"Pork Chop Day" explores local woman's story of domestic violence - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

"Pork Chop Day" explores local woman's story of domestic violence

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By Ben Watson - bio | email

Debbie Knapp is the first woman in Tennessee to be paroled from a life sentence.

The announcement came in 2003, as she and her fellow inmates were in the prison's public dining room enjoying "pork chop day", their favorite meal on the calendar.
 
Now, two Memphis filmmakers have turned her story into an emotional documentary. 

In the documentary "Pork Chop Day", Knapp explains how her childhood dream of being a princess and marrying Prince Charming turned into a nightmare.
 
"You know at first there was just pushes and kicks and slaps," she said.

Knapp says the beatings became more and more violent, until and one day back in the 1980's, she became fed up with the abuse.

She snapped.

"He came home and was raising Cane. I went and got the shotgun," she said. "Came out and asked him to leave, and he pretty much told me that I didn't have the guts to use that shotgun."

Knapp pulled the trigger, and her husband died shortly thereafter.

"And that is where I committed the crime," she said.

Knapp was paroled after 21 years behind bars.

Now she's telling her story, and working with the YWCA to educate others about domestic abuse and its possible consequences. 
 
"Absolutely, I should have gone to prison. I committed a crime," she said. What I would like is that it never comes to that. There should never be a time when someone has to make that choice."

Knapp said the shooting devastated her two children and both families.

She says she'll regret it for the rest of her life. "I was no longer going to be abused by him, but everything changes because, from that point on, I was no longer the victim," she said. "I was the murderer, and he was no longer the abuser - he was a victim."

"Pork Chop Day" was produced by Memphis filmmakers Jane Folk and Ryan Parker.

Click here to learn more about the film.

Click here to learn more about the YWCA's services for abused women.

 

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