Domestic Violence is Misunderstood: RIP Gabby Petito + my memoir story parallel

Gabby Petito’s death reminds me of how domestic violence works, it’s protected and kept in place: by the perpetrator, law enforcement, families and the victim. Domestic Violence is both a physical and a psychological attack. Stockholm Syndrome, (brainwashing) enables it to survive. Low Self-esteem feeds it. I know all of this intimately.

No one saw the warning signs because Gabby hid them away, not just from others but from her own awareness. Red flags should’ve been up when she was slapped the first time by her so-called fiancé, Brian Laundrie. I doubt that the altercation in her van, was an isolated event.

The 911 call:

The police were alerted only because a Good Samaritan called in to 911 on her behalf. Gabby would’ve probably never called the police because she didn’t realize that she was in danger. When confronted by a sympathetic police officer who offered her water and space away from her abuser to speak in private, she blamed herself instead of getting help. She blamed herself for practically everything. She apologized for: having OCD, for wanting her van kept clean, for fighting to get her keys back after being locked out of her van, for distracting him and therefore making him hit the curb, etc etc etc. She never mentioned getting slapped or why he had scratches on his face. This is what domestic violence is, it’s maintained by excuses and low self-worth.

My parallel experience:

Decades ago I called the police on my then boyfriend. He was my fiancé, the love of my life, we lived together in San Francisco. We loved each other intensely but fought over everything. He was bipolar and I blamed his illness (made excuses for abuse) because I thought that was the definition of loyalty. I was a classic co-dependent enabler. Our verbal fights escalated to him pushing me, raising his fist close to my head, blaring loud music at 2am, stalking me at work during our countless breakups (that I initiated) and worse. It was the most tumultuous time of my life and reminded me of my parent’s epic, violent fights that I witnessed during childhood.

I called 911 after being terrorized with music and ranting but when the police arrived my boyfriend was expertly calm while I was ferocious with fright and anxiety. The cops listened to him while they eyed me suspiciously.

“I’m the one that called you for help!” I said.

“He has a previous arrest for beating up his girlfriend!” I said.

“I don’t know what will happen after you leave!” I said.

But They didn’t seem to care. The two cops were both be female. Did I receive empathy or sympathy from them? Not at all.

“Calling the police isn’t a joke.” They said. “The next time you call the police over this, someone’s going to get arrested, and it might be you.” They said.

After They left, I huddled like a homeless person in a street-lit alleyway outside of the house for hours until nearly daybreak. He had calmed down by then. Exhausted I finally went inside, slept a few hours before my afternoon work shift began. I never called the police again. No one at work suspected that I was struggling with domestic violence, it went on this way for 2 years and escalated until I reached a final breaking point. I’ll save that story for another post.

Why did I repeatedly stay? He threatened suicide several times, I felt responsible for his wellness. I was brainwashed with love, and unprocessed childhood trauma. I wanted to protect our love, wanted us to heal the wreckage of his mental illness and our shared past traumas. I failed at love but I survived with my life. I don’t know where he is anymore or if he’s still alive. When I remember what happened to us, I’m filled with the sorrow of wasted love. Love is our highest grace but it’s toxicity will destroy everything including itself.

Rest In Peace, Gabby. It wasn’t your fault. You didn’t deserve to be abused, no one deserves that. Your mistake was in staying with him but I understand why you did. I’m your sister in this, Rest In Peace my friend.

The entire Police Bodycam footage: I didn’t watch all of this, it’s sad to see Gabby making excuses for Brian’s abuse:

Edit: I watched more of the video and realized the cops were blaming Gabby! Clown World! Seeing Brian smile and laugh while she was scapegoated is disgusting. Miscommunication from the dispatcher to an officer was the issue. I paused and watched the entire video. Brian got a pampered hotel as a reward. 🤢🤡🌎

Perspective from a female ex-officer, Treehouse News:


    1. Thank you, Pat. I appreciate that you care about this topic, it often feels like I’m whining (in my own head). I think experience is like a short cut for others that will heed the warning but we all have to travel down our own paths. My heart goes out to Gabby, so many people struggle quietly alone with this and no one suspects that they’re in any trouble.

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      1. She has my prayers and sympathy. I’m wondering if her likely murderer has committed suicide. Keep fighting for what you believe and make sure that whoever you give your trust to is worthy of that privilege.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That’s a likely guess, I can’t imagine how he’d survive in the wilderness for long. Thank you, I will keep fighting. I’ve learned my lesson, I hope! “Fool me twice, shame on me”.

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  1. I watched the entire video and from the moment the officer approached and starting talking to Gabby, she was defending him and blaming herself. I listened to her saying she was a nutritionist and quit her job to travel the country with this svengali. It made me sad to see a young spirit completely under the spell of this loser. The media even tried to potray her as the aggressor. I asked a police officer what he thought of the body cam footage and he said the officers at the scene dropped the ball. To have them separate for the night and think that would solve everything (common sense thrown out the window). He will eventually get caught regardless of who (family) is helping him or he will commit suicide ( the cowards way out in this case) to not have to face judgement.
    Again, I thank you for sharing your experiences. It is amazing what we accept in the name of love ( believing that he or she will change and all will be neverending happiness) You are a survivor, dear friend and I hope your journey of healing continues to bring you inner peace, acceptance and wellness. You are deeply appreciated.
    Hahaha, sorry for being so long winded 😄

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Sylvester ❤️! The police video is so sad for me, I could get through only 1/2 it’s like she is silently asking for help but she’s also unaware that she’s in danger. Watching him be manipulative and charming makes me upset, that’s how he manipulated Gabby, like a hypnotist, that’s how psychopaths function. Svengali is a true description of him! One of the officers seemed caring but the other one not, it seems standard policy to say “separate for a night” as a band-aid solution, that’s what police said to me too. Laundrie lied about her grabbing the steering wheel, that was a clue that was missed.

      I feel like Love is what we’re made of and full of lessons, what an experience life is! Thank you for your kind perception of me 🙏, you are also deeply appreciated ❤️!


      1. You’re very welcome ❤️! It is tough to watch. You’d think they would at least see if she wanted to go home. Yes, there were so many signs that there was more to the story than either were telling.
        Love has many lessons to teach and endless experiences to absorb. You’re so very welcome 🙏🏽 and I thank you very much always ❤️!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I finally watched the whole video, it’s awful that they blamed the victim, seems like they had a bias towards women, suggesting that they needed medication, very “Stepford Wives” way of thinking. They were going to set a court date with her as the abuser, wow! Scary. I wonder how those cops feel now that Gabby’s dead?

        It’s so good to be able to discuss this with you, you are defending the victim like a knight. You’re awesome, Sylvester ❤️!


      3. She was crying and rambling from the moment the officer approached and the real villain was calm and collected. We could only guess what took place in the van even before the 911 call. For sure they have to be feeling really terrible because they could have prevented her death if they had been more determined and not played 20 questions.

        Glad to be able to discuss this with you too. Her being only 22yrs makes it even more tragic. Thank you, Judy, you’re awesome in my book ❤️!

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      4. It makes more sense that she was so young, I think this was her high school boyfriend. Parents/teachers/somebody need to educate young teens about domestic violence and the police need better training/policies. Thank you, Sylvester! 🤗

        Liked by 1 person

      5. You’re right, it starts with the parents, teachers, law enforcement. The police need more training and they have to take each call seriously..
        You’re welcome always, Judy! 🤗

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