'Strangers tell me they’ve been raped': Acid attack survivor Katie Piper pens self-help book after being overwhelmed with letters from people around the world seeking her advice
17:02 GMT, 21 May 2012
Inspirational: Katie Piper is now reaching out to people in need by writing a self-help book
Her story of survival has inspired people around the world to write to her for answers to their own problems. So now acid attack victim Katie Piper has written a self-help book to show people that 'no matter how dark a situation you can feel you're in, there really is hope.'
Katie, 28, said she wrote the book, which offers advice on how to overcome pain, loss and low self-esteem, after she was overwhelmed by the response she got from people around the world when her story was made public.
In a video promoting her book, which you can view below, she said: 'The question I'm asked the most is, 'how did I get through it all and stay so positive', she said.
'It really inspired me to write this book to help other people and show them that no matter how dark a situation you can feel you're in, there really is hope.'
The story of Katie's remarkable courage and resilience has previously been told through her memoirs and in a Channel Four documentary charting her recovery.
In 2008, she was a 24-year-old working as a model and had a bright future ahead of her when she met abusive ex-boyfriend, Daniel Lynch, who one night raped and threatened to kill her.
After she managed to escape and end the relationship, he arranged for Stefan Sylvestre, to throw acid in her face.
The attack on a London street melted her face, blinded her in one eye and left her with horrific burns. Both Lynch and Sylvestre have since been jailed for life while Katie was left to face a long road to recovery.
Thanks to the numerous operations and the work of top surgeons, Katie's face has been rebuilt and her sight has been restored by stem-cell surgery.
Her appearance has been changed dramatically and she will be scarred for life but she has revealed she has come to terms with her new look and no longer looks back with longing for the face she once had.
Ordeal: Katie before her horrific attack, left, and with the scars she was left with
'The old Katie is gone and I have grieved for her like a friend who died. But I love the new Katie. She has gone through so much I feel she can achieve anything,' she told today's Daily Mirror.
She marked the start of the 'new' Katie at the end of last year by dying her hair brunette. 'I’m no longer that ‘blonde girl who had acid thrown in her face’', she said when she debuted the look.
It was after her Bafta-nominated programme was broadcast that Katie began to receive letters from people seeking help on their various problems.
Road to recovery: The model has had to have numerous operations and wore a pressure mask to reduce scarring to restore her appearance
'The letters started arriving from all over the world asking me for advice. Not just people with burns or disfigurements but with all sorts of problems – anorexia, rape, domestic violence, depression, loneliness,' she told the Mirror. 'There was even a 50-year-old man who lost his job and home and said he had ‘no identity’ any more.'
Katie believes that waiving her right to anonymity as a victim of rape and sharing her story gave people confidence to confide in her and share their own experiences.
HOW KATIE TURNS INSULTS INTO COMPLIMENTS
Anyone suffering from low self-esteem or feeling down about their appearance thanks to criticism from others, should take note of how Katie deals with ignorant insults by turning them into positiveS.
'The other day there was a group of drunken football fans in the street,' she explains. 'When I got close enough for them to see me properly one of them said loudly, 'Ugh! Botox face!'
'I thought, 'Er, no… melted acid face, actually.'
'Then I thought it was really a kind of compliment because it means I’m not THAT unusual looking.'
'I think because I had publicly acknowledged my scars, other people suddenly felt able to tell me about theirs – the physical ones and the hidden scars inside', she revealed.
People have also approached her in person when they have seen her in the street. One woman in particular stands out to Katie who she encountered on public transport.
She recalls: 'One day on the Tube a girl came up to me crying. She whispered, ‘Thank you for telling your story.’
'I was shocked because when I looked into her eyes I just knew that she had been raped too.'
Katie added that some people seemed embarrassed to admit to being in turmoil over matters such as relationship break-ups and acne, which seemed trivia in comparison to what she had been through, but she believes problems cannot be quantified.
'Sometimes people start by saying, ‘I shouldn’t bother you with this because compared to what you’ve gone through it’s nothing,’ she said.
'That’s rubbish. If you’re miserable, or scared or something is holding you back in life then it’s a problem. And it IS important.'
In her book, Things Get Better, she shares the key steps and support that led to her own emotional recovery.
As well as acknowledging the importance of the support of her friends and family, she advises readers how she learnt to laugh through the pain, embrace positivity and believe in herself.
She addresses, using her own experience and those of the people who have written to her, how to tackle fears and phobias and how to pick yourself up when you've hit 'rock bottom'.
'I'm really proud of this book and I hope it will help as many people as possible,' she said.
Things Get Better by Katie Piper will be released on May 24. Watch a video of Katie Piper talking her about the book here: