Advocates using Petito case to raise awareness about domestic violence

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Advocates for victims of domestic violence hope the Gabby Petito case won’t be forgotten if and when an arrest is made.

They want her death to spark more conversations about abusive relationships.

RELATED: Coroner: Remains found in Wyoming belong to Gabby Petito

Deborah Clubb with the Memphis Area Women’s Council said signs of abuse can look like isolation, a very intense, controlling relationship, and injuries.

However, Clubb wants to emphasize not all wounds are physical; they can be emotional too.

“Often there are signs along the way that family and friends can pick up on, that the victim can explain away, so we have to really be paying attention,” said Clubb.

Clubb is the president of the Memphis Area Women’s Council, a non-profit that raises awareness about domestic violence.

She said if you suspect a friend or loved one is in an abusive relationship, it’s important to look for signs of controlling behavior, isolation, and physical abuse.

“A steady determination to break her relationship with close family members, with her friends to complain about time she spends with a sister or girlfriend,” said Clubb.

Clubb said if you want to help, it’s essential not to be judgemental or force interventions.

“Give them the opportunity to talk with you if they want to but mostly say to them: I’m here when you are going to need me. I’m concerned for you, and if I can do anything, please let me know,” said Clubb.

Clubb said she hopes the Gabby Petito case is a catalyst for more open conversations about domestic violence. A chance to help before it’s too late.

“These are very complex, powerful relationship dynamics, and it takes all of us paying attention to help protect us all,” said Clubb.

Clubb said if you are in an abusive relationship, there are resources where you can get help.

You can find them here.