Ally Stephens and Domestic Violence

Let’s talk about something that isn’t discussed enough: domestic violence.

 

Recently in the news, was a brutal domestic violence case regarding the University of Oklahoma freshman Ally Stephens. Ally was beaten by her boyfriend Gage Ford.

 

Ally reported the incident to the police in early October, but Ford posted bail at a mere $1500. 

 

Then, on October 17th after Ford was released from jail, he once again attacked Stephens. This beating left her virtually unrecognizable. Ally Stephens is sixteen weeks pregnant, and Ford hit her while telling her ‘to get rid of it.’

 

The entire campus of Oklahoma University is standing together and denouncing domestic violence. The sorority that Ally is a member of, Alpha Chi Omega, made an emotional Instagram post that includes a disturbing photo of Ally’s injuries after the incident. Gage Ford was a member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity who stated that he has not been a member for eight months, but they also are condemning his actions.

 

This incident is bringing the issue of domestic violence, specifically in college students, into the spotlights. This is especially a problem with intimate partner violence, meaning people who are or were in an intimate relationship are abused emotionally, physically, sexually, economically, or verbally. 

 

According to HAWC (Help for Abused Women and Children): “21% of college students report having experienced dating violence by a current partner, and 32% of college students report experiencing dating violence by a previous partner.” These numbers are scary, especially including the fact that HAWC states that 70% of young victims don’t realize they’re being abused.

 

Relationship violence is very real, but there are resources that can help you.  On HAWC, there are articles that can help you understand what makes a relationship abusive or a 24-hour hotline.

 

NC State also has resources through the counseling center regarding domestic violence. You can not only get help for yourself, but you can help other people if you feel that someone you know is in danger.

 

Ally Stephen and her baby are fine, as she stated in an interview. If you want to help her, she has a GoFundMe that you can donate to, or post under the #JusticeforAlly. Most importantly, this is not the only instance of intimate partner violence. It is a very real issue happening far too often, and there is a stigma around domestic violence that makes victims feel shameful and don’t want to share their stories. There are resources available nationally and through NCSU that can help end this stigma as well as get help for those who need it.