By Emily Parma
Assistant Web Content Manager
This month is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and to provide a firsthand look into the effects of domestic violence, Texas State’s LBJ Student Center hosted a movie and panel event called “Telling Amy’s Story” last week.
“Telling Amy’s Story” is a documentary about the tragic events of an abusive and violent relationship between Amy McGee and her husband Vincent.
The shocking part of this documentary was the point when Vincent walked outside of his home, went to the car where Amy’s parents and their two children were waiting for her, and he said, “Someone call 911; I’ve shot Amy.”
The events in the movie were not fictional or altered. Amy’s story was real. The purpose of this event was to educate people about the warning signs of domestic violence, that if they “see something (they’ll) say something.”
After the movie panelists shared their personal experiences with domestic violence and answered questions from the audience.
Among those on the panel were Catherine Shellman, mother of former Texas State student Tiffanie Perry, who was murdered by her ex-boyfriend in September 2010; Marla Johnson, Hays-Caldwell Women’s Center director; Curtis Clay, Texas School Safety Center director; Xavier Reveles Men Against Violence president.
“He seemed nice” is how most of the other domestic violence stories began. These relationships can be especially dangerous because a person’s behavior can spiral out of control and out of the blue.
Panelists emphasized the importance of noticing relationship red flags because sometimes romance can escalate into obsessive behavior and even become dangerous.
“It’s (domestic violence) very prevalent in our society, which is really such a tragedy.” said Johnson. “But there are resources for people to get help.”
Often times people who are in an abusive relationship do not try to get out of that relationship because they are afraid of their abuser or feel responsible for their abuser’s actions.
“Let’s say you see something, and you do say something and that friend starts to resent you about what you said, how do you handle that without pushing them away?” – Audience member
“I would just be patient with them. Say, ‘I really care about you and am really worried about you, and I’m gonna be here for you. I know it’s your decision to do whatever you want to do and I respect that, and I’m not gonna leave you without my friendship,’ and refer them to the HCWC, or hcwc.org.” – Johnson
In order to change the prevalence of domestic and dating violence in today’s culture, it’s up to those who do see something to say something, the panelists agreed. Doing something about it might be just as easy as leaving a piece of paper with a phone number, a website or a note with them, but don’t simply ignore the violence, they continued.
If you know someone who needs help, or you need help, please use the following resources as needed.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline (24/7 confidential hotline)
Hays County Women’s Center
Texas School Safety Center
Texas State Counseling Center
San Marcos Police Department