Right now the case surrounding the murder of Gabby Petito is a hot topic across the country. Gabby and her fiance, Brian Laundrie were traveling in a van across the country visiting various national parks across several states. There has not been an arrest made in the case and one reason for that is the primary suspect, Brian, has disappeared after returning back to Florida without her. Although there is not a warrant out for Brian’s arrest for the murder due to lack of evidence, people are searching for him throughout the country. The vast majority of people who know about the case believe it was him due to a prior incident where the police had to get involved, the issues present in the relationship described by her friend, and his sudden disappearance after refusing to tell the authorities anything he knows from the last time he saw her.
There was police body cam footage released from when Gabby and Brian were pulled over by police and the video can show signs that there is domestic violence in the relationship. They were pulled over because two people called 911 to report seeing Brian slapping Gabbie and him not allowing her in the van. Calling the police is always the right thing to do when you see a situation like this because it can save a life in many circumstances. However, unfortunately that wasn’t the case in this situation. When police asked Gabbie if Brian physically abused her she denied it and claimed to be the one to start the violence. Brian also did not admit to hurting her, so the police viewed Brian as the victim in the situation.
Unfortunately, it is very common for women like Gabbie to deny being physically abused by their partner out of fear that they might do it again after going to jail or fearing that it will cause the relationship to end. When the police told Gabbie that she and Brian had to be separated for the night, she panicked and said that she could not be apart from him for that long. In some relationships that have domestic violence present, the victim is in love with the abuser and wants to avoid losing them. Throughout the video, Gabbie emphasized that she had really bad anxiety. This can be a major sign of domestic abuse in a relationship because victims have the tendency to feel that way, especially when they are around their abuser. Gabbie also mentioned that Brian told her he did not think that the website she was making would ever be successful. This is a red flag that she was abused by Brian because domestic abusers tend to demean their victims by making them feel like they aren’t capable of pursuing their goals.
Gabbie’s best friend named Rose Davis did an interview where she talked about Gabbie’s relationship with Brian and claimed that he was very jealous and manipulative. These are very toxic traits that should be viewed as red flags, regardless of whether or not there is physical violence. However, she also described Brian as charismatic and mentioned he would make Gabbie breakfast every morning. Just because someone comes across as a nice person to outsiders and charming to the person they are in a relationship with, doesn’t mean they don’t have other sides to them. In fact, it is quite common for domestic abusers to appear this way. In addition, she said Brian “wanted what he wanted when he wanted it” and would find a way to make Gabby not do things he did not approve of. This is another sign of him being abusive because controlling behavior is very common in these types of relationships.
If you notice someone you love in a relationship with these signs, it is important to avoid arguing with them over it and instead starting a friendly dialogue about what is going on. Creating an environment where they feel comfortable enough to talk can help to avoid them shutting down and not revealing what is truly going on. If they admit to abuse, you can give them resources to seek help such as the National Domestic Violence Hotline. Lastly if it appears they are in immediate danger, you should report what’s going on to the authorities.
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