A South Carolina woman is speaking out a year after her ex-boyfriend bit her lip off because she refused to kiss him.
People magazine reports that Seth Aaron Fleury, 23, was sentenced to 12 years behind bars earlier this month for biting off 19-year-old Kayla Hayes’ lip when she rebuffed him and said they weren’t getting back together. Hayes is still recovering from the mental and physical injuries she suffered during and following the October 2017 attack but posted a message on Facebook to reflect on the ordeal shortly after Fleury was condemned to prison.
In the post, first reported by People magazine, Hayes describes October 21, 2017, as the day a piece of her died. She recalled being in a pool of her own blood with most of her lip lying on her leg. She said she thought about how she would never look the same again and how she wished she died in that moment.
The teen claimed Fleury took off but kept calling her as she was being loaded into the ambulance and transported to the hospital.
“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,” she recalled.
Hayes said reality hit when she came to and joked to a nurse that now she wouldn’t have to dress up as anyone for Halloween as her extensive facial injuries could scare anybody.
“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,” she wrote.
Hayes went on to recall how she initially blamed herself for Fleury’s actions. However, she said she came to the realization that her ex saw her as his property and reacted with violence when she decided to show her agency.
“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,” she explained.
She claimed she’s still dealing with anxiety and nightmares in light of the unthinkable attack. She wrote that her “biggest fear” is Fleury getting out of prison and him killing her.
Despite this, Hayes said she isn’t allowing her attacker to take any more of her happiness.
Signing the letter, “No longer a victim, but a survivor,” she concluded, “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.”
[Featured image: Kayla Hayes/WHNS, Facebook]