By Alyssa Hussein, Social Media Volunteer at WomanACT
On May 14th, 2015 23-year-old Desiree Gallagher died after being taken off life support after a coma. Desiree was in the midst of recovering from a brain injury and loss of sight. Desiree and her family had undergone a two-year journey since the initial injury.
In 2013, Desiree had gone to London, Ontario to visit some friends. That night, she met Justin Primmer. Primmer was a convicted killer who served five years in jail for a stabbing of a man 10 years ago. It is unknown how Desiree and Primmer met, but they were in Primmer’s apartment when she was beaten brutally before plunging from a seventh-floor balcony.
Primmer initially pleaded guilty and was given a six-month sentence. Within months of his release, he was charged with assault. Based on reported coverage, it seems as though Desiree and Primmer did not have a previous relationship. Desiree was five credits short of graduating. Her ambitions and life were halted because of an awful attack. This commemoration is a call to action therefore, for the patterns of violence and a call to action to encourage conversations and policy around assault convictions. Desiree was a young girl, out with her friends. Unfortunately, she was at the wrong place at the wrong time when her life changed so drastically.
Special thanks to OAITH for putting together the Annual Femicide List. Since 1995 The Ontario Association of Interval and Transitional Housing began collecting the names of women, and their children, murdered by their intimate partners, as a way to remember victims, honour their lives and advocate for meaningful change.