There's something about the story of this woman who had acid thrown on her face in Dagenham back in December that I can't quite get over...
We first heard about it at the weekend:
A woman has said she did not want to live when she saw herself for the first time after having acid thrown in her face near her home in east London.
Naomi Oni, 20, said she was attacked by a person wearing a veil covering their face after getting off a bus in Lodge Avenue, Dagenham, on 30 December.
She said: "I've never been so scared in my life. I just knew it was acid.
"The first time I looked I was shocked. I didn't want to live after I saw my face."
Miss Oni, who worked at the Victoria's Secret lingerie store in Westfield, Stratford, is recovering after undergoing surgery for burns sustained in the attack.
She got off the bus to walk home just after midnight, felt that someone was walking behind her, looked round, and saw a woman wearing a niqab. Next thing, she had the acid thrown in her face.
The Times report (£) was a little more explicit about the nature of the woman who attacked her:
Ms Oni was travelling home from Victoria’s Secret in the Westfield Stratford shopping centre and had just got off the bus when the attacker struck. It was about 12.40am, as she had worked a night shift.
She said: “I saw this Muslim woman wearing a niqab. I thought it was a bit strange at that time of night, but she didn’t say anything and I kept on walking. Then I felt a splash on my face. It burnt and I screamed out. I started running and screaming, holding my face, all the way home. I didn’t look back...."
So the person who, according to the BBC report, was mysteriously "wearing a veil covering their face" was identified at the time by the victim as a Muslim woman. Niqabs, after all, must be a fairly common sight around that part of East London - though not, presumably, in the early hours of the morning.
Yesterday Ms Oni appeared live on This Morning, with Phillip Schofield - which must have taken considerable courage. (Courage to appear, I mean, not courage to appear with Phillip Schofield...though come to think of it...). Here's the Times today (£):
Speaking about the attack yesterday, she said: “I want them to realise the pain they put myself and my family through. I don’t want them to do it to anyone else. For other girls to go through what I’ve gone through. I don’t hate them. I just want to know why they did it.
“Whoever they are, if they can come out and reveal themselves, I would just like to know why. I don’t hate them ... I just want to know why.”
Ms Oni told police that she was attacked near her home in Dagenham, East London, by someone in a niqab. She had just finished a late shift at Victoria’s Secret in Stratford.
She told Phillip Schofield on This Morning on ITV1: “After the attack I asked, ‘Why me?’ I work so hard, I’m a good person.”
Speaking about her life-changing injuries, she said that she found it hard to leave the house and appear in public, having been a “girly girl” who spent ages getting ready. But she said that “they may have burnt my face but me as a person, they can’t hurt me”.
Police are still hoping to find her attacker. A spokesman said that they were “keeping an open mind” in relation to the motive.
Which is nice.
It's difficult not to come over all EDL/Daily Mail on this, but really...how open an open mind are they keeping? Could I suggest as at least a reasonable line of enquiry that Ms Oni was targeted because she was an attractive young woman who worked at Victoria's Secret and was therefore seen as a slut who deserved to have her face burnt off, and that this is part of the same movement that's seen Muslim vigilante groups in action recently in Tower Hamlets.
No, of course I don't know for sure. It could have been an old boyfriend getting revenge, or some random nutter in fancy dress, or even the aforementioned EDL trying to stir up anti-Muslim feeling. But I know which way I'd bet. And, yes, I understand why the police aren't committing themselves, but I just get a feeling that any mention of the M word is being strongly discouraged, and that a lot of people would be a great deal happier if Naomi Oni had just kept quite about the whole thing. And anyway, it's not as if there's much chance of a prosecution anytime soon: the attacker had her face covered.
What can I say? I don't believe any of this nonsense about Eurabia and the rest but, yes, there's something about this just stays with me. An acid attack on a woman's face, here, in London. Why isn't there more outrage?