Why Are We So Focused On Teaching Women How to Not Become Gabby Petito, Rather Than Teaching Men How to Not Become Brian Laundrie?

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Red Stick Mom has partnered with the Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence to help bring awareness to this important topic. Resources for getting help or reporting domestic violence can be found at the bottom of this page.

Domestic violence awareness is rightfully getting attention over the last several weeks. Netflix’s ‘Maid’ is set to pass ‘The Queen’s Gambit’ as Netflix’s most-watched mini-series. The general response has been to the tune of “Poor thing… that is absolutely horrific,” as if these relationships only exist in fictional or far off places.

If this is you, please know that, statistically speaking, someone you know is in one of these relationships, especially in Louisiana.

Gabby Petito is now a name all of America knows. Her death has also brought more people to the table to talk about the domestic violence epidemic our country is in. However, the themes around the discussion are all basically “How to not become Gabby Petitio” (*cough* victim blame in disguise).

Why are we so focused on teaching women how to not become Gabby Petito, rather than teaching men how to not become Brian Laundrie?

As a society, why are we not becoming more focused on holding men accountable for harassment against women? We do nothing when a woman is cat called at. We do nothing when men “jokingly” talk about women in objectifying ways. We are doing nothing to deter the buildup of behaviors that end in a man becoming an abuser.

Because Gabby Petitio was hysterical by the time law enforcement arrived in the viral body cam footage surrounding her case, the focus was on her. The person who called 911 stated that Brian Laundrie hit Gabby Petitio, but nothing was done in regards to his behavior, even when he admitted that he pushed her and locked her out of their van, which was her home at that time.

The Butterfly Society in Baton Rouge is working on some of these preventative measures. The group speaks to groups of young men, such as football teams, and explains what domestic violence is. Many men grow up in homes where treating women in demeaning ways and abusing them is such a norm, that they do not even recognize it as domestic abuse.

In order to be more proactive in domestic violence, we have to get better about calling out men’s behaviors toward women that build up to domestic violence such as

  • Extreme jealously
  • Breaking household objects or other property out of anger
  • Using religion and scripture as a weapon to get women to act a certain way
  • Never accepting responsibility in normal arguments
  • Controlling women through finances
  • Hypersensitivity
  • Acting aggressively towards children and animals
  • Locking women out of their own houses
  • Taking anger towards women out on children verbally
  • Wanting women to spend less time with friends and family
  • Not getting help for drug and alcohol addiction
  • Using intimidation during arguments like driving too fast or “bowing up”

Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence has a statewide domestic violence hotline (1-888-411-1333) that connects survivors to an advocate in their community. It’s a great way to get connected to safety planning, protection orders, emergency shelter, support groups, and many more resources.

There are 16 domestic violence programs across the state who can offer assistance to survivors for various needs: https://lcadv.org/programs-resources/#

Deon Sumer
Hi, I’m Deon! I grew up in Zachary, Louisiana. I am currently attending Southern University Law Center part-time, where I am also a teaching assistant, with the intention of practicing family law. I work full-time at the East Baton Rouge Law Office of the Public Defender as a secretary. I had my daughter, Evelyn, in the fall of 2018 and am engaged to an amazing, supportive man named Ryan. I love traveling and exploring new places. A plane ticket to anywhere with a rental car waiting for me is a solid vacation. I have a degree in mass communications with a concentration in public relations and a minor in political science from LSU. I have a rescue dog at home and love helping with animal welfare efforts. My daughter’s first word was dog (or ‘gog’). I'm also always looking for ways to join the fight against Louisiana's domestic violence epidemic. I spend the majority of my free time gardening or wandering around our neighborhood with my family.


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