Gabby Petito was a victim of domestic violence who lost her life because the system failed to protect her.
New audio of the dispatch call made to police in relation to an argument between Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie has been exposed this week along with the intel that Utah officers had been advised of a man striking a woman and taking off in a white Ford Transit van with Florida plates shortly prior to them pulling over the young couple.
The report made was that he had struck her. He had abused her. And yet officers concluded that Gabby Petito had been the primary aggressor.
An inconsolable Gabby Petito admitted to officers that Laundrie had tried to keep her out of the van. She repeatedly apologised for the disturbance, blaming herself for the escalation in her boyfriend’s actions. Police with any expertise in domestic violence would have examined her straight away for what she was: a vulnerable and terrified victim.
Instead, Brian Laundrie got away. No arrests or citations were issued, with the police opting to separate the couple for the night, driving Laundrie to a city motel and leaving Petito alone in her van in which the couple had been living.
While the police in question will likely face disciplinary action, it’s critical to note that their conduct was not an anomaly. Time and time again we hear of law enforcement and policy gaps failing victims of domestic and family violence– not just in America but in our very own backyard.
Just last week, Victoria Police defended their leaking of a domestic violence survivor’s safety plan in court, despite two previous investigations and IBAC’s assessment that the information should not have been disclosed.
*Lillian, a Chinese woman who was slashed by her husband with a military style knife, called Queensland police with the chilling message: “my husband wants to kill me”.
When they arrived an hour later, they failed to ask *Lillian any questions other than whether or not she spoke English. Instead of bringing in an interpreter when she replied that she didn’t, the officers reportedly ignored her and went onto interview her Australian husband, concluding that a bleeding *Lillian had actually been the perpetrator.
Fearing the loss of custody of her child, Lillian was forced to return to her abusive relationship in order to protect her visa status.