Earlier this year, 19-year-old aspiring model Gabriella Montgomery shared the graphic photos above following a horrific domestic violence incident with her ex-boyfriend. Gabriella took to Instagram last week to share the devastating news that her abuser, the boy who kicked her out of a moving vehicle, dragged her and left her for dead in a pool of her own blood wasn’t charged for anything. In fact, when he left the courtroom, he left smiling.
Vulnerable and hurt, Gabriella shared:
“i have never cried so much in my life, I feel very confused and hurt.. he paid $1,000 an hour for his lawyer and he got away with everything with no charge, no community service, nothing. He walked out laughing and smiling. what is wrong with our systems.. no negative comments please or you will be blocked. Thank you for everyone’s support and love throughout the past 11 months.. but I need some time alone to get better. I love all of you.”
If the graphic images weren’t disturbing enough, underneath them she retold her account of the domestic violence attack. 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.
And while she received the only outcome that she was hoping against, Gabriella is still a champion. She’s a voice for the women who are too afraid to speak out. She’s a woman with enough courage to face the cynical criticism for the public. She’s a fighter. 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. However, this justice system is starting to become a real problem.
When Eric Garner’s killer goes free and the man who filmed the entire chokehold death gets indicted, you’ve got to be blind to miss that something’s wrong with that. Gabriella’s abuser walked out of the courtroom without a single charge and Gabriella not only had gruesome physical scars, but she’s not got the emotional scars that will last a lifetime because the man who attacked her is a free man. I mean, not even community service! What’s wrong with our justice system?
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.
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 80K and most of them are offering support and encouragement. And I’m one of them. I’ve followed Gabriella’s story for almost a full year and it’s a beautiful thing to watch a young lady be so brave and so poised in a situation as horrific as this.
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