On March 16, 2011, 27-year old veterinary technician, Jennifer Snyder of Allentown, PA was murdered by her married boyfriend of more than 2 years after he learned that she was pregnant. Veterinarian David Rapoport shot Jenn twice in the mouth and once in the back and then dumped her body in a wooded ravine. He was arrested 6 days later, eventually pleading guilty to avoid the death penalty. He is now serving 2 life sentences for his crimes.
A week after her murder, Jenn’s aunt contacted the filmmaker, Tracy Schott. She wanted to tell Jenn’s story, to give Jenn a voice. On impulse, Tracy googled “pregnancy and homicide” and was shocked to find several research studies that revealed:
Homicide is the leading cause of death during pregnancy.
Why wasn’t the media talking about this problem? Why was every case covered like it was a fluke? Just some guy “snapping”? Was there a pattern to this crime?
Jenn’s case seemed unusual since there was no known history of violence in the relationship. Was it possible that there were warning signs that she missed?
After speaking with domestic violence experts and survivors from around the country, we learn that there are many cases like Jenn’s. Through these conversations, the film paints a picture of the anatomy of abusive relationships that looks beyond the black eye.
Ultimately, it is the survivors of intimate partner homicide attempts who help us to find Jenn’s voice, and to understand the dangers overlooked by so many. Their insights and experiences allow the film to give a voice to the voiceless, and leave the viewer with a message that is hard to forget.
Intimate Partner Violence can include many forms of abuse including physical violence, sexual violence, reproductive control, emotional abuse and social/emotional control.
Intimate Partner Violence is a pervasive and serious problem globally. The research is consistent and grim:
- Homicide is the number one cause of death during pregnancy
- Up to 20% of pregnant women experience violence during their pregnancy
- 28% of women will experience intimate partner violence in their lifetimes
- More than three women are killed each day in the United States by a current or previous husband or boyfriend 2/3 of women killed during pregnancy are killed by an intimate partner
- 20 to 30 percent of men who kill their pregnant partners have no previous history of violence
- Women are 9 times more likely to be killed by an intimate partner than a stranger
- Among women killed by an intimate partner, firearms are the most common cause of death
- Women who are African-American, younger than 25 years and unmarried have the highest risk for homicide during pregnancy, but the problem is seen across all demographic groups
- Witnessing violence between one’s parents or caretakers is the strongest risk factor for transmitting violence from one generation to the next
- Boys who witness domestic violence are twice as likely to abuse their own partners and children when they become adults
- 30-60% of perpetrators of intimate partner violence also abuse children in the household
- Most instances of intimate partner violence are never reported
To learn more about Intimate Partner Violence, check out these resources:
National Network to End Domestic Violence (http://nnedv.org)
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (http://NCADV.org)
National Domestic Violence Hotline (http://TheHotline.org)
Futures Without Violence (http://FuturesWithoutViolence.org)
National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence (http://ncdsv.org)
Joyful Heart Foundation (http://www.joyfulheartfoundation.org)
NO MORE (nomore.org)
NNEDV Technology app (http://techsafetyapp.org)
Research – Click Here
In the course of making this film, we have been fortunate to meet and interview some of the leading researchers in the fields of Intimate Partner Violence, healthcare, and criminology.
Jacquelyn Campbell, PhD, MSN – Professor of Nursing, Johns Hopkins University. Dr.Campbell is a national leader in research and advocacy in the field of intimate partner violence. Her research has paved the way for a growing body of interdisciplinary investigations by researchers in the disciplines of nursing, medicine, and public health. She is the current Chair of the Board of Directors for the Futures without Violence. She was also a member of the congressionally appointed U.S. Department of Defense Task Force on Domestic Violence
Diana Cheng, MD – Obstetrician/Gynecologist, Former Director of Women’s Health, Maryland Dept. of Health and Medical Hygiene. Dr. Cheng and Dr. Isabelle Horon’s 2001 landmark study found homicide to be the leading cause of death among pregnant women. Dr. Cheng is the former vice-chair of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Committee on Healthcare for Underserved Women, and is a leader in the movement to encourage IPV screening by physicians.
Rae Taylor, PhD – Chair, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice, Loyola University – New Orleans. Dr. Taylor dissertation examined pregnancy as a risk factor for intimate partner violence, and has researched the media’s coverage of intimate partner violence. Dr. Taylor is also a trained advocate for victims in the criminal justice system.
Linda Burke-Galloway, MD – Obstetrician/Gynecologist, Social Worker, Author – “The Smart Woman’s Guide to Pregnancy”. Dr. Burke-Galloway is a board certified OB/Gyn and public health advocate working with underserved populations.
Marcus Kondkar, PhD – Chair, Associate Professor-Sociology, Loyola University – New Orleans. Dr. Kondkar has researched Intimate Partner Homicide, Gender Violence, and Sexual Coercion.
David Adams, PhD – CoFounder/CoDirector EMERGE – the first counseling program for men who abuse women, founded in 1977. He is the author of “Why do they Kill? Men who murder their intimate partners”.
Evan Stark, PhD, MSW –Professor Emeritus, Rutgers University – sociologist, forensic social worker and author of “Coercive Control: How men entrap women in personal life”, and “Women at Risk: Domestic violence and women’s health” (co-author – Anne Flitcraft).d Professor of Public Health, Rutgers University. Dr. Stark is a forensic soc
Marilee Strong – An award-winning journalist who specializes in reporting on psychological and social issues. She is the author of “Erased: Missing Women, Murdered Wives”, and followed the Scott and Laci Peterson case for five years.
Janine Latus – A freelance writer, radio commentator and speaker, Janine is the author of “If I am Missing or Dead”, a book which describes the murder of her sister, and the culture of abuse in which she grew up. The book has been on the New York Times Bestseller and republished in half a dozen languages.
Tracy Schott – Tracy Schott is uniquely qualified to tell this story. She received her MSW from the University of California – Berkeley School of Social Welfare in 1985 and practiced child and family therapy with a diverse group of clients for nearly 15 years. Many of whom were victims of abuse. Tracy likes to say that the other half of her brain demanded attention, so she went back to school to study video production. In 2000, she received an MS in Telecommunications. Since that time she has she directed, written and produced video content for hundreds of projects including television commercials, short films, non-profit and corporate communications, live theatrical events, and television programming. Finding Jenn’s Voice is Tracy‘s first feature film.
Derek Dienner – Director of Photography – Derek is the Executive Producer and founder of Lavon Films and Make Films. Derek specializes in telling life stories through visual imagery. He is the director of photography and co-producer of Dream Weddings. Lavon Films is known for the artistry Derek brings to wedding videography, and for telling the stories of non-profit organizations throughout the region. He has captured the lives and landscapes of his subjects from Cape Town, South Africa to San Francisco.
R. Bradley Bass – Editor – Brad has worked in the magical land of post-production for over 15 years. He has worked with clients of every size, from small businesses to Fortune 500 corporations on projects that include TV commercials, marketing videos, employee training, high-level internal corporate communications, documentary films, and television programming. His latest work includes the first reality television show based in Central Pennsylvania, the two-time Emmy nominated Dream Weddings.
Marty Mellinger – Composer – Marty is a musician, music producer, arranger and composer. Owner of Cross Keys Productions Recording Studio since 1993, Marty has written and produced over 450 commercials and short film scores. In 1988, he was nominated for a regional Grammy as Jazz Producer. Marty is a highly sought after pianist. He has performed with Simone, Rick Derringer, Mary Wilson, Ray Parker, Jr., Rita Coolidge and was even asked by Bruce Springsteen to be the original keyboard player in the East Street Band.