A hairdresser has bravely shared how she had every bone in her face broken by her “evil” boyfriend.
Katie Kelleher, from Bootle in Merseyside, has spoken out about the domestic abuse she suffered while in a nine-month relationship.
Katie dated her attacker on and off for nearly a year. The relationship left her with devastating injuries.
She had to spend three months in hospital having her face reconstructed, with specialists working on her eye sockets, jaw, cheekbones, nose and skull.
Katie even had to have metal plates inserted to keep the bones of her face in place.
At one point, Katie was told by a surgeon that her injuries were so bad, they resembled those suffered by people involved in high-impact road crashes with no seat belt.
The man who attacked Katie was jailed for five years and her ordeal caused her to shut herself away due to the panic attacks and depression she suffered as a result.
Brave domestic abuse survivor Katie made the decision to share the harrowing images of her bruised and beaten face to raise awareness of domestic violence.
December marks Domestic Violence Awareness Month 2020.
Katie hopes her story can raise awareness and prevent others suffering.
Katie’s attack took place in Croxteth, in Liverpool, in 2011.
She described how she was punched in the face and then kicked in the head repeatedly while she lay on the floor unconscious.
Doctors told her that they didn’t know how she had managed to escape serious brain damage after she suffered serious head injuries.
Now Katie, who runs a beauty salon in Walton, has dedicated her life to helping others by setting up her own charity, KatieCares, which provides support to victims of domestic abuse.
Speaking to the Liverpool Echo previously, Katie said: “In 2015 I decided to share my story on social media to take back control of my life. Up until then I hadn’t spoken to many people about what happened to me.”
“At first it was hard to open up. At the time people didn’t speak as openly about domestic violence.
“But when I began to meet other women who had suffered violence and I began to speak to other people about it changed how I felt.
“Helping others helped me to get over my trauma. It helped me search inside for a purpose and that’s when I knew I wanted to do something that helps victims of domestic abuse.
“Women who might be suffering abuse at the moment need to know that they’re not alone.
“There is light at the end of the tunnel and things will get better when you reach out for help.
“It took me years to get to where I am today and stop asking questions to myself about why it happened.”
Domestic abuse help and support
Domestic violence or abuse can happen to anyone.
NHS advice says if you are at risk of domestic abuse or violence you can:
Talk to your doctor, health visitor or midwife
Women can call 0808 2000 247, the free 24-hour National Domestic Violence Helpline run in partnership between Women’s Aid and Refuge
Men can call the Men’s Advice Line free on 0808 801 0327 (Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm) or ManKind on 01823 334 244
In an emergency, call 999
The Survivor’s Handbook from Women’s Aid is free and gives information on issues such as housing, money, helping children and legal rights.
Men can email [email protected], which can refer you to places that can help, such as health services and voluntary organisations.
For forced marriage and “honour” crimes, contact Karma Nirvana (0800 5999 247) or The Forced Marriage Unit (020 7008 0151).
Galop provides support to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people experiencing domestic violence.
Anyone who needs confidential help with their own abusive behaviour can contact Respect on their free helpline on 0808 802 4040.
Katie added: “”I want other women to know things will get better if they reach out and talk to someone. Talking is the thing that will help you get you through.”
Currently fundraising for her charity via JustGiving, Katie said: “I am currently renovating two floors of the building which houses my salon into a domestic abuse centre, with the necessary security so that women feel safe coming in.
“We intend to offer a confidence-boosting course which will include relaxation, therapy, pampering, counselling, and scar covering. Going on from there, we will provide work experience, vouchers for interview clothes, self-defence classes, training and much more.”
Katie is hoping to raise £20,000 to create her domestic abuse support centre, and is nearly at the £9,000 mark.