A Jewish woman from East Finchley who had acid thrown in her face in Zanzibar nearly four years ago has spoken of the trauma of having 50 operations on her horrific burns.
Katie Gee, now 22, was with her friend Kirstie Trup, from Hampstead Garden Suburb, in the Indian Ocean island as volunteer English teachers to local children, when two men on a moped drove up to them and the rider threw a jerry can full of a corrosive substance in their faces before speeding off.
Speaking to The Sunday Times, the FZY member, who suffered 30 percent burns on her body and lost an ear, said the first time she felt normal after the August 2013 attack, was last July, when she went out for her friend’s 21st birthday.
“The same friends who had helped me deal with three years of sadness, frustration, loneliness — not to mention pain — were there to welcome me. This was the night I faced the world,” she said.
“It was a far cry from the feelings of anxiety and loneliness I’d grown used to; a loneliness that became almost unbearable and began to kick in four months after I was attacked.”
Katie had skin grafts to repair her damaged face, back, arms, stomach and legs, but said she did not want doctors to use skin from her scalp as it would have meant shaving off her hair.
“My hair was the only part of me that felt undamaged,” she explained, adding that she also had months of cognitive behavioural therapy to help her cope psychologically. Kirstie underwent grafts on her face, arm and shoulder.
The attackers in the archipelago have not been caught.