“He wanted to make me ugly so no one would love me,” Kayla Hayes told Inside Edition of the 2016 attack.
Seth Fleury was Hayes' first serious boyfriend, she said. At the time, she was 17. He was 21. “He made me believe that he loved me,” she recalled.
But Fleury quickly became too controlling, Hayes said. She tried to break up with him repeatedly, but each time he would shower her with cards begging for forgiveness and she'd cave.
Finally, after 11 months of dating, Hayes broke up with him for good. When Fleury asked to meet one last time to return some personal items, she agreed. She said she was in her car when he suddenly leaned forward to kiss her, but it was no gentle farewell.
“He got about right here, tried to kiss me. I leaned back against the seat and he just latched onto me,” Hayes tearfully recalled.
Fleury clamped down on her lip with such ferocity, he bit it off. He was arrested in the brutal attack and ultimately pleaded guilty to assault and battery. He was sentenced to 12 years in prison earlier this month.
Hayes was left disfigured, attracting attention each time she stepped out in public, she said. "I felt like a monster," she wrote on Facebook, reacting to Fleury's sentencing.
But with the help of reconstructive surgeon Dr. Brian Boland, she has her smile again.
“It’s horrific. It’s a horrific thing,” Boland told Inside Edition of the attack, adding that he's happy to have helped her move on.
For her part, Hayes has now created a Facebook page called "Rise Above" to raise awareness about domestic violence.
She has also embraced her scars thanks to her new boyfriend, Blake.
“He does a great job of reminding me they're beautiful," she said of her new beau.
"It shows what I survived through."