In the following video, you’ll see a woman who was attacked while shopping at a local mall. During the attack — which you will also see thanks to the advent of an age where we all carry tiny cameras in our pockets — she had her child in her arms. For that reason, the original video spread like wildfire through the community of Bismarck, North Dakota, prompting the local news to interview her for her side of the story.
Since disorderly conduct charges were brought against 20-year-old Champagne Bowen-Davis and 31-year-old Donnalesha Davis along with two minors who were charged with simple assault, the identity of the attacked woman has not been much of a secret, if it ever was at all in the city of 67,000. Her name is River Gillis. She is 20. Her son is 2.
In the interest of transparency, I feel compelled to tell you that the footage you just saw was shot where I grew up. In the mall where Gillis was attacked, I have changed styles at the neck-snapping pace that only middle schoolers can, I have gone on wildly awkward dates, I have purchased clothing that has stayed with me even after I moved to a totally different time zone, and I have held down two different jobs. The moment the original fight video hit my newsfeed the first time, I groaned; I know that carpet. Even after a good 30 of my acquaintances reposted it, I groaned every time. Still, for as well as I know the community and mall, nothing could prepare me for what Gillis said led to the altercation.
Gillis claims it was a meme she shared on her Facebook page that upset one of the attackers, Champagne Davis.
A meme! It is definitely not the first time a meme has sparked some controversy, but it is still pretty shocking to learn that a mother holding a baby would be brutalized over an Internet joke. Mediaite has reached out to Gillis to determine what meme is responsible. If she produces the image macro in question, we will update this post.
For now, the perpetrators of the attack are known and charged, Gillis’ son is safe, and she is thinking positively:
I thank everybody that helped because just think if nobody was there to help how bad it could’ve got.
[image via screengrab]
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This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.