Paralyzed SA abuse survivor featured in award-winning documentary

'Finding Jenn's Voice' tells stories of 11 abused women

By Courtney Friedman - VJ, Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - Leading researchers report that the leading cause of death during pregnancy is not preeclampsia, or gestational diabetes. It's homicide. Those same researchers have found that every day in the United States, three women are killed by their intimate partners.

Ten years ago, San Antonio mother Kisha Ward almost became part of that statistic.

"I've been through some rough times," she said.

She was severely abused while pregnant, and then one day, the father of her children shot her in the neck. She survived, but most of her body was left paralyzed.

"I try not to complain because I know there are people worse off than me; some people that are not here," Ward said.

That comment refers to Pennsylvania woman Jennifer Snyder, 27, who was murdered four years ago by her boyfriend, 30-year-old David Rapoport. She was pregnant at the time.

"He shot her and left her on the side of the road," Ward said.

Snyder's tragic story resonated with filmmakers Tracy Schott and Derek Lavon Dienner, so they met the woman's family, compiled data, talked to experts and got in touch with other abuse survivors. Eventually that work became a documentary film called "Finding Jenn's Voice."

They fused Snyder's story with the stories of 11 other domestic abuse survivors from around the nation. One of them was Ward.

"The 11 of us created this bond that I can't even explain. A lot of us were abused when we were pregnant, severely beaten, dragged, hit with things. Someone lost their child," Ward said. "We all are here to be a voice, not for ourselves, not just for Jenn, but other victims that are still trapped in silence."

In the film's trailer you hear an expert talk about the takeaway message: "What we need to do is educate the public not to go, 'Well, what was she doing?' It doesn't matter what someone was doing. It's not OK to hit and it's not OK to kill."

The hope for "Finding Jenn's Voice" is that communities nationwide will become proactive in the fight against domestic violence and encourage those suffering abuse to find their voices now, before it's too late.

"Finding Jenn's Voice" has already won two awards and has yet to be shown in Washington, D.C., Orlando, Minnesota and San Antonio. The documentary will run at 5 p.m. Saturday at the Tobin Theater.

To buy a ticket for the Saturday showing, click here.

Watch the trailer for "Finding Jenn's Voice" below.

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