Ashley and Jay are one of this season’s new 90 Day Fiance couples , and so far they’ve been fun to watch.
Unfortunately, Ashley’s life has known real pain and real horror, as she took to social media to reveal.
When she was 19 years old, Ashley was kidnapped by a stranger.
Ashley Martson took to Instagram to share an important, personal story with her followers.
“As most of you know,” Ashley writes. “An old friend decided to send the tabloids a very personal story about me.”
“Yes,” Ashley continues. “When I was 19 I was kidnapped, raped, and almost killed by a stranger.”
That is absolutely horrific.
“Many outlets were reaching out to me for comment,” Ashley shares.
“I reached out to @johnyates327 who was also sent the story,” Ashley says. “And asked him to leak it first”
Ashley says that she knew that the report would come out anywya.
She then writes that she asked for it to be leaked “because I wasn’t sure how the other tabloids would portray me.”
That is a very fair concern.
“I knew he would post it with the with dignity and respect,” Ashley says. “With the understanding that this is a very sensitive subject.”
“People are disgusting,” Ashley says.
“Sending this story to tabloids shows how s–tty people really are,” Ashley expresses.
“Everyone take it easy on @johnyates327,” she asks. “He has my permission.”
Ashley is known now for her sweet (if dramatic) romance with Jay.
We can understand her nervousness about fans reading up on her backstory.
Her case involves some truly horrific details.
In 2005, when she was 19, she was on her way to her job when a man, Sean Patrick Gallagher, tried to rob her.
He pressed a box cutter to her throat.
When she told him that she did not have any money, he forced her into the back of her own car and bound her hands with zip ties.
He then drove her car to a small athletic field where he terrorized and sexually assaulted her.
Police testified at Gallagher’s trial that he had bound her hands so tightly that they turned blue.
He never let her go — she had to escape.
Though Ashley was only 19 at the time, she mustered the incredible courage to fight back.
She struck him with her bag and used her own teeth to chew through the zip ties that bound her.
Gallagher was identified by DNA evidence.
It took the jury only 90 minutes to hand down the conviction.
Ashley was right to be nervous about how she would be portrayed and how she would be perceived.
Unfortunately, even after the dawn of #MeToo, too many women are second-guessed or even blamed after surviving harrowing attacks.
And now that Ashley has seen ugly responses from fans and viewers, she has to be on her guard about any stories about her.
(It wasn’t so long ago that a fan tried to portray her fiance, Jay, as some sort of sexual predator, using clearly fake texts to make it look like he’d flirted with a 16-year-old)
The world can be so unkind, even to people who have been through unspeakable experiences.