Five years ago, a Nigerian woman living in the UK, Naomi Oni, would never have thought she would need to be brave to post pictures on her social media pages.
Although she is not letting her look define or draw her back, it takes a little more bravery to do things she would ordinarily do before.
Naomi was returning home from work on December 30, 2012, when her best friend, Mary Konye, attacked her with acid. Naomi and Mary had been friends since they were 11-years old and were considered best friends.
According to reports online, Mary was so obsessed with Naomi’s beauty that she dressed, talked, walked and did so many things like her.
In April 2011, Mary and Naomi started having problems when Naomi realized that Mary was trying to take her man from her.
Mary had been sending anonymous messages to Naomi’s boyfriend claiming she was sleeping with other men.
Disguising as a Muslim woman dressed in a niqab, Mary attacked Naomi with acid.
Naomi suffered serious burns to her face and chest, lost her hair and eyelashes, and required skin graft surgery to cover the burns.
Apart from the physical burns, Naomi suffers from depression, anxiety, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
As part of her campaign against acid attack, Naomi was interviewed on Daily Mirror, where she spoke on her attacker and the acid-experience.
She wanted to destroy how I looked. It was the ultimate thing she could do.
In this age of social media, where physical appearance is the most important thing to us, a lot of people would not be able to handle this. Even to young men, appearance is a big deal.
People get famous because of how they look, go viral because of how they look, get a reality show because of how they look.
People think if they look a certain way, it gains a certain type of success. Someone who does this to someone knows they will struggle the rest of their life.
It was a near-death experience and having to deal with your appearance changing, your quality of life changing. I didn’t feel there was much for me.
Naomi explained that she has been single since the attack and still struggles to work.
“I went back to Victoria’s Secret for a couple of months and I ended up working in the stock room. I didn’t feel confident on the shop floor because I was still insecure about my appearance.”
Even though she re-trained as a makeup technician, she is always been rejected.
On posting pictures on her social media pages
There are low times but I am trying to get on with it. I realized I had to stop feeling sorry for myself, I have got to a stage where I have got to know myself and I love the person that I am. Someone tried to tarnish my physical image but I’m healing, I am trying to move on.
I was determined to get back on social media. Posting selfies was liberating. It was reaffirming to get the comments and likes. I do it to inspire people and show no matter what people are going through, they can overcome.