A new documentary looks at the cases of four women — victims of domestic abuse who killed their husbands in an attempt to escape the years of torture inflicted upon them. They all received extremely severe sentences for their crimes; in three of the cases, the women weren’t even allowed to enter their abuse into evidence during trial, so the juries decided their fate without understanding the most pivotal information.
The Perfect Victim follows as the Missouri Battered Women’s Clemency Coalition works to secure the freedom of these women, who’ve already missed out on decades of their lives, locked up for trying to escape male violence.
In this episode, I speak with Elizabeth Rohrbaugh, director of the documentary, and Amy Lorenz-Moser, a lawyer with the Missouri Battered Women’s Clemency Coalition whose work is featured in the film.
Elizabeth is an Emmy Award winning director with a BFA in Film and Television from the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. She spent ten years as a director, writer and editor at MTV Networks and is now the creative director of Outer Borough Pictures. Her feature-length documentary, “The Perfect Victim,” was recently acquired by the PBS documentary series, America Reframed following a successful festival run. Her most recent short film “Dylan” is premiered at the St. Louis International Film Festival 2014, and screened at the Melbourne Queer Film Festival, the Boston LGBT Film Festival, and the Queer Film Festival.
Amy is a litigator and represents victims of domestic violence on a pro bono basis. She started this work at the University of Missouri Law School’s Family Violence Clinic while still a student there, and has continued her service through the Missouri Battered Women’s Clemency Coalition. For the past 13 years, Amy has represented victims of domestic violence who were imprisoned in Missouri for killing their abusers, even though evidence of the abuse was inadmissible at the time of their trials. Amy’s efforts have resulted in the release of four women.
In October of 2010, through Amy’s efforts and the work of the Coalition, two of the women featured in The Perfect Victim were released from prison after serving 32 years each. In recognition of those efforts, Amy was named the Missouri Lawyer’s Weekly 2011 Lawyer of the Year. In August of 2012, Amy also received the American Bar Association’s prestigious national Pro Bono Publico Award for her work on behalf of victims of domestic violence.
The Perfect Victim is available for Americans to watch for free on WORLD Channel from April 15th to October 15th and is also available on Amazon Prime. Canadians can rent or buy the film on iTunes.