We’re glad this woman is able to live a normal life again after this vicious domestic attack…
According to ABC News:
Ilianexy Morales was in her 20s when she met a man outside her home in New York City as he was asking for directions. He was older, 38, but doting and generous, and they began dating exclusively. He encouraged her to quit her job as a medical assistant and began to support Morales, her 4-year-old daughter and bedridden mother. But soon, his attentiveness turned to possessiveness and obsessive demands. She had to ask permission to leave the house and he would spy on her at school.
“There was no violence, but other things, like control issues, jealousy … like who I would talk to,” she told ABCNews.com. That would change. Three years into the oppressive relationship in 2005, when Morales tried to break up with him, he cajoled his way into her apartment and stabbed her more than 100 times with a butcher’s knife, partially severing her arms and nearly decapitating her, she said.
Morales survived after a month in a coma and seven initial surgeries — one to reattach her arms — and her former boyfriend is now serving a 15-year sentence for assault with a deadly weapon, she said. But she was left with horrendous scars all over her body, especially on her face. Riddled with anxiety, she couldn’t even look herself in the mirror. “I didn’t look like me,” Morales, 30, said. “I would hide a lot. I felt really ashamed of myself even though it was not my fault.”
But in 2010, Face to Face, a program based in Alexandria, Va., gave Morales her face and her strength and her dignity back.
The charitable arm of the American Academy of Facial, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS), Face to Face provides about 1,500 surgeries a year to women in need in its National Domestic Violence Project. “Ilianexy was critically injured,” said Dr. Andrew Jacono, a New York City facial and reconstructive surgeon who took her case. “It wasn’t just a simple scar. She was almost stabbed to death. She probably would have been killed if he wasn’t stopped by a neighbor. He was going to finish her off.”
“I was always strong and accepted what had happened,” she said. “My main problem was seeing myself in the mirror. When I saw all the scars, I felt like I was looking at another person.” When Morales finally received her facial and neck surgery, she also got a new set of teeth. Every one had been knocked out in the assault. Now she has begun to work as a professional makeup artist and now has a boyfriend, one who she says is stable psychologically and truly loves her.
“Finally, because of the surgery, I am able to appreciate people and life again,” she said. But Morales warns other women to watch for the “red flags” of violence. “If you are afraid of the person, get out, get help and go to a shelter.”
“It’s important to talk about it,” she added. “Women are losing their lives, getting beaten every day.”