What we can learn from the Gabby Petito case

There were signs that things were wrong within Petito’s relationship. It is time that things change when it comes to domestic violence and intimate partner violence.

Many people know about the case of Gabby Petito but if you don’t, she is a 23 year old who was on a cross country trip with her fiance . Gabby ended up going missing and her fiance returned without her and now no one knows where he is as of Sept. 20.

What happened to Gabby was terrible and should not have happened at all. But there were signs that something was going on between the two based off of the bodycam footage when police were called on Aug. 12 due to a physical incident seen by a bystander. Yet nothing was really done to help, except that they were separated for a night. As of Aug. 25, Petito was last known to be in Grand Teton, WY. On Sept. 19 Petitio’s body was found in Teton Park, two days later it was reported that the cause of death was ruled a homicide. 

The real question is how to stop cases like this from happening in the first place, because they are happening everywhere. Yet we are only hearing about the select few who are missing every couple of months, while other cases are never seen in the media. 

One possible solution is having law enforcement take classes about domestic violence and intimate partner violence. They need to understand what it is and the many ways that it can be portrayed. They need to understand how to recognize a victim and how they act because they are going to act differently if their abuser is only a couple feet from them. Having law enforcement understand domestic violence and intimate partner violence on a deeper level can save lives.

Another way is by having some form of education on domestic violence and intimate partner violence available to the public because normal everyday people don’t understand what it is or see the signs until it’s too late to interfere. Schools could have a section about relationship violence within the health programs. If students are developmentally ready to learn about sexual themes, they are also ready to understand what domestic violence and intimate partner violence is, the differences between the two, and what it can look like.

There are differences between domestic violence and intimate partner violence. They  may seem to be the same thing but in reality, they are very different. From the YWCA it states “Domestic Violence is violence that takes place within a household and can be between any two people within that household. Domestic Violence can occur between a parent and child, siblings, or even roommates.” As for intimate partner violence, it “can only occur between romantic partners who may or may not be living together in the same household.” Both happen everyday and if society knew what the signs look like then so many people would get help and out of the situation. 

The National Organization for Women reports that out of all the women who are murdered in the US, 1/3 were killed by their partner. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence reported that 1 in 4 women experience a form of intimate partner violence. This is why education on this is important. Knowing  the signs just might save a woman’s life.

The more that people know about what domestic violence is and what the abuser and victim looks like, there could be more women who are saved and aren’t the next Susan Powell, Shannan Watts, Laci Peterson, and Gabby Petito.