19-year-old aspiring model, Gabriella Montgomery shook the social media world when she decided to share horrific and graphic photos of herself after surviving a violent attack from her ex-boyfriend. She shared a part of her story on Instagram:
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.
Gabriella used social media to share updates about her physical healing and to shut down the insensitive critics who insisted that she did something to make her ex-boyfriend do this to her. Rumors started surfacing that she’d given him HIV and that caused him to drag her limp body down the street with his car.
Keyboard thugs can be so cruel. Their bullying frustrated and saddened Gabriella, forcing her to clear out her entire Instagram account, only displaying three photos.
We reached out, asking Gabriella to allow us to share how she’s moved on, why she took down her graphic photos and why she thinks people wanted to crucify her on social media. What Gabriella revealed is shocking, especially when it comes to her friends’ lack of support.
HelloBeautiful: What was one specific red flag from your ex’s actions that lead up to the incident?
Gabriella Montgomery: That’s a mistake a lot of people tend to make. We were just as any normal couple. We argued, except this time he was more angered like he had been waiting all night to start something with me.
HB: The first time you saw yourself after the incident, what did you think?
GM: I broke down and cried for hours because I was so disgusted at myself and I did not want to look in the mirror until it was all over. I kept saying, ‘How could he do this to me?’ over and over.
HB: What made you take down the initial graphic photos that you shared?
GM: I took them down because it surprisingly was drawing too much negative attention. Everyone wondered why I took them down, but my intentions were to share them with friends and family to let them know the situation. My boyfriend, whom they came to love just as much as I did, was not the person we all thought he was.
After it became viral, it got too much attention, not good, but people sneering and mocking, and asking so many questions that were not relevant to the situation. I was disgusted by these people’s behaviors and I was not and still am not mentally over it all. I had to do it for myself.
HB: Why do you think people (especially on social media) are focused on ‘what you did’ to make him do this to you?
GM: Because people are very simple-minded these days. I am talking down on our generation because people’s priorities and ways of living, thinking, speaking have completely done a U-turn. People are less educated on the means of life and are warped to believe everyone is against them. That is why people think being defensive, snarky and selfish is the way things should be. People don’t focus on the matter of the situation, but rather their own selfish reasons for a problem to occur. Instead of asking “What did you do?” you should be asking, ‘What causes the behavior of abuse?’ I think that would be more appropriate.
HB: How have you been able to move on?
GM: Well I would love to give you an answer saying my lovely supportive friends, but I can not. All of my friends showed their care for the first week of my incident. Now I assume they are tired of hearing it because none of them have been help to me during this. [I have] no one to confide to or speak thoroughly about this with. [My friends] They left me with my own problems. My family however, has been there for me through it all of course, because that’s what family is for. Nonetheless, I have been moving on by taking it day by day and talking to God to help get me through this.
HB: How you do you want your friends to support you in a time like this?
GM: I would just want them to be there for me. Call or text me and ask how I am doing, if I need anything. Things to show care and love. Going through something like this and having friends is the best thing in the world. To know that no matter what you say, do, feel, you can comfortably and confidently talk to someone about it. I do have some friends that have no judgment in me nor my words, that stick with me and support every emotion that I have. Although I have lost some “best” friends, going through this I have found who is really there for me.
HB: What is your advice to young women who may find themselves in a violent relationship?
GM: Women are easily fooled by men, because we were born hopeless romantics. That is not a bad thing. We accept the love we think we deserve, but the problem is, we don’t know what we deserve until we’ve been through a darkness. Still then, women think these men will change.
Instead of hoping for change in our men, we need to make change in ourselves in realizing our worth. There’s a such thing as arguing and disagreeing in a relationship, but love shouldn’t hurt. Physically, mentally, socially; love is beautiful. We should not give up the idea of self happiness. I encourage young and older women to stand up for their worth. We are so much more.
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, especially our young Black women.
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.
This Is Gabriella Before The Attack: