20-year old Naomi Oni was disfigured for life when a unknown person wearing a niqab threw acid in her face as she walked home from work on Sunday December 30th in Lodge Avenue Dagenham, east London. Naomi told The Evening Standard that she was on her way back from work when she heard someone behind her. She explains:
I’d been working a late shift and was talking to my boyfriend about what we were going to do for New Year when I saw this Muslim woman wearing a niqab covering her face. I thought it was a bit strange at that time of night, but she didn’t say anything and I kept on walking.
Then I felt a splash on my face. It burned and I screamed out. I started running and screaming, holding my face, all the way home. I didn’t look back. I got home and I was screaming and banging on the door. I was hysterical. Luckily my godmother, who is a pharmacist, was at home with my mum and she helped me and kept dipping my face in water and trying to calm me down until the police and ambulance got there. I was in shock. Saying: “Who would do that? Who would do that?” How could anyone do this?’
Naomi recently released photos of her disfigured face after police failed to find the person who did this to her. She’s now appealing to the public to help her find her attacker. She said she would never feel safe with her attacker still at large. She also said the attack has destroyed her life.
I look in the mirror and it just isn’t me. I’ll never look the same again. I’ve always been outgoing and confident in my job and in my personal life, used to getting attention for the way I dress or my hair, but now I don’t want anyone looking at me. I don’t want people to see me in public. I don’t want to get the Tube or the bus. If I have to go to the hospital I take a taxi.
I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to go back to my job. I was planning to go to college in September to study media and fashion, but I don’t even know if I’ll be able to do that. Even with the support of my family and friends and boyfriend I feel very alone. Nothing is going to be same anymore.’
Naomi faces years of skin grafts and plastic surgery