SIMPSONVILLE, S.C. (CBS Local) — A 19-year-old woman is speaking out about the ex-boyfriend who bit her lip off when she refused to get back together with him.
Seth Aaron Fleury, 23, was sentenced to 12 years in prison last week after pleading guilty to assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature.
Fluery was accused of biting off his ex-girlfriend’s lip on October 21, 2017, when she refused to kiss him and telling him she did not want to get back together.
“He just latched on to me,” Kayla Hayes told WHNS. “I felt it tear and it was already numb, but I felt it and then I went into complete shock and survival mode and started screaming. Then I looked down and my lip was on my leg — it was covered in gravel. I just picked it up and I was thinking what the heck is this.”
Hayes had met up with Fleury on the night of the assault to discuss their relationship.
“I was not there to get back together with him, however, I was there for him to right his wrongs,” Hayes wrote in an extensive post on her Facebook page that includes graphic photos of her injuries taken immediately after the incident.
After Hayes refused to resume the relationship, Fleury became angry. He attempted to kiss her and as she pulled away, “he bit down on her bottom lip with such force that her lip was amputated,” 13th Circuit Solicitor Walt Wilkins said in a statement.
“This was the day that a piece of me died,” Hayes 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. At that point, wishing that those very seconds would just be my last— I wanted to give up for good.”
Hayes underwent emergency plastic surgery, but doctors were unable to reattach her lip. She was left with severe scars and limited range of motion in her mouth.
“He was going to leave his mark on me for my next boyfriend,” Hayes wrote.
Hayes says she received more than 300 stitches, underwent multiple surgeries and extensive reconstruction.
But Hayes says she struggled even more with the emotional recovery. She attributes a particular quote as a major part of healing process.
“‘Wear your scars as your wings’ and I think that really helped me get through it all because my scar, I’m going to use it as my wing and I’m going to fly and rise above all of this.”
One year later, Hayes runs a blog, Rise Above, where she talks about her experiences in the hope she can inspire others to seek help.
“There’s a difference between accepting ups and downs rather than accepting abuse, whether it be physical, mental, whatever it is. Don’t accept it. You need to rise above. You need to continue to stay strong, you need to get out.”