Student creates documentary about her survival from domestic violence to raise awareness

A student at Istrouma Middle Magnet wanted to tell the world her story to inspire others, no matter their age, to speak out against domestic violence.
Published: Jun. 1, 2022 at 9:19 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Ashante’ Guinn grew up seeing things no child should ever see.

“This took a lot of courage because a lot of people at my school didn’t know that type of stuff about me,” said Guinn.

Chantee’ Harris, Guinn’s mom, was caught in an abusive relationship with her boyfriend back in 2015. Guinn said the man physically and emotionally abused both her and her mom.

“None of my classmates really knew what was going on with me because I always keep it hidden,” added Guinn.

Harris said there were times she feared for her life, but she refused to walk away.

“It was plenty of times I seen death,” said Harris.

In 2017, the abuse ended when the man was shot and killed by someone outside of a laundromat on Greenwell Springs Road.

“I just knew I wasn’t going to make it, but by the grace of God, he helped me through,” added Harris.

Back in April, Guinn approached her mom with an idea about a documentary for a contest at school.

The student at Istrouma Middle Magnet wanted to tell the world their story to inspire others, no matter the age, to speak out against domestic violence.

Guinn’s film entitled Becoming Ashante’ won the East Baton Rouge Parish Schools’ Film of the Year Award.

“She never really opened up to me about her feelings on it. So, listening to her on camera and really telling how she really felt really tore me to pieces because I can’t believe I put my kids through that,” explained Harris.

East Baton Rouge Parish saw a record 36 domestic violence-related killings in 2021. That’s almost double the number of cases from previous year.

This family hopes sharing their story will push people to say something before it’s too late.

“You might not be here tomorrow to speak up. So, if you can, get out,” said Harris.

As two survivors, the mother and daughter managed to create a new bond that will last a lifetime.

“Now we’re best friends and closer than ever,” said Guinn.

You can watch the documentary here.

Domestic Violence Resources:

  • Butterfly Society (225) 347-7725
  • Iris Domestic Violence Shelter (225) 389 -3001
  • Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence 1 (888) 411-1333
  • Family Safe Haven (225) 239-7880
  • Family Services of Greater Baton Rouge (225) 924-0123

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