There are some acts of violence which we can walk away from, that leave us battered and bruised but that which we can heal from. Nobody wants to be attacked, but if we had the choice, a simple beating would be preferable to permanent disability or disfigurement. Unfortunately, not everyone gets to make that choice. All too often, the choice is made for the victim, and the results can be horrific beyond description.
With this in mind, acid attacks are one of the worst possible ways of hurting another person. Some chemicals are capable of permanently destroying flesh, and can be extremely painful on contact with human skin. Despite the inherent brutality of using corrosive substances, more and more horrendous felonies in recent years have been committed using them.
Recently at the Wringer & Mangle nightclub in the borough of Hackney in London, one woman was blinded and 20 people left seriously injured in an attack with a corrosive substance. Officers believe a dispute between two groups of people developed inside the nightclub, resulting in a noxious substance being sprayed.
As disturbing as this crime is, it’s rare that we get to see the real physical effects inflicted on the victim. Because acid burns can leave the body in such a mutilated state, victims can be left shamed of their appearance, left physically and psychologically scarred for life.
One woman who has suffered as a result of this kind of crime is former Italian supermodel Gessica Notaro. A finalist in the 2007 Miss Italy competition, Notaro’s formerly flawless features have been left permanently disfigured as the result of the injuries she allegedly sustained at the hands of an ex-boyfriend. This week, Notaro revealed the full extend of her wounds on Italian television.
The left side of Notaro’s face was still heavily bandaged, and the 27-year-old is concerned that she will lose her sight in that eye. Maurizio Costanzo, the host of the show, told the sea-lion trainer that she didn’t have to take off the shawl covering her face, but Notaro was adamant that the studio audience see what happened to her. “I want you to see what he did to me. This isn’t love,” she stated to the shocked onlookers, “while the acid ate away at my face I was on my knees praying. I prayed to God: ‘take away my beauty but at least leave me with my sight.'”
Notaro was left critically injured in the attack, which occurred at the East London nightclub Wringer & Mangle on January 10th. She holds former partner Jorge Edson Tavares wholly responsible for the attack, who has since been detained by police. The couple broke up last August, but Tavares allegedly displayed violent, obsessive behaviour throughout their time together. Notaro filed for a restraining order against her possessive ex after telling authorities he was stalking her.
“I have to spend all my money on medication – every half hour I need eye drops and I have to moisturise my skin constantly. I cannot do my job because I can’t go in the water, Notaro added. “Even when I’m better, I will have scars on the inside for the rest of my life. I will always be scared to get out of my car and walk home because I will relive that scene again and again.”
Despite her brutal injuries, however, Gessica Notaro hasn’t let the incident ruin the rest of her life, and has since undergone surgery in an attempt to save her eyesight. Despite her medication costing her nearly $700 a month, Notaro is preparing to have plastic surgery to repair the damage done to her skin, and is hoping to start a singing career; working on her first album as we speak. We wish her a speedy recovery in the meantime, and hope the perpetrator will be brought to justice.