In 1997 in State College, Pennsylvania, Amy Homan McGee fell in love with her husband, Vincent McGee. She had no idea that four years later, the love of her life would kill her.
“Someone call 911. I just shot Amy,” said Vincent McGee, as he ran out the door towards his in-laws and two children who were waiting for Amy McGee outside the couple’s home. It was November 2001.
Four years of constant physical and mental abuse later, the questions finally arose: Why didn’t anyone prevent this instance of domestic homicide from occurring? Could it have been prevented? Shouldn’t it been easy to prevent, given the fact that Vincent McGee, like in many other cases, gave warning signs of abuse by controlling, beating, and stalking the victim — his wife — before he finally killed her?
“Someone call 911. I just shot Amy,” said Vincent McGee
The Gender and Sexuality Center (GSC) hosted a screening of “Telling Amy’s Story” last Wednesday night as a part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The documentary follows the timeline of Amy McGee’s homicide that occurred on November 8, 2001. The documentary is told by Detective Deirdri Fishell, and hosted by actress and advocate Mariska Hargitay.
Amy McGee tried to get help. She drove to a police station in fear of her husband’s abusive behavior to get a protection order; however, a protection order can only work for so long. According to the documentary, she spent four years going back and forth from her parents’ house to the police — but law enforcement couldn’t protect her completely.
Vincent McGee owned guns, which were taken away and then later returned to him. Upon learning of his wife’s protection order, he intimidated Amy McGee into lifting the order herself by calling her constantly over the few days the protection order was active.
Did any of the bystanders think that Vincent McGee was capable of murder? There were many times that police or other services could have intervened, but didn’t.
A group discussion was held after the documentary for students to express their feelings. Caroline Christ, a senior and GSC intern who helped put together this event, asked students to describe their feelings in one word. One student said he was feeling shocked. Another said he was feeling helpless.
Christ said the event felt very empowering. “Everyone who participated appreciated having a safe space where they felt comfortable talking about domestic violence and their experiences,” she said.
“You can’t think that this doesn’t happen because it’s behind closed doors. In order to prevent things and educate people, events like these are super important,” said Ashan Fernando, senior at USF and president of the rugby team.
A student at the discussion said she felt helpless when a close friend of hers was in an abusive relationship. “I know a lot of other bystanders feel stuck due to fear of provoking the perpetrator. It can make it worse for the victim,” she said.
Angelica Murray, a USF graduate student and intern at the GSC, said talking about domestic violence is important personally and professionally. “Any opportunity to introduce someone to the issue and being able to have a place for themselves [to act as an] agent who can change or affect the reality of domestic violence — I feel like is a really good thing.”
For more information on domestic violence and what you can do to help, please visit the Gender and Sexuality Center on the UC 4th Floor or at their website: http://www.usfca.edu/gsc/
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