Mallory Owens visited her girlfriend’s family for Thanksgiving, but was brutally attacked by her girlfriend’s brother, leaving her with multiple fractures, a broken nose, and eyes swollen shut. Mallory was treated and released from the hospital on Monday.
Family members have claimed, and history has demonstrated, that Travis Hawkins Jr. was very unhappy that his sister, Ally, was in a relationship with a woman. The two had previous altercations. Hawkins attack on Mallory allegedly happened as they were leaving after dinner. Some reports say that Hawkins continues to threaten Mallory and her family.
Hawkins has been charged with second degree assault. Many in the family and in the LGBT community have called those charges too light for such a serious crime. According to Mobile County District Attorney Ashley Rich, Alabama law doesn’t allow for any stricter charges under these circumstances.
Currently, Alabama’s hate crime law does not include sexual orientation. District Attorney Rich said, "It's a horrific crime, and unfortunately because of the laws in the state of Alabama, we can't charge assault first because for assault first you have to have used a deadly weapon and Alabama courts have said a fist is not a deadly weapon."
Equality Alabama Chair Patricia Todd released the following statement, "Tonight our prayers go to Mallory Owens as she returns home to family. Equality Alabama has called for a full investigation and swift justice for her senseless beating. While the investigation continues one fact is clear: nothing warrants the violence she witnessed. By living her life honestly, Mallory is deserving of no less than the love of family and admiration of peers.”
Ralph Young, the Vice Chair of Equality Alabama, stated that what happened to Mallory should never have to happen to anyone else again. “State law doesn’t adequately protect Mallory nor the 11,000 gay and lesbian families across Alabama. We must work together to create laws and a culture that guards against such a horrific attack ever happening again, to Mallory or anyone.”
There is currently a Change.org petition directed toward Alabama leaders to bring Travis Hawkins Jr. to justice, which has already garnered nearly 75,000 signatures.
The ongoing story of Mallory Owens’ attack, her recovery, and the charges against her attacker needs continued media attention. This horrific attack highlights the lack of protections that LGBT people face around the country.
“No one should be attacked simply for being who they are,” said GLAAD President, Herndon Graddick. “Mallory Owens’ attack is a wake-up call for all of us. We need action at the state level that can protect victims like Mallory and ensure that such a brutal assault never happens again.”
GLAAD will continue to reach out to Mallory’s family, and advocate for justice for Mallory and her family.
UPDATE: Because Mallory does not have health insurance, a fund has been set up to offeset medical costs. LGBT POV quotes Evelyn Mitchell of Regions Corporate Communications, “An assistance fund has been set up to benefit Mallory N. Owens,” and the public can go to regions.com to find a bank or “call 1-800-REGIONS for information on locations or bank by mail donations.”