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: