By Amy D. Jackson
So, it appears everyone is on the lookout for love. You can’t turn on the television without happening upon a new dating show or old favorites like: The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. It’s true, the search for the ‘one’ is on. And with the vast amount of technology available connecting and finding people is becoming easier thanks to sites like Myspace, Facebook, and Twitter. When logging on nobody ever stops to think ‘who or what I am I talking too?’ In fact, it’s understood that it’s someone you know or a celebrity of some sort- never a complete stranger. Or is it? After hearing Katie Piper’s story, doubt set in. The clichéd line ‘you never really know a person’ danced along the dotted lines cross-stitching a hideous unbearable picture in the mind: FEAR.
Two years ago, Katie Piper was an average English girl living on her own in the city. She was balancing her dream, happiness, and beauty all in the palm of her hand. Katie was the girl of the moment: beautiful and popular. If she had lived in ancient Greece her beauty would have been a fierce rival to Helen of Troy. Her future was undeniably bright. Katie Piper was modeling for magazines and television. Piper’s career had sprouted wings. Everything that she ever wanted was just over that last hovering horizon.
Then “it” happened. She met someone via Facebook. According Piper, it wasn’t uncommon for her to receive 80 messages from men admiring her beauty from afar. On a fateful day, a man called Daniel Lynch messaged Katie. Lynch’s message was no different from all the others she had received but she was drawn to him. Piper admitted she was flattered by this bold gesture of admiration, so, she replied. They had a lot in common. She was promoting martial arts and he was a martial artist. For a while, it would seem Piper had found her Prince Charming.
Their first date was awkward which Piper chalked up to nerves and shyness. Piper found Lynch’s shyness a little endearing. And so they began to date pursuing love together. Lynch was the perfect boyfriend material: very affectionate and attentive to Piper. All was well in their man made paradise until Lynch revealed the decaying interior of the real Daniel Lynch. Lynch lost it while the pair was shoe shopping. In a rage, he left Piper to smooth away the rough edges. On the way home, Lynch suggested that they get a hotel room for the night. Piper agreed unknowing that she was about to inhabit a fantastical nightmare that would make Stephen King’s Penny Wise look child friendly. Lynch would proceed to hold Piper hostage. He brutally raped, beat, threatened to hang her with his belt and slash her face. Throughout the struggle Katie suffered a head injury. Finally, Piper was able to convince the mad Lynch to let her go.
After that shadowy encounter with the real Daniel Lynch, Katie silently made her plans to break up. Katie never spoke of that long hellish night nor did she file a police report because she was afraid of his retaliation. Two days after the horrific event, Piper agreed to go to an internet café to read an email the apologetic Lynch sent to her via Facebook [Piper’s internet was down]. She hoped by reading and replying to email she would be able to severe the relationally ties. While on the phone, Lynch asked Katie what she wearing and she told him. She was then approached by a man she thought homeless because he was carrying a cup. However, he was not. He was a henchman hired by Daniel Lynch to throw a coffee mug full of industrial- strength sulphric acid into her face. What happened next was surreal. Piper said “I could hear someone screaming and screaming and kept wishing they’d be quiet. Then I realized it was me.”
People walked passed Katie as her face and whole world disintegrated. No one stopped to help. Piper raced across the street through traffic banging on store windows for help. Katie had to wait an hour for help. The excuse: paramedics were afraid that her attacker was still nearby and would interfere. After an hour, an ambulance crew was finally able to treat the severally injured Katie. The thought Katie shares is bone chilling. Piper was zipped up inside of a protective suit to keep her injuries from being infected. However, the young woman thought it was a body bag and that she was dead because the acid had rendered her blind. The burns were so severe on one side her face that only a thin layer of tissue stood between the bone. Katie lost the sight in her left eye. Her wounds were so acute Dr. Mohuammad Ali Jawed had to perform an untested procedure. Dr. Jawed removed Katie’s entire face and used skin taken from other parts of Katie’s body to build her a new face. After the procedure was over, Katie was induced into a coma for twelve days. Piper was unable to speak so she wrote a heartbreaking note to her parents that stated: “Kill me.” Katie still struggles with eating food because her esophagus was badly sacred. Every few weeks scar tissue forms narrowing her esophagus to a centimeter wide so that Piper’s throat has to be dilated.
The wounds run deeper than Katie’s exterior. Her soul is damaged from her journey of near death to defying the odds survival. Because of the vicious attack, Katie now suffers from nightmares and fears of leaving her childhood home. The once bubbly party girl is left crippled and broken to a degree. She has to sleep in a balaclava-styled mask at night and a body suit to stretch her burned skin. In the daylight, she wears a plastic mask too. Piper admitted it was hard going out because people would stare at her. Her attacker Daniel Lynch and his accomplice Stefan Sylvestre are currently serving life sentences which seem ironically unjust.
Katie Piper is too serving a life sentence. She has to live in this intricate carved cage Lynch dreamed up for her. She is a woman missing inside of her own body. Despite it all, Piper still possesses the beauty that enabled her to enter the modeling world as well as exposed her to the predatory Lynch. Katie Piper can still stop traffic and garner Facebook messages because of beauty. However, this time around with her lionhearted courage she came prepared for life’s nasty curve balls. She took back her self-worth, dignity, and beauty that were stripped away from her through violence. And then “it” happened: SHE LIVED.
*If you would like to send Katie Piper a message of support then log onto Facebook and search for I Think Katie Piper is still beautiful!