be a couple. She was so frightened by what had happened she didn’t leave her “flat” for two days and didn’t talk to anyone.
Danny bombarded her with emails and phone calls. She finally agreed to leave the flat to go to an internet café to get an email he had sent her. What she didn’t know at the time was that Danny was on the phone with Stefan Sylvestre, giving him a description of Katie. Stefan met Katie on the street and threw a cup of sulfuric acid in her face.
She had peace of mind for now that he couldn’t hurt her again, as he will serve at least 16 years. Her sentence, however, is for life. She will never be “over” the attack. She will always have scars and physical injuries that will need treatment. The fear doesn’t ever really go away.
Katie was so courageous in telling her story. Her story is horrific and the damage done to this young woman was beyond imagination. But she did survive! As did her will and her determination. She has made amazing progress in her physical recovery as well as her emotional recovery. She is an amazing young woman who has been through more than anyone should ever have to endure.
I am thankful for her telling her story, as hard as it was to watch and comprehend. She is a survivor and an inspiration for all who have been victimized by someone who was supposed to care about them. She has given me continued hope and strengthened my determination to continue the quest of ending the violence.
To read the story or watch the video: