Theaters show a short film on battered women

August 02, 1994|By Howard Henry Chen | Howard Henry Chen,Sun Staff Writer

Among the silly ads for popcorn and soda you'll see when you visit Loews Theaters this month, you'll actually see a film short that's worth watching.

The Baltimore-based House of Ruth, which provides shelter and counseling services to battered women and their families, has produced a 60-second film focusing on domestic abuse, specifically the story of a 26-year-old Baltimore woman named Venus Ann Shifflett, who was killed by her partner in 1989.

In the film, the voice-over narration is based on a letter Ms. Shifflett wrote before her slaying. The letter begs the court to protect her from her abusive partner, and the film's photo-montage, part of which shows a vibrant, smiling Ms. Shifflett holding her two young daughters, is taken from her personal photo album. The letter was written by Ms. Shifflett four months before her partner put a bullet through her head.

During the closing seconds of the video, the voice, eerily portentous, asks, "Does he have to kill me before I can finally be protected from him?"

The film will be shown before feature presentations in more than 100 Loews Theaters throughout Maryland, according to House of Ruth official Carrie LeBow. For more information about the House of Ruth and its services, call the crisis hot line at (410) 889-7884.

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