The Story of German Acid Attack Survivor Vanessa Münstermann
Special Thanks to Vanessa Münstermann, who kindly answered our interview questions for the following story:
Vanessa Münstermann is an acid victim survivor from Germany. She was only 27 years old when her ex-boyfriend poured sulfuric acid on her face in February 2016. He knew that her daily routine included a morning walk with her beagle dog. That day, he was waiting for her between the bushes, Vanessa couldn’t even realize what’s going on when he suddenly commit the crime.
When the attack happened, Vanessa had a restraining order against him. Even in 2019 when she released her book Ich will mich mich nicht verstecken ( = I don’t want to hide), she was still living in fear of the day when he will be getting released from prison. He got 12 years in jail. Vanessa got lifelong.
His aim was to “make her face look like her ugly character”. He didn’t know that the attack would make her even stronger. Today, Vanessa says “I’m a very happy person – I wasn’t before”.
Vanessa admits that the attack actually brought something positive into her life: “I’ve finally found the place in life I’ve always been looking for”. Before the attack, the trained cosmetician always struggled with the pressure to look good. “I wanted to be beautiful as a young woman, so I was. I used a lot of makeup and stuff like that – the pressure is now gone because it would only mean extra work for nothing”. After the attack, her focus in life changed: “I do not know if I would still feel that way [I used to feel] today because the attack happened – and it was something very positive for me. I have finally found the place in life that I have always searched for”, so Vanessa.
Vanessa Münstermann founded an NGO for Disfigured People
According to Vanessa, “the society needs to change [when it comes to accepting disfigured people] – that’s why I founded the association Ausgezeichnet e.V., that’s why I exactly went public. We, the victims, have to show face”.
Ausgezeichnet ( = excellent/ honored) is an association of disfigured people for disfigured people. It helps them and their relatives with words and deeds, a network of therapists and other supporters. It also helps financially for example when it comes to buying an expensive scar cream, financing an important cosmetic procedure which is not covered by the German health insurance system or when it comes to spending time at a place where affected people can relax for a while. For these good purposes, the NGO is very happy to receive donations.
Vanessa’s Future Looks Bright
In autumn 2019, Vanessa Münstermann will get married to her childhood love with whom she also has a daughter, born in May 2019. “I am a very happy person now – I was not before. And I am glad that my book Ich will mich nicht verstecken, in which I put a lot of passion, tells my story which [in this form] can be received by many people”. About the moment, when her daughter will realize for the first time, that her mothers face is disfigured, Vanessa says that it surely will be difficult and emotional. But about everything else? “It will fall into place…”, so Vanessa.
Featured image: special thanks to Vanessa’s Management for allowing us to use the picture.