Joyful Noise: Telling Amy's Story


On November 8, 2001, Amy Homan McGee, a mother of two, was shot to death by her husband in their home in Pennsylvania. The murder was the final act of violence in a history of cruelty and abuse. She was thirty-three years old.

In 2010, with the help of the Verizon Foundation, Penn State Public Broadcasting created Telling Amy’s Story, a documentary chronicling the events leading up to Amy’s death. With an introduction by Joyful Heart Founder & President Mariska Hargitay, the film uses interviews with Amy’s friends and family, law enforcement officers, court personnel and co-workers at the Verizon store where she worked to examine the warning signs that may have changed the outcome of Amy’s story. As Detective Dierdri Fishel—the lead investigator on Amy’s case and the film’s narrator—says, we must look at “what we can do as a community to change the ending for another victim.”

The film concludes with a discussion between Mariska and Sheryl Cates, then-CEO Emeritus of the National Domestic Violence Hotline, in which they begin to address of the many questions Amy’s story raises: Why don’t people talk about this issue more? Why does the shame lie with the victim and not the perpetrator? What can be done to bring change?

Telling Amy’s Story premiered in Washington, DC, at the Newseum on May 18, 2010. The Verizon Foundation, along with Liz Claiborne and the Joyful Heart Foundation, hosted a New York City premiere on December 7, 2010. The latter event was also the kick-off for Liz Claiborne’s annual It’s Time to Talk Day, a national day of dialogue to raise awareness for ending domestic violence and teen dating abuse. Throughout the day, leading talk radio hosts from around the country interview more than 80 guests about what can be done to end the cycle of abuse, how to get involved in prevention and how and where victims can get help.


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