Acid attack made me stronger, victim says

Emily O'Keefe, ninemsn
9:44am February 7, 2013
February 07, 2013: A Victoria’s Secret worker who was attacked with acid has broken down on a British morning show and appealed for her attacker to come forward.

A young Victoria's Secret worker who was attacked with acid in England says she does not hate the person who disfigured her.

Naomi Oni, 20, was left partially blind and with scars on her face, arm, leg and head after a person wearing a niqab threw acid on her as she was walking to her home in Dagenham, east London on December 30.

Ms Oni also lost her hair and eyelashes in the seemingly random attack and has had to undergo several operations to help repair the damage.

Speaking in an emotional interview on British television overnight, Ms Oni said she just wanted to know who her attacker was and why they did it.

"After the attack I asked ‘why me?’ I work so hard, I'm a good person. I was shouting all sorts of things," she told ITV show, This Morning.

"I started to question so many things. Am I a bad person?"

Naomi Oni before and after the attack.
Naomi Oni before and after the attack.

Fighting back tears, Ms Oni said the attack had changed her in a good way.

"I'm the same personality but stronger," she said.

"I want to say to my attacker, 'you can burn my skin but you can't burn my soul'. They may have burnt my face but me as a person, they can't hurt me."

Ms Oni's attacker remains at large and police have been unable to find any motive for the attack or clues about the perpetrator's identity.

Ms Oni said she hoped her attacker would not hurt anyone else.

"I don't want them to do it to anyone else. For other girls to go through what I've gone through."

"I don't hate them. I just want to know why they did it."

Recalling the details of the attack, Ms Oni said she had just gotten off the bus and was on the phone to her boyfriend when she got "a funny feeling".

"I looked behind me and saw a person in a niqab. I don't remember hearing footsteps or seeing anyone getting off the bus after me," she said.

"No words were spoken. There was no dialogue. I looked back and remember the person just staring at me. The eyes were cold - it was a cold stare."

Ms Oni said she tried to cross the road and get away from the person and that was when she felt a splash.

"I just started running straight home. I knew it was acid. It feels like something is eating away at your skin. I felt it most on my scalp, more than on my face," she said.

Ms Oni said she was still determined to pursue her dream of becoming a make-up artist, but now planned to work with other women who had suffered facial injuries.

Source: This Morning

Author: Emily O'Keefe, Approving editor: Mark Worley

 

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