The story behind the attack on Mallory Owens continues to take twists and turns.
Owens, a 23-year-old woman, was brutally assaulted by her girlfriend's 18-year-old brother, Travis Hawkins, Jr., on Thanksgiving. Mallory's mother told the press that her daughter had been attacked because Travis Jr. disliked Mallory for having a lesbian relationship with his sister. The Hawkins family disputed that claim and all reports of what took place as being a "hate crime."
Bruised and weakened, Owens surprised many supporters by returning to the Hawkins home, and by backing up their account that the attack had not been motivated by anti-gay hatred. Travis Hawkins, Jr. has reportedly been arrested and released with a charge of Second Degree Assault.
On Thursday, girlfriend Ally Hawkins, 20, told WALA that her brother's motivation had to do with the two women's involvement with drugs and sex work:
"He found out that me and Mallory had done prostitution.... We were really bad on drugs.... The first time we both did it together.... But I don't blame her for it all the way because I could have said no."
On Friday, a statement attributed to Mallory Owens challenged much of what had been said previously. After thanking LGBT organizations and her thousands of world-wide supporters, the statement went on to say Owens had not been prepared to speak with the media earlier; and Owens felt manipulated by, and fearful of, the Hawkins' family. She did not attribute the violence to anti-gay hatred. [Note: Update below.] But she did move closer to her own mother's perception, and away from her girlfriend's recent claims. As reposted by AL.com and Instinct, the statement read, in part:
"On Thanksgiving Day, I visited the Hawkins’ home, the family home of my girlfriend Ally Hawkins. As I was leaving, I was brutally attacked by Travis Hawkins Jr., Ally’s brother. I believe that he intended to kill me. I was defenseless against him.... 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.... 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."
"I was brought back to the home by Ally Hawkins. I wanted to be in my own apartment. Mr. Hawkins Sr. insisted we give the interview and statements were made. I believe Mr. Hawkins Sr. is very manipulative, I believe he organized the family and orchestrated the media represenation to portray himself in a better light. I do not feel safe there. I was very uneasy and nervous while I was there. I was still very disoriented, weak, and intimidated. Mr. Hawkins Sr. has also threatened me with harm based on my relationship with his daughter.... He and his son pose a very real threat. I will not go back there...."
"Ally Hawkins has continued to release statements and make arbitrary facebook posts and she has even offered a motive for her brother's actions. Please know that Ally Hawkins is NOT SPEAKING for me, she is NOT representing me in the media in any way. Her statements and public posts on facebook or any other form of social media are NOT representative of my opinions, beliefs or words...."
UPDATE (12/1/2012): Mallory Owens spoke on camera with WPMI-Local 15 News. She claimed that her girlfriend's father, Travis Hawkins, Sr., "had made numerous threats to me -- him and his son." In a second report, Owens was shown making statements about the assailant, Travis Hawkins, Jr., having negative feelings about his sister dating a lesbian:
"There's no doubt in my mind he's had a hatred towards me because of that.... I don't think he set there and was beating me in the head saying, this is because you're gay.... He has not liked me, and that is because -- that he did not want his sister with a girl. He told me that over the phone."
Her lawyer, Chrsitine Hernandez, couldn't claim with "certainty" that the assault could be labeled a hate crime. Regardless, Alabama does not have a hate crime law that includes offenses against gay people.