Tuesday, October 25, 2011

“I Just Shot Amy:” Powerful Documentary Recounts Victim’s Story


By Suzanne Kashuba

It was a routine request. I e-mailed Maryanne Schuessler from NETA (the National Educational Telecommunications Association) to ask for a photo illustrating a documentary WNED would be airing soon.

Her response piqued my curiosity and made me want to tune in:

Happy to help, especially for this show.  (A year later and I still get shivers.  It’s POWERFUL!)”

After seeing the program, I wholeheartedly agree. I urge everyone to watch “Telling Amy’s Story” (Thursday, Oct. 27 at 9 p.m. on WNED-TV).

“Telling Amy’s Story” airs on WNED-TV Oct. 27, 2011 at 9 p.m.

Amy Horman McGee can’t tell her own story, so others are telling it for her — building awareness about the reality of domestic violence in the process.

In 2001, at age 33, Amy was killed by her long-abusive husband, the father of her two young sons. He shot her in the head at point-blank range.


In the documentary, Amy’s parents, co-workers, law enforcement officers and court personnel contribute to a dramatic timeline of the weeks, months and years leading to this young mother’s tragic fate.

The film, produced by Penn State Public Broadcasting, is hosted by actress and victims’ advocate Mariska Hargitay, who plays Detective Olivia Benson on NBC’s “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.”

It’s been shown throughout the country on public broadcasting stations, in film festivals and at awareness events (like the one WNED hosted on Oct. 6). It’s received wide media attention.

Once you hear “Amy’s Story,” you’ll understand how anyone could be a victim of domestic violence. In fact, the crime is so prevalent that one out of four women in the U.S. report experiencing domestic violence in their lifetimes, according to a 2008 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention!

The film leaves me cold with the thought that someone (a coworker… a friend… a relative) should have, could have done something.

But what? And who? What would I do?

I learned that a good place to start building awareness is the “Telling Amy’s Story” Web site, which offers some practical suggestions for anyone who wants to know how they can help along with information about where to turn for professional assistance.

Fortunately, there are many places to turn right here in Western New York, including the dedicated organizations represented in the recent awareness event held in the WNED studios: Haven House,

Crisis Services, the Family Justice Center , the Clinic for Women, Children & Social Justice at the University of Buffalo School of Law and the Erie County Sheriff’s Department Domestic Violence Unit.

If you tune in, what was your reaction? Did you learn something?

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