Gabriella Bambii (@Bambiiiii_) is an aspiring Victoria’s Secret model who, from the looks of her usual social media pictures, has the looks that might bring her closer to her dreams. But the UK-based beauty shocked Instagram followers and social media friends after she posted unrecognizable pictures of herself mangled, battered and bruised, that have since gone viral.
If the graphic images weren’t disturbing enough, underneath them she retold her account of the domestic violence attack from her then-boyfriend who kicked her out of a moving vehicle and dragged her, leaving her laying in a pool of her own blood. While viewing these photos made me feel sorry for Gabriella, I would never call her a victim. Gabriella says she shared these details in hopes of inspiring women in her situation to get help:
This night be a little graphic but I just want to let everyone know that I am okay. I am a survivor of domestic violence with a boy I dated for 8 months. I really thought everything was fine but he constantly questioned me about cheating and flirting. Non sense. I never looked at someone the way he looked at me. Thought I loved this boy. How can someone that ‘loves’ me do this to me? The scars on my chest are way worse and extend down to my right nipple, completely scarred. The skin on my shoulder has been completely skinned. And i have bruising on my rib cage, neck, and my muscles. I was kicked out of a moving vehicle, then beaten and dragged, as I blacked out and was left lying there in my own puddle of blood. Doctors said I could have died if not made it when I did. I am so blessed and beyond lucky to be alive and have so much support from friends, family, and strangers. As I try to recover I ask to please keep me in your prayers. I have to wear a neck brace for 3-4 weeks, an arm cast and I can barely walk for now. Thank you for all the love. I hope to be an inspiration to women and anyone involved in domestic violence.
The number one killer of African-American women ages 15 to 34 is homicide at the hands of a current or former intimate partner. In 2011, Black women were murdered by males at a rate of 2.61 per 100,000 in single victim/single offender incidents and in 94% of cases it was by someone they knew. Gabriella’s story shows that there’s still much work to be done when it comes to protecting and empowering victims to speak out.
After sharing her abuse details, Gabriella went through another attack on social media, with commenters speculating on why she was beaten and suggesting that maybe she “deserved” it. Some asked why she stayed when “saw the signs.” The criticism spewed is the victim blaming response that helps contribute to the disturbing fact that most domestic violence incidents are never reported. No one who goes through a domestic violence attack should ever have to defend themselves against this kind of backlash, though Gabriella did address her critics in followup posts below:
The good news here is that her abusive boyfriend was arrested. The bad news—he made bail and was released from jail, just like that. But Gabriella is not letting these odds stack against her. She’s using her voice as a platform for young women dealing with domestic violence and her refusal to be a victim is what touches my heart the most.
African-Americans are victimized by intimate partners at significantly higher rates than persons of any other race. Gabriella is not alone. Many young Black women suffer through domestic violence, but she reminds us all that we don’t have to. The beauty in Gabriella’s story is that after bravely sharing such a horrific event, there has been an outpouring of support. She’s gone from 1000 Instagram followers to over 60K and most of them are offering support and encouragement. And we’re one of them.
Photos Of Gabriella Before The Domestic Violence Attack:
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence call The Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 where trained advocates are available 24/7 to talk confidentially.
Read More About What You Can Do To Combat Domestic Violence:
Check Out This Gallery Of Celebrity Domestic Abuse Survivors:
Celebrities Who’ve Survived Domestic Violence
Rihanna and her on-again, off-again boyfriend Chris Brown had a very public breakup and domestic violence dispute in 2009. He was 19 and she was 20.
2. Kelly Rowland
In her song "Dirty Laundry", Kelly Rowland revealed for the first time ever about an abusive relationship in her past. She talks about verbal abuse and her abusive boyfriend turning her against her mother and sister, saying “Nobody love you more than me. Not your mommma, not your Daddy and not B.”
3. Tamar Braxton
Tamar admitted that she had “two boyfriends that like to beat up girlfriends” on “Braxton Family Values.” She’s gone on to say she has no regrets because those abusive relationships helped build her self-esteem and led to her marriage to Vince.
4. Halle Berry
“I saw my mother battered, and could not do anything to stop it – my father was tyrannical, lashing out at her for no reason. I felt the effects that had on our family — I’ve experienced what these women have gone through,” Berry said during a 2009 interview. “I never had to run to a shelter, but I did choose the wrong partners. Not always good men. Luckily, in recent years, I have been smart enough to hit the door when violence even becomes a possibility. That is something I will not tolerate.”
5. Claudette Ortiz
“I noticed that I think happened with me at that time, your worth is broken down, so in some situations you don’t realize the avenues that you do have to get out,” The songstress said during an interview with Hello Beautiful. “In other situations its hard to get out. People view it as ‘oh girl you can get out of that situation’ but its not that easy. When you’re afraid and then there are not that many options especially with women who are involved. I didn’t have any children with him so, thank God. Women who have children with their abusers, it’s even harder, you don’t want to remove the children, its embarrassing to some women, and then sometimes people have their opinions on how you should be handling something. Most of the time its people who have never been in the situation.”
