(MOBILE, Ala.) Eight days ago, 23 year old Mallory Owens went to her girlfriend's father's house for Thanksgiving dinner. A couple of hours later, she was at the USA Medical Center's emergency room, her beaten face grotesquely swollen and bloody.
Her girlfriend's brother, Travis Hawkins, Jr, was arrested and charged with 2nd degree assault. He's out on bond and today, Mallory told Local 15 she fears the beating was just the beginning.
"I am scared everyday, you know, just because things that have happened." she said.
Mallory says she was taken by surprise and remembers nothing of the beating. But she believe she knows why it happened. She claims Travis Hawkins Jr, doesn't want his sister dating a lesbian.
"There's no doubt in my mind he's had a hatred towards me because of that," she said.
That word hate has taken on new importance since the incident.
"I don't think he set there and was beating me in the head saying, this is because you're gay," said Mallory. "But he has not like me because he does not like his sister with a girl. He told me that over the phone."
Mallory's attorney is Christine Hernandez.
"At this point," she said, "we can't say with any degree of certainty that this was a hate crime. But we can certainly say that this was a crime of hate."
She believes much will be revealed as investigators continue to probe the case. But even if investigators find Mallory was beaten because she is gay, Alabama's hate law won't apply. Alabama's hate law does not include sexual orientation. People are talking about the issue -- people who have never thought about it before, she says, because of one thing.
"The picture of Mallory in the hospital bed? Where you can't recognize her face? Where it's completely deformed?...It screams volumes," the attorney said. "Anyone that looks at that is horrified."
And Mallory says if the investigation reveals this is a hate crime, she's ready.
"This is for everyone," said Mallory, "and anyone who will ever have to go through this and I hope they don't. This is for more than me."