Woman reveals how boyfriend threw acid in her face. “I can only describe the pain as like sitting inside fire”


In a series by the UK Guardian called My Experience where
survivors share their unique experiences, Christy Sims
reveals how her “controlling” and “manipulative” boyfriend
threw acid in her face because he suspected she was going
to break up with him. Read what she wrote after the cut…
“It was about 2pm on a Sunday in April 2013. I was in my
kitchen, texting friends to ask for their addresses. In 12
days I was getting my master’s degree in counselling and I
was sending out invitations to family and friends to my
graduation party.
My boyfriend, Andrew, called out to me from the bathroom.
He said: “Come bring me a towel. There’s water on the
As I walked down the hallway, I could see the door was
open and he was sliding in a pool of water while holding a
bowl in his hands. I stopped in my tracks. “What are you
doing?” I asked. “Where did that water come from? Why are
you holding a bowl?” He stepped out of the water and stood
in front of me, staring at me. Then he splashed the liquid
from the bowl into my face.
“What was that?” I asked. “What did you just do?” I was
confused. Then my eyes started burning.
I ran to the sink, screaming. Andrew didn’t say a word. He
stood behind me, watching. That’s the last thing I
remember seeing with my own two eyes. Much later I
would find out that Andrew had thrown sulphuric acid –
drain cleaner – at my face.
He called the emergency services as I made my way down
the hall. In shock, I slipped to the floor. I didn’t know it at
the time but the operator on the phone was telling Andrew
to rinse me off with water. He never did. Instead, he told
me: “They said if I rinse you off, it’s going to ignite the
chemical. Just sit there.” He watched me burn for 13
minutes while we waited for the ambulance.
I can only describe the pain as like sitting inside a fire. The
acid had covered my face, chest and arms, where it burned
down to the bottom epidermis, below my nerves. When the
paramedics got there, they stripped me and took me
outside to get rinsed by the torrential rain. They gave me
morphine and put me in the ambulance. I don’t remember
anything else.
I woke up in a hospital burns unit two months later. I
couldn’t see. My eyelids were sewn shut. I couldn’t open
my mouth or stretch my arms out. I couldn’t talk, walk,
bathe or feed myself. I faced months of reconstructive
surgery and skin grafts. When I eventually saw my face, I
couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t even make out where my
features began and ended. I was stunned, and remember
joking, “I am seriously jacked up.” It was too much to take
My family told me that Andrew had been harassing them,
obsessively asking about my face and saying he would
take care of me no matter what. He told them that he had
slipped and fallen, and that’s how I had got acid on me. I
knew it wasn’t an accident and I knew it would be hard to
prove, because he was a clever man. He had never been
violent with me before but he was controlling and
Over the next four months, I got my sight back in one eye
and two months after the attack, I was walking again. The
first thing I did was go to the local police department near
my home in McDonough, Georgia and file a report. They
didn’t pursue it. They said they had questioned me when I’d
got to hospital and I’d said it was an accident. I don’t
remember that.
Months went by and finally I went to the prosecutor’s office
and told the assistant district attorney my story. She
believed me and reopened the case. In July 2015, it finally
went to trial. Andrew was found guilty of two counts of
aggravated battery and one count of aggravated assault.
He was sentenced to 40 years in prison, with 20 to serve.
I set up a foundation to support victims of domestic
violence. Acid attacks are a global issue – it’s unusual in
the US, but less so elsewhere, for example in Bangladeshi I
believe Andrew attacked me because he knew I was going
to break up with him that weekend, something I decided to
do when my 13-year-old son told me he felt scared around
him. But the one thing he was trying to destroy – my
beauty – had nothing to do with my face. You can’t burn
integrity, character or courage. What he thought he would
destroy, he never even touched. “


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