Amy Homan McGee was 33 years old when she was shot and killed by her husband. Amy and her husband Vincent met and fell in love while attending Pennsylvania State University. No one knew of the dark secrets behind their abusive relationship and that once the honeymoon was over, everything would change, ultimately costing Amy her life.
Student Counseling Services will host a viewing of the film inspired by the events of Amy’s life and death called “Telling Amy’s Story” on Nov. 15.
SCS believes it will be a valuable tool in opening the eyes of college students and bringing about awareness of the dangers and effects of domestic violence in relationships.
“This film has been used at other universities for the purpose of helping students to see that intimate partner violence occurs, even on first dates or between people just hanging out at or after a party,” said Director of SCS Alan Goodwin in an email interview.
“It is very important to help people being mistreated in relationships to know what kind of behavior is unacceptable and how to end the relationship and feel safe,” Goodwin said.
There are some gray areas when it comes to defining what constitutes domestic violence.
Goodwin provided examples such as stealing money, ignoring feelings, insulting or disrespecting your partner and physically touching a person either inappropriately or violently as behaviors that would qualify as domestic violence. These are just a few of the plethora of signs pointing to an abusive relationship. Recognizing these signs early enough can be the difference between getting the help needed or potentially experiencing violent behavior with a partner.
“I think it is important to create a dialogue and bring the issue to a forefront to show people this behavior is unacceptable,” said Schannae Lucas, who has a doctorate degree and teaches a family violence course at CLU.
Lucas was involved in organizing the upcoming viewing and shows the film every semester in her course to “plant the seeds,” hoping to spark a change in the trend of domestic violence among young people.
Many students at CLU may be wondering, “Why does this matter to me?” The answer to that question is simple. Domestic violence is a more common issue than people realize. The age bracket in which domestic violence is at its highest rate is ages 16-24, putting college students in the same category, according to the Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center website.
In a study by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence in 2007, results showed 53 percent of domestic violence victims were abused by a former boyfriend or girlfriend. It also showed 21 percent of college students have experienced violence by a current partner, and about one third of college student report having assaulted a partner in the past 12 months.
“I don’t have much knowledge or experience in domestic violence having never experienced it myself, but it is pretty sad to think it is so common in young relationships,” senior Megan Rubin said.
Domestic Violence among college students is a significant issue no matter how taboo it is considered to be. “We hope showing this film and discussing the circumstances that lead to abuse in relationships will help to reduce not only the abuse, but the stigma of talking openly about it,” Goodwin said.
The viewing and discussion will take place from 2:30-4:30 p.m. on Nov. 15 at Student Counseling Services, which is located across the street from the Grace residence hall next to Health Services.
Published Nov. 13, 2013