Prominent Figure Victim of Domestic Violence

Amie Harwick - A Prominent Figure Victim of Domestic Violence
Released: 03/16/2020  

In the early hours of February 15th, notable Hollywood therapist and author Amie Harwick died from blunt-force trauma sustained after an attack from her ex-boyfriend, Gareth Pursehouse. Authorities reported evidence of strangulation and alleged that he threw her off of the third-story balcony, where they discovered her on the ground close to death. Shortly after at the hospital, she died; she was 38.

Harwick had a restraining order on Pursehouse until two weeks prior when it expired. Pursehouse was repeatedly accused of stalking her and breaking into her apartment. Further allegations Harwick presented for the restraining orders included choking, punching, kicking, shoving, suffocation, and more detailed incidents such as being pushed out of a car on an off-ramp and stealing her photo albums and computer.

The relationship between the two ended years earlier and restraining orders with extensions were in effect for years. She saw Pursehouse at an event shortly before her murder and was visibly in distress, according to friends. Reports show that Pursehouse was acting erratically, screaming at her and that she was in fear. Again, she was afraid of the possibilities of her abuser.

The recent incident of her death and the mountain of signs leading up to it, leave friends and loved ones believing the system let her down. She began sharing her phone location with friends and buying mace to keep in every room. Being an educated therapist, she took precautions that she would advise clients to take, but it wasn’t enough. When the restraining order ended, her life ended.

One great precaution opportunity for those in abusive relationships in Mobile and surrounding areas is Penelope House. Mobile’s Penelope House has been a haven for countless women and children. It was founded in 1979, and the current facility can house up to 50 mothers and their children, but no one is turned away. They offer shelter, transportation, support groups, programs for children, and other essential needs such as a 24-hour crisis line.

Shocking deaths like this one put a spotlight on domestic violence, but it’s no rare occurrence even today. One in four women will receive physical abuse from a partner in their lifetime, which makes the refuge of Penelope House so important. Volunteer your time, donate money, visit their website to see their urgent supply needs and donate clothes to Penelope’s Closet. Help them educate women who feel they have nowhere to turn.

The damage that domestic abuse inflicts to a family is devastating and can be fatal. Things have evolved from the days when the center opened in the 70s. Abusive husbands were rarely arrested, and domestic violence was considered a private matter. The major battle is getting people to report their abusers and removing those people from their life as soon as possible.

In life, Amie Harwick wanted to encourage people, notably women. She strived to help them achieve insight and support in their relationships and love themselves by staying away from unhealthy people to them. Her legacy will live on through the knowledge and inspiration she shared. Three days before her life was taken she stated on social media, “Moving on, moving forward, and taking care of yourself after the end of a relationship often means accepting that you may not have the ideal closure. Making peace with this takes time.” As for Amie’s death, making peace with it will certainly take time.

The Los Angeles District Attorney’s office has arrested Pursehouse with a no-bail warrant. He’s been charged with murder. If convicted, he faces life in prison without the possibility of parole or the death penalty.

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Learn more about National Coalition Against Domestic Violence here.