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Mental health expert wants broader discussion on domestic abuse

Gabby Petito case sparks nationwide conversation about domestic violence
Posted at 10:37 PM, Sep 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-21 00:00:01-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — With the discovery of human remains in Wyoming, authorities continue to investigate just exactly what happened to Gabby Petito. Some also hope this case will spark a critical conversation.

News of Gabby Petito's case spread quickly throughout North Port.

A body believed to be Petito's was found Sunday in Wyoming's Bridger-Teton National Forest.

"I'm just so sorry about your loss. My heart goes out to everybody. She's a beautiful angel now," one lady said.

A domestic violence expert is hoping an incident before Petito disappeared will help spark a conversation.

Police bodycam footage shows an august domestic disturbance involving Petito and Laundrie in Moab, Utah.

Gabby was visibly upset when stopped by officers but later officers concluded the incident did not warrant any charges.

Amy Sherman is a licensed mental health counselor. While the specifics of the Petito case continue to unfold, Sherman hopes there's a broader discussion about domestic violence and possible warning signs.

"It doesn't matter your economic status, it doesn't matter your race, religion or gender, even because men experience domestic violence as well," she said.

Sherman said so many times there's a stigma involved.

"You can't physically fight back, obviously, even emotionally, you can't fight back," she said. "Yelling will only exacerbate the situation. So what's necessary generally is to get out of the situation as soon as possible. So leave if you can and if you are afraid of leaving, then you have to plan it."

Domestic violence experts said cases are not always overt and can often take on many different looks.