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Victim advocates share domestic violence resources as questions surround Gabby Petito’s relationship

Moab City Police

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- Advocates at TESSA are reminding the community that resources are available for those who feel unsafe in their relationships in light of 22-year-old Gabby Petito's high-profile murder.

The young travel blogger went missing in early September after her fiance, Brian Laundrie, returned home to Florida without her. The two were traveling the country in Petito's van and documenting their experience online.

Over the weekend, authorities found Petito's body in Wyoming's Bridger-Teton National Forest, near Grand Teton National Park. The coroner ruled her death as a homicide early this week.

Body camera footage released of a traffic stop involving Petito and Laundrie showed that they had relationship problems in the weeks leading up to her disappearance. A bystander called 911 and claimed to see Laundrie hit Petito. When police pulled them over, Petito was crying and authorities separated the two for the evening.

Advocates at TESSA say that watching that body camera footage could be triggering for people in unsafe relationships or those who have experienced abuse in the past.

"The most important thing to keep in mind for if something like that does trigger you, there always resources to help you to be able to talk through that," TESSA CEO Anne Markley said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1 in 4 women and nearly 1 in 10 men have experienced some form of domestic violence. About 1 in 5 women and about 1 in 7 men report having experienced severe physical violence from an intimate partner.

The CDC considers intimate partner violence (IVP) as a significant public health issue.

If you aren't sure if your relationship is unhealthy enough to warrant support, Markley said to trust your gut.

"Never think that your situation doesn't warrant the ability to speak to someone. They'll compare their situation to somebody else's and say, 'Oh, well, mine's not nearly that bad.' Always reach out if you have questions, if something just doesn't feel right, pick up the phone," she said.

TESSA offers resources for just about anyone struggling with an unhealthy relationship. They offer free counseling, rent/utility support, a safe place to say, and many more options to help.

You can call TESSA's 24-Hour Safe Line at (719) 633-3819 or visit their website by clicking here.

To contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline, click here, call 1-800-799-7233, or text "START" to 88788.

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Sydnee Scofield


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