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Culture

The Murder of Amie Harwick Shows Why We Need To Take Domestic Violence Seriously

By Noelle Ottinger·· 3 min read
amie harwick

It was a sad day on February 15th when Amie Harwick, sex therapist and former fiancée to Drew Carey, was found fatally wounded at her Hollywood Hills home. Reports show that Harwick had been thrown off her third-story balcony by her ex-boyfriend Gareth Pursehouse, who is being charged with murder and burglary. Her case is just one example of thousands that need stronger justice in the fight against domestic violence.

Who Was Amie Harwick?

Amie Harwick moved to Hollywood in 2001 shortly after graduating high school and began working her way through college as a dancer, model, and party planner. She eventually became a therapist who specialized in family and sex counseling.

Her friend, Eric Breslow, described her as magnetic, joyful and a “Renaissance woman with eclectic tastes. She loved old music. She loved everything vintage.” He stated,“She was not some L.A. party girl. She was cultured. She was studied. She looked like she was a put-together throwback from an era gone by.”

The classically stylish brunette was a spokeswoman against domestic abuse, and ironically, became a victim of the tragic assaults she was advocating against.

The classically stylish brunette was a spokeswoman against domestic abuse, and ironically, became a victim of the tragic assaults she was advocating against. Former fiancé and TV show host, Drew Carey, appeared emotionally shaken and heartbroken after hearing of the tragic incident and recounted Harwick as “caring deeply for others and improving their lives” and was “just a joy to be around.”

Harwick Had Filed a Restraining Order against Ex-Boyfriend

The 38-year-old was found unresponsive at her home with evidence of manual strangulation and a physical altercation. Death was caused by blunt force injuries to the head and upper body as the result of the fall, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner. She was rushed to the hospital and later died on Wednesday.

Gareth Pursehouse, Harwick’s ex-boyfriend, has been charged with one count of murder and one count of residential burglary. Harwick had filed two restraining orders against Pursehouse, the last one being in 2012 which expired two weeks before her death.

The 41-year-old ex-boyfriend had a chance encounter with Harwick one month before the murder at an adult industry awards show at the JW Marriot in Los Angeles. Pursehouse appeared to react with anger and hostility towards Harwick, leaving the sex therapist “very frightened and very anxious,” according to Harwick’s friend, Hernando Chavez.

The Impact of Harwick’s Case on Domestic Violence

This devastating case is just one of a multitude of others like it where those who are caught in abusive relationships fail to get the necessary justice, despite having put restraining orders in place. Not only did Harwick attempt to protect herself from Pursehouse with numerous restraining orders, but she also tried to deescalate the situation during their unlucky encounter in Los Angeles where Pursehouse was visibly aggressive. Unfortunately, it was not enough.

Individuals who have made previous complaints of domestic abuse should have more permanent limitations placed against aggressive or hostile assailants.

While every state has different regulations on restraining orders, further measures should be instituted to protect victims from future potentially dangerous situations. Individuals who have made previous complaints of domestic abuse should have more permanent limitations placed against aggressive or hostile assailants. It should be up to the abused person to renew the restraining order for as long as they deem necessary, especially if there is evidence of acts of violence.

Closing Thoughts

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, please contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline immediately. Become familiar with the signs of potential abuse such as gaslighting, physical outbursts of rage, and extreme possessiveness. Your life is worth it.

Society