6. Robin Givens
Givens has been very vocal about her violent marriage to former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson.
7. Tina Turner
Tina Turner first opened up about her story of brutal physical abuse by ex-husband Ike Turner in her memoir, I, Tina: My Own Story.
8. Evelyn Lozada
Evelyn Lozada described her domestic dispute and divorce from former husband Chad Johnson as the darkest days of her life.
9. K. Michelle
Although some people have doubted K. Michelle’s story, the reality star and singer stands by her truth. “I had people send me hate, send me Tweets and do things to me, like I was the one who did it to myself,” she said. “I think a lot of women don’t tell their story, and men, just because you don’t know what people are going to say to you. And more and more, women are coming forward. And I think, if you go through that, you have to use it to help other people. You have to be strong.” Today, she has a partnership with the Saving Our Daughters nonprofit.
10. Whitney Houston
The late Whitney Houston detailed her abusive marriage to Bobby Brown during a 2009 interview with Oprah Winfrey. “He slapped me, but he was on probation for traffic violations,” she said. “You can’t slap somebody if you’re on probation. It went to domestic violence court.”
11. Mariah Carey
Mariah Carey talked about her abusive relationship with Tommy Mottola (1993-1998) during an interview with Larry King. “Abuse has several categories… emotionally, mentally, in other ways. It’s scary,” she said. “I just think you get into a situation and you feel locked in… For me to really get out of it was difficult because there was a connection that was not only a marriage, but a business where the person was in control of my life.”
12. NeNe Leakes
In her book "Never Make the Same Mistake Twice: Lessons on Love and Life Learned the Hard Way", NeNe tackles her painful childhood, the abuse she suffered at the hands of a violent boyfriend, her struggle to support her firstborn son, and her path to true love, self-acceptance, and pride. Additionally she founded The Twisted Hearts Foundation, an advocacy project that aims to make people aware about the issue of domestic violence against women.
13. Gabrielle Union
Actress Gabrielle Union has spoken publicly in the past about the attack she suffered while working the night shift at a shoe store in California when she was 19 years old. She tweeted about her own rape, saying, "Every victim/survivor of rape is unique, including how they THINK they'd like justice 2 be handed out ... During my rape I tried 2 shoot my rapist, bt I missed. Over the yrs I realized tht killin my rapist would've added insult 2 injury."
R&B singer Michel’le revealed that she was beaten by producer Dr. Dre during the course of their 90′s relationship. The domestic violence in the six year relationship (1990-1996) with Dre was apparently “very public” and she revealed she even had to have her black eyes covered in a few of her videos. She thought that it was part of a normal relationship and she saw the abuse as love.
15. Latoya Jackson
La Toya opens up about her abusive relationship with her manager and ex husband Jack Gordon in her reality series "Life With La Toya". She revealed that 'My spouse locked me in the closet ... he would beat me.' 'I knew that one day, I would be able to escape and brush myself off. That is what this show is about. It’s an extension of that and living the life you want to live.'
16. Cicely Tyson
Cicely Tyson married legendary jazz trumpeter Miles Davis on November 26, 1981, and they were married for three-and-a-half years. Davis’ physical and emotional abuse of Tyson has been a source of great frustration for many. And it was said that Miles also abused Francis Davis, a Broadway dancer who gave up her career to be with him.
17. Erica Mena
On her relationship with Fat Joe’s best friend Raoul, the father of her son & the video that exposed the demise of the relationship: "What you see with us is just me basically finally defending myself. It was a really a bad time. I was parting ways with that relationship and I thought I had moved on, but before you know it I was being attacked as if I was still in the relationship. It was seven years of it. It’s been a long journey for me."
18. Christina Aguilera
Christina has admitted that her Army Sergeant father Fausto made life hell for her family and she used music as an escape from the trauma of her beatings. She said: "I witnessed a lot of unpleasant things - a lot of pushing and shoving and fighting and quarrelling. Growing up I did not feel safe. Feeling powerless is the worst feeling in the world. I turned to singing as an outlet. The pain at home is where my love for music came from."
19. Keke Wyatt
"R&B Divas" star Keke Wyatt left her first husband and road manager Rahmat Morton after years of abuse, and even a miscarriage. She is also known for stabbing her ex-husband in self-defense. She is now married to Michael Ford.
20. Jaslene Gonzalez
"America's Next Top Model" winner Jaslene Gonzalez revealed her history with domestic violence on the reality show. She partnered with Liz Claiborne for the "Love Is Not Abuse" campaign, to inspire domestic violence victims to seek help.
21. Lisa Wu
Former "Real Housewives of Atlanta" star Lisa Wu spoke candidly about a violent relationship, most associate with ex-husband Keith Sweat. She said her mission was not to expose, but to show women that life can get better. Although she married Ed Hartwell, the couple have since divorced.