A domestic abuse survivor has recounted the horrific week of torture she had endured at the hands of her jealous boyfriend who was convinced that she had cheated on him when he was in prison.
In 2013, Gabbe Rowland, 28, from East Falmouth, Massachusetts, was picked up from a friend’s house by her then-boyfriend Justin Mustafa before he injected her with heroin against her will, raped her, and forced her to perform a sex act on his dog over the course of a week.
After Rowland managed to escape and report Mustafa to the police, he was given a six-year prison sentence, and she waved her right to anonymity, so she could share her story with others.
Rowland told The Sun that she had first reconnected with Mustafa on Facebook in 2010 and they began dating a year later.
However, he denied the allegations and told Rowland that he and his ex had made a sex tape together, but she was so angry after they had broken up that she made up the story.At the start of their relationship, Mustafa revealed that he had to appear in court because he had been accused of filming his ex-girlfriend naked without her consent.
“I don’t know if I was blinded by my feelings, but I was impressed with such honesty. I vowed to support him because I believed him,” she said.
Mustafa was given a one year prison sentence, and Rowland continued their relationship by writing him daily letters and visiting him in jail twice a week.
Shortly after he was released in January 2013, Rowland learned she was pregnant with his child. Although Mustafa was happy at first, she said he began accusing her of being unfaithful – even asking her to have an abortion.
During one story argument, Mustafa called her a “little whore”, and she packed her bags and left him to stay with a friend at 4am.
Mustafa reached out to her to apologise, but she ended up miscarrying the baby. The two ended up getting back together despite their tumultuous relationship; however, Rowland said he remained jealous, and they frequently fought.
They broke up for a second time in May 2013, but they ended up back together because she thought she was pregnant again.
After they were reunited, Rowland said Mustafa had gone back to being the guy she fell in love with, but that all changed when they learned that she wasn’t actually pregnant.
One night in June 2013, he picked her up at a friend’s house and drove her to a quiet area before demanding that she make a fist and give him her arm.
“He quickly pushed a vial of heroin into my arm and I was powerless – it happened so quickly and I was so afraid of what he might do if I pulled away,” she recalled.
Rowland, who had never done drugs before, said the heroin made her ill, and over the next six days, he injected her at least once or twice a day from what she can remember.
Mustafa left her clothes in the car, so she would throw up on them, and one day he drove her to the woods and forced her to pull down her pants and bend over before he beat her with a belt and raped her.
On another occasion, Mustafa had Rowland take off her clothes and brought him his pit bull, telling her to “give the dog oral sex” while he filmed her.
“That was one of the most degrading things he made me do,” she said. “I felt so physically sick after and so horrified in myself. After that he told me to go into the bathroom, clean my teeth and go back to give him oral sex.”
Rowland managed to escape and returned to work on July 5, confessing what had happened to her after her concerned boss asked her about the bruises on her body. She went to the police to press charges before seeking refuge at a shelter.
Mustafa was given a six-year-sentence in March 2014 after he was found guilty of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, assault and battery, malicious destruction of property and witness intimidation.
Although Rowland felt relieved after he was convicted, she believes the sentence should be longer.
“He tortured me for a week. He could easily have killed me with the heroin or he could have beaten me to death as he promised he would,” she explained.
Rowland now works at a doctor’s office and speaks publicly about her experience with Mustafa to help other victims of domestic violence
On March 2, Rowland shared a Facebook photo of herself wearing a white ribbon in honour of the 10th annual Massachusetts White Ribbon Day.
“Today I wear my white ribbon proudly to honour those men who stand up for women like myself who have been abused by men who are supposed to love us
,” she wrote.