The victim of an alleged anti-gay hate crime has released an extensive statement on the experience, but stopped short of confirming that the attack was somehow motivated by her sexuality.
Mallory Owens of Mobile, Ala. was reportedly attending Thanksgiving dinner at the family home of girlfriend Ally Hawkins when she suffered multiple skull fractures and crushed bones after being attacked by Hawkins' brother Travis Hawkins Jr., 18.
The 23-year-old Owens notes in the statement:
"I was unconscious when the beating ended. I do not know what stopped him. I do know he has threatened to kill me before, he has attacked me with a metal pipe before, and on Thanksgiving Day he launched an unprovoked attack on me that left me unconscious, hospitalized, suffering horrific head trauma, severe injuries and in need of surgery and additional treatment.
Since the attack, Travis Hawkins Jr. has been seen following my family and appearing at locations where they have gathered. He has threatened to finish me off. I believe as long as he is free on bond that my life continues to be in danger. Even beyond the physical harm, I am quite traumatized. I am afraid and I feel that I have been victimized repeatedly by the Hawkins family."
Calling many of the media reports "orchestrated" by the Hawkins family as well as "premature and misguided," Owens added:
"I am fortunate that my family’s love for me is unconditional. I fell in love with a girl. My family loves, accepts and supports me. They have shown nothing but love and acceptance throughout my attack, my time in the hospital, and the investigation of this brutal attack, they have been there for me, loving me and supporting me."
According to reports, Hawkins has been charged with second degree assault, though Owens confirms that she and her family hope the charges will be upgraded to attempted murder as the investigation progresses.
Previously, an attorney for the Hawkins family has denied the accusation that the attack was a hate crime in any way.
Meanwhile, Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin released a statement condemning the attack. "Living openly as an LGBT person in America takes a tremendous amount of courage, and moments like this remind us of the obligation we have to continue creating safer environments –- particularly for vulnerable LGBT youth," he said in the statement. "No one who is brave enough to be open and honest in their local community should ever fear for their well-being or personal safety."