‘He claimed he was going to leave his mark on me. I had a scar wrapping from cheek to cheek, now known as the ‘girl that had her lip bitten off.’: Woman escapes abusive boyfriend, ‘I am no longer a victim, but a survivor’

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“Today I sat in a court room surrounded by the ones I love most, facing someone I once believed loved me. Someone who claimed would always protect me and keep me safe, but yet was my worst nightmare.

I had to listen to his attorney say that when he attacked me, it was intentional. Saying that he claimed he was going to leave his mark on me for my next boyfriend.

But today, October 18th, 2018, I have finally gotten a bit of closure. Thank you to everyone who prayed and kept me in their thoughts. Be careful who you are with and who you trust, evil is in the face of all types.

***October 21st, 2017***

This was the day a piece of me died.

I remember every detail of this very moment, the thoughts that ran through my mind when I opened my camera were very dark, which only seemed to worsen. Sitting in a puddle of my own blood with the majority of my lip laying on my leg, my whole mouth on fire, confused and terrified, I didn’t know how I could ever show my face again. At that point, honestly wishing that those very seconds would just be my last – I wanted to give up for good.

I kept replaying what had just happened in my head, from telling Seth I was not there to get back together with him, however I was there for him to right his wrongs. To getting flowers and cards thrown at the back of my head and then quickly getting in my car to seeing my leg shaking uncontrollably, to finally look up at him picking everything up. I could not figure out how this happened so fast. I couldn’t figure out how he was so mad. From putting the items in the passenger seat, leading to him trying to kiss me. Of course, as I said before, I wasn’t there to get back together with him. I refused and backed up, only to feel him latch on to me. Feeling it tear about half way. I then started screaming at the top of my lungs for help and out of fear for my life. He then yanked me out of my own vehicle and slammed the door in my face, so he could take off, and run away from what he had just done. He continued to call me once I made it into the ambulance, which felt like a lifetime after having something many women hold precious to them, completely mutilated. I just don’t understand how you could be filled with such anger…

I remember the look of terror on the man’s face that just so happened to save my life this day. As well as the sweet elderly lady that had to walk out of her home to see such tragedy occurring, but yet was so kind to try to help me and keep me comforted until further help arrived.

I remember Officer R coming around the back of the vehicle with Officer P following. I remember Officer R pulling his walkie talkie over to speak into it. Saying something along the lines of it being more serious than what he was expecting, my lip being completely severed off and for the EMS to come quick. Then giving me a piece of gauze and trying to assist me to stay calm and find out the details.

I remember being in the ambulance, being told to call my mother. I couldn’t bring myself to do it. She was 7 hours away on her first vacation she had ever taken without me – how could I ruin it? I then got on the phone with her friend and I remember trying to say ‘he bit me,’ but no one could understand me because my lips couldn’t pronounce it… I then blew up into a ball of emotions and gave the phone to the lady behind me, allowing her to explain. I remember just watching out of the back of the window of the EMS, watching the roads thinking we were never going to make it to the hospital, again wishing these moments would just be my last. Still to this day I cannot hear or see an ambulance without going into a panic. It brings me right back into this moment.

I remember waking up, looking up to my nurse trying to lighten the air around me and making a joke about how at least now I wouldn’t have to dress up for Halloween to scare everybody, that I could now go as myself… she chuckled and nodded then proceeded to bring me to get a mask to cover my face. That was when it hit me, this was my new reality. What I just woke up from was no joke. Never a day in my life will I ever wake up living my ‘normal’ life again.

Woman in hospital bed with stitches around her mouth from abusive boyfriend

For many months I found myself at blame for what happened to me. But now I have finally realized I am not at fault. This happened because I chose not to get back together with someone I knew didn’t deserve me, which he proved once again…

I used to be my attacker’s property, he manipulated me to the point where I almost lost everything and everyone in my life. The day I walked out of this relationship was one of the best days of my life. Although, that was when he snapped. When he realized he lost all control over me and wasn’t gaining it back this day – October 21st, 2017 – I truly believe that was what threw him over the edge. He was always great at getting in my head, but this time, I no longer allowed it.

I grew up in a home with a single mother that always put me before a man, so I was very naive when it came to them. I had no idea what abuse was until I physically and emotionally dealt with it first hand from Seth.

I was 17 when I began dating Seth Fleury, and he was 21. From the very beginning, there were many signs that I needed to be long gone but this was my very first serious relationship.

Many people ask why I stayed if it was so bad, but what they don’t know is that it wasn’t always bad. We had some very good times because when he was good, he was great, but when he was bad, he became my nightmare.

