‘Sadly, Gabby Petito’s Story Is A Common One:’ Experts Speak

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October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and experts explain how to recognize signs of abuse.

Gabby Petito’s smiling face has sounded a rallying cry among domestic violence prevention experts who are coming forward to educate on how to recognize the sign of abuse — and what to do. (Courtesy Nichole Schmidt.)

LONG ISLAND, NY — The image of Gabby Petito’s tear-streaked faced is etched into the hearts and minds of millions across the world, a new video unveiled last week capturing her trembling voice as she touches the scratch on her face, still tender, where, she told police, the man she loved had grabbed her.

Days later, Gabby was gone, her death ruled a homicide. And while it has not yet been determined if her boyfriend Brian Laundrie killed her, her blue eyes and bright smile have become a symbol, a rallying cry against domestic violence — as advocates speak out for change.

For Noemi Sanchez of East Hampton, Gabby Petito’s story haunts: Sanchez was beaten, stabbed and then shot in the head with an air rifle by her estranged boyfriend in 2011. But she survived and now spends her life advocating for other women in similar horrifying circumstances.

Watching the videos of Petito, she said, “is so hard. Sometimes when the victim is in that situation, she feels like nobody is with her. But when you get out, you understand that you have a lot of people around you.”

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