Gabby Petito’s case brings spotlight on domestic violence topic

Local News

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – The story of Gabby Petito’s death following a cross-country road trip with her fiancé is being heard around the world.

It’s also bringing up the conversation surrounding domestic violence. Local resource organizations said it’s important for people to be aware of the warning signs.

The Victim Center Executive Director, Brandi Bartel, said the case is bringing up a much-needed conversation.

“These things happen to so many victims in our society, and it does happen sometimes without us being aware,” Bartel said.

Bartel said while she can’t specifically speak about the Petito case, anyone who may be more willing now to come forward with their story should do so.

“Domestic violence can often look like a variety of different things that typically center around power and control,” Bartel said.

Bartel said many times it’s a cycle of violence for victims to live through.
“An intense period of violence and, sometimes, people only see it as arguing, but typically it’s a lot more than that,” Bartel said. “Then after that incident, typically an offender or perpetrator typically will express some sort of remorse.”

Harmony House Operations Director, Sunni Nutt, said there are things to look out for.

“Isolating a little more often or canceling times where you’re supposed to hang out together,” Nutt said. “Maybe they’ve got something planned with you, but they realize maybe they can’t do it because they’ve got something planned maybe with their boyfriend or partner.”

If you see someone going through this, Nutt said it’s important to let them know you’re there for them and there’s help out there.

“Maybe you’re not ready to leave, and you just want to know what your options are in the community,” Nutt said. “We can talk with you about what resources are available. Maybe you just want to take steps; maybe you want counseling.”

The organizations have a 24/7 crisis response line. It is (417) 864-7233.

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