Gabby Petito’s parents honor 25 years of National Domestic Violence Hotline

Gabby Petito’s parents traveled to Washington, DC, on Thursday to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the founding of the National Domestic Violence Hotline, amid what activists call a ‘national health crisis’ affecting nearly a quarter American women and one in seven men.

After Petito was murdered in August 2021 at the hands of her former fiancé Brian Laundrie, her parents established the Gabby Petito Foundation and became activists dedicated to raising awareness for victims of violence at the hands of loved ones and missing persons.

Petito’s parents and in-laws attended on Thursday Hope Is On The Line in the Nation’s Capitalwhere nearly 200 survivors, activists and lawmakers gathered to commemorate the work of the hotline.

“We cried most of the night but we’re so proud to be a part of it,” Petito’s mother, Nichole Schmidt, tweeted after the event. “We want to help, we want to change things, we want to fight!

The foundation held its first fundraiser on Long Island last year, just days before Laundrie’s remains were discovered in a swamp near her parents’ Florida home. Ten months later, the foundation donated $100,000 to the hotline.

“We answered our first call in 1996,” the hotline said in a statement after Thursday’s event. “Since then, we have responded to calls, chats and texts from over 6 million people affected by domestic violence.”

Earlier this week, President Biden also acknowledged the milestone of the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

“28 years ago the Violence Against Women Act became law,” he tweeted. “I wrote VAWA to fight the scourge of domestic violence. He also created the National Domestic Violence Hotline, a lifeline for survivors. Through the law, lives have been saved, children protected and futures restored.

Domestic violence is “a national health crisis”, according to the hotline, which cites alarming statistics.

According to data shared on its website, nearly a quarter of American women and one in seven men “have experienced serious physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.”

That’s about 12 million Americans a year. The highest rate is for women between the ages of 18 and 34, and more than 75% of female victims of domestic violence have already been assaulted by the same assailant.

Nearly half of the population, regardless of gender, has “experienced psychological aggression from an intimate partner”.

About two weeks before Petito’s murder, police pulled over a speeding laundry, which crashed into the sidewalk outside Arches National Park in Utah. Despite his erratic driving and reports of a man being seen hitting a woman in broad daylight, officers made no arrests or issued any citations. Instead, they left a visibly shaken Petito alone in her converted motorhome and drove Laundrie to a motel, where the manager later told Fox News Digital there was no confirmation that the man had actually stayed for the night.

Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie were in a toxic relationship which ultimately led to Petito’s murder.

An outside investigation into the Aug. 12, 2021, incident found ‘unintentional errors’ and made a number of recommendations for how the department should move forward, including providing training in domestic violence investigations to the agents involved.

The city declined to comment on the matter, citing ongoing litigation filed by Petito’s family.

If you or someone you know is suffering from domestic violence, please contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233 (SAFE).


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