Amid troubling videos of Gabby Petito, Vera House stresses importance of knowing signs of abuse

Local News

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV)- Videos circulating on social media have organizations like Vera House talking about the signs of abuse in a relationship.

Randi Bregman is the Co-Executive Director for Vera House. She said she watched some of the bodycam footage from Moab Police of Brian Laundrie and his Fiance, Gabby Petito, describing a fight that allegedly happened. Gabby was crying, and Laundrie seemed calm.

“When someone is a victim of abuse by their partner, they often present in extremely emotional ways. They’re crying they’re anxious, they’re agitated, they’re emotional system is kicking into gear, and it is often interpreted as a mental health issue, or a distraught person rather than understanding that that presentation is coming from a place of harm being caused,” Bregman said.

Gabby apologizes several times throughout the video. “Most victims do take responsibility of a lot of the behavior of the person who is causing them harm and they blame themselves,” says Bregman.

She adds the person doing the abusing also acts a certain way. “The perpetrator is saying look she’s crazy, see what I have to deal with, and not taking responsibility.”

She says whether it’s physical, emotional, or mental abuse, there are signs to look for. “There are things that if you notice the person is different when they’re with their partner than when they’re not and they check with them before they respond to a question, they have anxiety about letting their partner know where they are.”

Bregman says everyone deserves to feel comfortable in a relationship. “I think it’s important that we look at the complete picture, and that we let everybody out there know, that no one ever deserves to be afraid in a relationship, everyone deserves to feel respected.”

Resources for how to get help if you’re facing an abusive situation can be found here.

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