Domestic violence survivor aims to help others following violent attack


University of Oklahoma student, Ally Stephens, survived a nationally publicized case of domestic violence last year and is now working to bring awareness to the serious issue.

“I would like to say there were good things, but there was really nothing ever good,” Stephens said.

Stephens was hospitalized in October 2020 following a violent domestic attack by her ex-boyfriend, Gage Ford. Ford has been arrested twice for violent attacks on Stephens, making bail after the first arrest. Ford was arrested again after his attack on Stephens in October of 2020, leaving her nearly dead in his alleged attempt to kill her unborn baby.

Stephens is now using her voice to educate others about the overlooked signs of domestic violence.

“He would just randomly break up with me or block me and then he had kneed me and I was like woah that’s not normal,” Stephens said.

The subtle signs of emotional abuse came first, she said. Stephens and Ford then took a brief break in the relationship but ended up back together.

“It just escalated quicker and quicker and quicker until I ended up pregnant, that’s when things got really violent with him,” Stephens said.

Now she wonders why she stayed in an abusive relationship.

“I was young and — now that I look back at it I wonder why I put up with the things he said to me,” Stephens said.

Today, Stephens is in therapy to handle the trauma, but having a baby has made coping a little more manageable.

“I found out I was pregnant the day my dad died which was really insane and then I found out it was a boy so my mom saw it as a sign that my dad was still here,” Stephens said.

Baby Steele and the rest of Stephens’ family have been a strong support system, but the situation made her realize just how common domestic violence truly is.

“I never realized how big domestic violence was in the world,” Stephens said. “I kind of knew the statistics from like my sorority but once it was me I had so many people open up to me.”

October is domestic violence awareness month, and the National Network to End Domestic Violence encourages people to educate themselves on the topic, and to reach out for help if they’re experiencing domestic violence.

Stephens now volunteers with a women’s advocacy group and is visiting schools to share her story and teach others to recognize signs of domestic violence.

“If I would’ve just let him take over everything, I probably wouldn’t be here right now so I’m trying to help other people find their voice and if they’re not strong enough, that’s why I want to do it,” Stephens said.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, the 24-hour National Domestic Violence Hotline is 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). The national service can also be reached through text by texting “START” to 88788. Survivors can choose to remain anonymous while contacting the hotline.

Gaylord News is a Washington-based reporting project of the University of Oklahoma Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication. For more stories from Gaylord News visit