Survivor of Mililani acid attack speaks out to fight against domestic violence
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Davina Licon said the night she was attacked changed her life and left her scarred, both physically and mentally.
But it also changed what she wants to do with the rest of that life -- to help others as she continues the difficult journey of recovery.
“Well right now, doing better that I was. But it’s a really long healing process,” Licon said.
The process began April 7, when Licon was leaving the Mililani gym where she had been training for her first-ever bodybuilding competition. That’s when police say she was confronted by Paul Cameron, who she said had been trying to date her -- but she had turned him down.
“He was odd. Like he would throw out weird comments,” she said. “There was one comment that he said, he was like, what would you do if I pointed a gun at you? And that should have been like a major red flag.”
Police say he first shot at her with a ghost gun.
“I was extremely shocked,” Licon said. “And when the gun was in my face, I really thought it was a joke, like a prank or something.”
Licon said the gun was just inches from her face. It did go off, but the bullet missed.
And then she felt a warm liquid thrown on her. She didn’t know it was acid at first.
“After a couple of seconds it started to burn. And that’s when I knew, like, this is not good.”
Licon was taken to the hospital with severe chemical burns over 30% of her body, including on her neck and her face. She said it was a very difficult time.
“I told one of the nurses, like, I can’t do this. I just want to give up. And she was like, no, you have to keep fighting. And that’s what I did,” Licon said.
“Looking back at old pictures and stuff, it’s like seeing someone that I knew. Like, it’s not me no more. Like that person’s dead. But I just regret calling myself ugly before. Or being self-conscious before.
“Looking back I realize how pretty I was. And I know I don’t look that different but it still affects me. Like every time I look in the mirror, it’s like a reminder of what happened. And it takes me back to that night.”
Cameron is awaiting trial for second-degree attempted murder, along with firearms charges. Licon said she’s prepared to take the witness stand against him.
We asked Licon if she had thought about what she would say to him.
“I would ask him why he did it. What was going through his head? I want to hear what, like -- what kind of thing he thinks, like why it’s okay to do something like that to somebody,” she said.
Licon said she’s telling her story to fight against domestic violence, and that she’s already met with other burn survivors.
“They just tell me like, it gets better. I mean, everyone’s told me that. But it’s just hard going through it. And they tell me like, just keep fighting.”
Licon also wants to return to the gym and is looking forward to the rest of her life.
“I’ll definitely get back into working out and stuff, but I also want to start going to school to become a physical therapist so I can work with burn patients and really help them out because I’ve been through it. I know what it’s like. I know how it feels.”
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