The survivor of a brutal attack is finally on the road to recovery and undergoing reconstructive surgery in California.
Atsede Niguse was at her mother's house in the village of Adigrat, in northern Ethiopia, while she sought a divorce from her estranged husband.
One night, in July 2017, he crept out from behind a bush and threw battery acid in Niguse's face while she stood at the door, disfiguring her and blinding her.
After hearing the story, Menbere Aklilu, who lives in the Bay Area, helped Niguse obtain a humanitarian visa and escorted her to the US to seek treatment.
Niguse is being helped by several organizations pro bono including Saint Francis Memorial Hospital and Face Forward as they help reconstruct her nose, mouth and eyes, and hopefully help her regain some sight.
She hopes her story can inspire other women to speak out about their own domestic abuse and leave before it's too late.
Atsede Niguse had battery acid thrown at her by her estranged husband, whom she was seeking a divorce from, in Ethiopia in July 2017. The mother-of-one was badly burned, losing her nose and one ear, and was left blinded by the attack. Pictured: Niguse before the attack, left, and after the attack, right
Niguse is seen in April 2019 before undergoing reconstructive surgeries
Ophthalmology and oculoplastic surgeon Dr. Gary I. Aguilar, center, and St. Francis Hospital Chief of Staff Dr. Robert A. Harvey, to the right, perform reconstructive eyelid surgery on burn victim Atsede Niguse in May 2019. The two doctors, along with Dr. Angelo Capozzi, medical director and co-founder of Rotaplast International, donated their time to perform reconstructive eyelid surgery and follow-up care on Niguse
In Ethiopia, Niguse was studying biology at Hawassa University and hoped to become a teacher while running a cosmetic business on the side.
Her husband, a police officer, forced her to marry him and would hit her every night for nearly six years.
'He was beating her, while she was pregnant and in front of her son,' Aklilu, whom Niguse lives with, told DailyMail.com.
After one particularly brutal beating in which her teeth were knocked out, she demanded a divorce and took their son, Honeybun, with her.
Between six and eight months later, he hid behind a bush and waited for her to arrive back at her mother's house. While she on the doorstep, he attacked her with acid.
'He told her: "This acid is nothing; I want to kill you,"' Aklilu said.
Niguse lost most of her nose and one of her ears. Because she was hit directly in the face, she was left blinded by the attack. Her husband has yet to be charged.
'He took away my face and my identity,' Niguse said.
Aklilu heard about her story on Facebook.
She related to the young woman because she is a survivor of domestic abuse herself back in her native Ethiopia, where she was an actress.
Atsede Niguse, left, walks down the aisle with Samantha Novick during Menbere Akililu's wedding in California in May 2019 where she was maid of honor