Warning: Some of the below details and links contained within the post contain sensitive and graphic images. Some readers may find the following disturbing.
Abuse that begins in a romantic relationship is a truly terrible thing. It also takes such awful forms.
Malicious gossiping. Emotional browbeating. Actual physical abuse. And as horrible as it is to think about, the actual manner of the physical abuse matters once force comes into play.
Just think about the pain suffered by 23-year-old Kayla Hayes of Simpsonville, South Carolina. Like many young women, she had a relationship that she decided she didn’t want to continue.
Yet her break up had terrible consequences — consequences that were in no way her fault. According to the Daily Mail, she was 19 years old when she decided that she no longer wanted to be with her boyfriend, 23-year-old Seth Aaron Fleury.
Things had begun to spiral downward for the better part of a year. Hayes said that Fleury had begun to act as though he owned her.
Yet after Hayes broke things off, Fleury said that he wanted to meet with his ex. Hayes agreed even though she had no intention of reigniting their romance.
“I was not there to get back together with him,” she wrote later on Facebook. “However, I was there for him to right his wrongs.”
That wasn’t going to happen. After hurling flowers and cards he’d brought to the rendezvous, he followed Hayes to her car, which she’d entered, and tried to kiss her.
When she recoiled away from him, he leaned forward and did the unthinkable. People magazine recorded the horrific act in as mild language as it could by quoting Walt Wilkins, solicitor for South Carolina’s Thirteen Judicial Circuit: “He bit down on her bottom lip with such force that her lip was amputated.”
Hayes remembered it far more vividly. She wrote, “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.
“I remember the look of terror on the mans 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.”
The damage proved so severe that the responding police officers were themselves horrified by it. The worst part of the whole thing? It wasn’t a crime of passion on Fleury’s part.
During his trial, Fleury’s attorney recounted how the man had planned the attack, claiming (in Hayes’ words) that “he was going to leave his mark on me for my next boyfriend.” Fortunately, the court sentenced Fleury to 12 years in jail, so he’ll be paying for his crimes for a long time.
And another boyfriend has in fact arrived in Hayes’ life. “We were only friends when (the attack) happened, but he rushed to the hospital and has been by my side ever since,” she said.
She has also started a blog chronicling her experiences. Rise Above seeks to encourage and inform victims of domestic abuse.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.