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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release
Giving Voice to Victims

For immediate release:
Monday, January 5, 2009

Contact:David ClohessyBarbara Dorris
National Director, SNAPOutreach Director, SNAP
SNAPclohessy@aol.comSNAPdorris@gmail.com
(314) 566-9790(314) 862-7688
SNAP.org * SNAPmidwest.orgSNAP.org *SNAPmidwest.org

Crystal City Woman and SNAP Supporter Wows YouTube Watchers with Her Videos

Jan. 2, 2009, St. Louis, MO—Give a woman with a mission a video camera and watch out.  Big things can happen.  Mighty messages can reach others through such a medium.  That’s the case, at least, with Crystal City, Mo., resident Kim Fischer.  She entered a contest this fall for aspiring, non-professional journalists through YouTube (in conjunction with the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting) and ended up among the top five finalists.  As a result, she’ll travel to Washington, D.C., Jan. 11 for an award ceremony at American University.  YouTube and the Pulitzer Center will award the top winner a $10,000 fellowship for an international reporting project.

      Making her way through three rounds of video assignments in the course of a few months, Fischer moved millions watching the progress of “Project: Report” and voting on their favorites. Her first submission responded to the project’s call for a profile of an impacting person in the community.   Fischer videotaped Barb Dorris, outreach director for SNAP (Survivors’ Network of Those Abused by Priests).    Dorris’s three-minute testimony of her own abuse as a child by a clergy member and her plea for “all to take a stand to stop child sex abuse,” attested to Fischer’s giftedness at videography. 

      Chosen from among 100 entrants, Fischer joined 10 other semi-finalists for the second assignment:  cover a controversy in a community.  Her four-minute “Factory Town Blues” video focused on a divisive issue in her hometown—whether a lead smelter company should be able to build on vacant industrial property. 

      In December, Fischer proceeded to finalist stance.  Her five-minute “End of Innocence” video captured the compelling tales of several clergy abuse victims affiliated with SNAP.  Fischer was to produce a piece that “empowers an underreported community.”  The subjects had to tell and videotape their own story.  The result is five minutes of deeply moving material—tragic but triumphant because victims are given voice. Most touching is the fact that Fischer’s husband, Tim, speaks up as one of the clergy abuse survivors.

   All Fischer’s videos may be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/user/projectreport.  Details about the Pulitzer Center’s mission and the new Project: Report (started this year) are available at pulitzercenter.org.

      Media RepresentativesKim Fischer is just the kind of woman the community loves to read/hear about. Consider a feature/brief about her work and recognition. An art school graduate from St. Louis Community College-Meramec, Fischer has always loved photography and pursued the craft when she could.  In recent years, she used her Canon GL2 video camera and related movie-editing computer software for various projects.  Her creative eye and technical savvy, for one thing, backed her husband Tim’s graphic abilities.  Both incorporated video clips and such in his blog, website designs and the award-winning SNAPmidwest.org site that he manages.   She discovered YouTube’s creative possibilities just months ago.  Setting up an account on YouTube,www.youtube.com/user/DoGoodWork, she held off submitting videos until she joined the Project: Report contest this fall.

      SNAP’s National Director David Clohessy couldn’t be more pleased with Fischer’s focus on the clergy abuse victim/survivor community. “Kim is doing an enormous public service giving deeply wounded victims a voice,” he said.  “Ninety percent of SNAP’s work involves quiet, behind-the-scenes, one-on-one support for those struggling with the effects of childhood violence.  All too often SNAP is seen as an advocacy group exposing predators, when, in fact, we’re primarily a self-help group helping victims.  Most importantly, Kim’s videos put a human face on the horrific, ongoing crisis.”

      Fischer is thrilled at the recognition from YouTube and the Pulitzer Center.  She’s shocked too:  “There were so many fantastic videos.  I couldn’t tell you why the judges and others picked my work.”

      One thing is certain—according to Fischer, she’s only scratched the surface of the clergy abuse issue, to name one of her interests. “I want to zero in on the personal stories of survivors.  It’s important to see how they cope, flourish and come to help others,” she said. “I sense they’re trying to prevent abuse from happening again.  They’re also turning a negative into a positive.  They tell intimate stories with grace and dignity.  They’re heroic, really.” 

      Fischer said she isn’t confident she’ll be the $10,000 fellowship winner.  But she is grateful for a laptop computer and video camera she received as prizes while working her way to finalist status. She’s happy her two teenage children, husband, parents and others are proud of her accomplishments.  She’s also glad she put her all into the project, working on the videos for hours and hours, she said.

      With her good fortune in the Project: Report video contest, Fischer isn’t about to quit making videos, once the excitement dies down.   “No way am I going to stop.  Too many stories to tell,” Fischer said. 

SNAP (Survivors’ Network of Those Abused by Priests) is the nation’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims.  The organization was founded in 1992 and has more than 8,000 members across the country.  Despite the word “priest” in the title, SNAP has members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops and Protestant ministers, among others.  Check out SNAPnetwork.org and SNAPmidwest.org.


Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
www.snapnetwork.org