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AETN, Verizon recognize Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October with special programming, events, website

Nearly one in four women are beaten or raped by a partner during adulthood, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. This alarming statistic prompted the Arkansas Educational Television Network (AETN) and Verizon to partner to address domestic violence in Arkansas through special programming and events.

To address the issue, and provide critical resources and safety information to Arkansans, AETN will premiere "Telling Amy's Story" on Thursday, Oct. 28, at 7 p.m., immediately followed by a live domestic violence crisis hotline at 8 p.m. "Telling Amy's Story" chronicles the tragic death of Amy Homan McGee, a domestic violence victim, mother of two and former Verizon employee who was shot and killed by her husband.

"In the past 10 years, Arkansas has had an average ranking of ninth nationally for domestic homicides per capita, ranking as high as third for two years and first in deaths of African American women in 2002," Jayne Ann Kita, executive director of the Arkansas Coalition Against Domestic Violence (ACADV), said. "Reaching out to victims, providing resources and hope, and educating the public about the prevention of domestic violence are all vitally important to the state to help diminish this disturbing trend."

Amy's story is told in large part by State College (Pa.) Police Department Detective Deirdri Fishel, who is a member of a unit that focuses on a coordinated response to domestic abuse, including the review of domestic violence homicides to find out what clues were missed or what steps could prevent a similar situation.

"Until women take responsibility for the choices they make whether it's to seek help, leave, or call the police domestic violence will never end," Central Arkansas domestic violence survivor Amanda White said. "That's the one thing I had to learn and the only thing that will make it stop."

AETN's crisis hotline for victims and families who need help will include a phone bank of law enforcement agencies, attorneys, shelter representatives and other domestic violence advocates and experts who can address the concerns and needs of victims. The ACADV Clothesline Awareness Project, a visual display that bears witness to the deadly reality of domestic violence, will also be featured during the crisis hotline. Additionally, AETN has created a domestic violence resource website at www.aetn.org/domesticviolence.

AETN has also partnered with the ACADV and Women and Children First to reach all corners of the state with potentially life-saving information.

"Telling Amy's Story" was produced and directed by Joe Myers, creative director at Penn State Public Broadcasting, and builds on a successful domestic violence prevention and training program at Pennsylvania State University. The training program and documentary were funded by $385,000 in grants from the Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon.

"Verizon Wireless is proud to help make "Telling Amy's Story" possible," Steven R. Smith, South Central Region President Verizon Wireless, said. "It is our hope that through her story and other forms of education and awareness we can help put an end to domestic violence in Arkansas."

Through the Verizon Wireless HopeLine program more than 7 million no-longer-used wireless phones have been collected and recycled or refurbished to support domestic violence survivors, generating $8 million that has been given to local agencies since 2001.

Verizon Wireless operates the nations most reliable and largest wireless voice and 3G data network, serving more than 92 million customers. Headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., with  79,000 employees nationwide, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE, NASDAQ: VZ) and Vodafone (LSE, NASDAQ: VOD). For more information, visit www.verizonwireless.com. To preview and request broadcast-quality video footage and high-resolution stills of Verizon Wireless operations, log on to the Verizon Wireless Multimedia Library at www.verizonwireless.com/multimedia.

The Arkansas Educational Television Network (AETN) is Arkansas's statewide public television network that enhances lives by providing lifelong learning opportunities for people from all walks of life. AETN delivers local, award-winning productions and classic, trusted PBS programs aimed at sharing Arkansas and the world with viewers. AETN depends on the generosity of Arkansans and the State of Arkansas to continue offering quality programming. For more information, visit www.aetn.org, or follow the AETN blog at www.aetn.org/engage. AETN is broadcast on KETS (Little Rock), KEMV (Mountain View), KETG (Arkadelphia), KAFT (Fayetteville), KTEJ (Jonesboro), and KETZ (El Dorado).

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