SMYRNA, Tenn. (WTVF) — The disappearance and death of Gabby Petitio have shined a light on domestic violence awareness.
After her remains were found, a coroner ruled that her death was caused by strangulation. All eyes shifted to her fiance, Brian Laundrie, whose skeletal remains were later found at a Florida nature preserve.
"The biggest thing I always like to tell people is it's not the same for everyone," said domestic violence survivor Angela Wynn.
The Smyrna resident says she had been with her ex-husband on and off for about 10 years.
When they separated, things turned ugly.
"He didn't like that I was moving on so he basically used my children to gain entry into where I was living at the time," said Wynn.
Leaving is usually the most dangerous time in an abusive relationship and that was the case for her. Her ex-husband attacked her in front of her children.
"Had they not been there to shield me after I had fallen down and he was still swinging blows and kicking and all of those not wonderful stuff. They jumped on top of me begging him to stop and that made him snap out of whatever blackout he was in," Wynn said.
Her ex-husband was charged and pleaded guilty to second-degree assault.
Unfortunately, not everyone makes it out successfully. On average, it takes at least seven times before a victim can leave their relationship.
"So the biggest thing is being prepared and planning ahead and knowing that you may make it out the first time but it may not stick," Wynn said. "Keep trying."
This story does have a happy ending. Wynn has remarried.
Wynn now works as the chief operations officer for Worxbee and is also on the junior board committee for the YWCA helping other victims of domestic violence.
"It can be very difficult to recognize what the signs are but if someone is making you feel bad, making you feel uncomfortable, making you stay separated from family like you don't need anyone else, anything that makes you scared," said Wynn. "It is a sign."
If you need help you can contact the YWCA Crisis & Support Helpline by calling 1-800-334-4628 or by texting 615-983-5170. That is the first step in accessing the Weaver Domestic Violence Center.