Think about it, some of you may have a daughter or used to be this girl…

As a naive 17-year-old girl, who is now with her first boyfriend, who is older, and this was her first ‘love’ and the first one she thought loved her. Of course, she wanted to pursue him no matter what.

Teen smiling in prom dress with hand on her hip outside in front of pink flowers

I always thought that if you just gave up when it got bad then that truly means you don’t love them but there comes a point where you don’t ‘give up’ but you have to get out because your life may depend on it.

What they also don’t know is that many times I tried to get out but when I did, it only got worse for me. But finally I gained the courage to say I was done and stood firm with my decision.

Just like his family, many times, I protected Seth. But this time he has done something that there is absolutely no excuse for and needs to face the consequences before the next girl faces something worse than what I did.

We now are present day October 18th, 2018. This is a day I should be sitting in a college classroom preparing for a test or out on the field learning new things. But instead I am at a courthouse having to explain the impact that someone else’s actions had on me.

When this happened, I was about a month and a half into my first year of college. Now, I am a year behind and should have been only about a year away from being done. Due to having to withdraw, I lost all of my scholarship which will now have to come out of mine and my mother’s pocket when I plan to go back. I wanted to attend starting back this semester but due to hearing news of another surgery, there was just no way.

When this happened, we had to sell the first home my mother had ever purchased. Where the attack took place was right down the street from our front door. I could not even go back to my own home for weeks because I would begin panicking every time, if I even saw the street.

I was not able to drive for two months, due to being on medicine and then being frightened to really venture out much. I sat in a bedroom constantly scrolling through social media, which only led to me comparing myself to everyone on my feeds, which only led to my thoughts worsening. I thought there was no use for me left in this world. Being a young girl is already hard because you have so many expectations of how you should look, so you can only imagine how my insecurities skyrocketed once I had a flat face with a scar wrapping from cheek to cheek and was now known as the ‘girl that had her lip bitten off.’

When I gained the courage to go out, I would constantly have heads turning to stare me down. I felt like a monster. I could not even walk out of the house without smothering myself in makeup or being in fear that I would see him.

This has affected my day to day living. It took me months to finally be able to open my mouth wide enough to put a regular sized small fork or spoon in my mouth. I was having to use little plastic ones that were smaller than the ones babies use. I could not and still cannot bite off of food, I first have to tear everything to bits.

About a month or so after this happened, my mom came home to check on me on her lunch break. I was asleep, so she just laid next to me. She began having to shake me to wake me. I was screaming and crying in my sleep because I was having nightmares that my attacker, was coming after me once again. But that wasn’t the end of them, I still have them to this day. My biggest fear is that he will get his hands on me again and next time I will not be up here for you to hear my voice…

My nights don’t just consist of nightmares but getting woken up from my phone ringing in the hours from 1:30 a.m. to 4 a.m. These calls are from the GPS Monitoring company, calling to tell me that ‘Seth’s monitor has not had a signal to them in an hour or so, they haven’t been able to get a hold of him but for me to have a goodnight. *click*.’ Imagine that… your biggest fear is someone that has hurt you before, coming after you and yet they don’t know where he is. They leave me in a panic and follow it with no update.

I used to dream of having a big family and having little babies, as most do. As of now, I am completely against this. I no longer want kids because I feel like bringing them in the world would be putting them into danger. If Seth could flip like a switch because I refused a kiss, then imagine what he would do if he ran into me or my family again.

This is my reality, this is my life, my emotions, and everyone else around me that has had to make arrangement to switch things up, so I can feel as comforted as possible, that he has affected with absolutely no remorse.

I was told to not post anything about being happy or what I was doing but Seth Fleury has taken enough of my happiness. I cannot allow him to keep taking it or I will never live the life that I was meant to. No one understands how every day is a struggle to get up and go about my days, but if I sit down and let this defeat me then he will only get more satisfaction out of what he’s done… so I just ask that the focus today is on what he is done and not at how far I have come or what I have felt that I have had to do to overcome what he has done to me.

I could honestly keep going on about how much this has changed my life, but I am going to leave it at this.

Thank you for hearing my voice.

I will continue to wear my scars as wings and I will continue to Stay Kind and Stay Strong. And I will Rise Above this.

Kayla Hayes,

No longer a victim, but a Survivor.”

Woman who escaped abusive relationship smiles in selfie in her car

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Kayla Hayes, 19, of Greenville, South Carolina. Follow her journey on Facebook here. Submit your story here, and be sure to subscribe to our best love stories here.

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