Battered women are in prison for killing their abusers even though they acted in a form of self-defense for themselves and their children after experiencing years of violence.
They have often been repeatedly raped, beaten, and threatened to be killed. If they tried to leave, their abuser said he would find them and kill them. If they called the police or told anyone what was going on, he told them he would kill them. They were trapped and out of options.
In March of 1991 a battered women’s support group for women incarcerated in the California Institution for Women for killing their abusers was formed. The group – called Convicted Women Against Abuse – began writing letters to the governor seeking clemency and several have been released from prison as a result.
A new movie entitled “Sin by Silence” about the Convicted Women Against Abuse support group will be premiered March 22, 2009 at the Cleveland International Film Festival. The Internet Movie Database has this synopsis of the movie :
From behind prison walls, SIN BY SILENCE reveals the lives of extraordinary women who advocate for a future free from domestic violence. Inside the California Institution for Women, the first inmate-initiated and led group in the U.S. prison system, shatters the misconceptions of domestic violence. Against the system and against the odds, the women of Convicted Women Against Abuse have risen to expose the stigma of the cycle of domestic violence. Through their stories of terror and hope, the viewer can begin to understand the cycle of violence, the signs of an abuser, and how each and every one of us is responsible for changing the tragedy of domestic violence. Written by Olivia Klaus
The facts, according to the SinbySilence.org website, about domestic violence:
- 1 of every 3 women experience abuse.
- Every 7 seconds a woman is battered.
- Up to 4 million women are battered in their homes each year.
- Battering is the #1 cause of injury to women in the U.S.
- There are 3 times as many shelters for animals as there for battered women.
- Every day 4 women die from domestic abuse.
- Up to 50% of homeless women and children on the streets are fleeing domestic violence.
Domestic violence happens to women of all classes, cultures, races, etc. This has really hit home with the recent battering of mega singing star Rihanna by her equally mega singing star boyfriend Chris Brown. Even she isn’t immune from abuse.
According to the Sin by Silence website:
While most of the women in SIN BY SILENCE may remain in prison for the remainder of their lives, these women are committed to helping others understand the reality of domestic violence.
The least we can do is to help these women raise awareness about domestic violence, learn the signs of when a woman is being battered, and help a battered woman out when possible…by extending a hand or by making a donation to a women’s shelter. We can advocate that laws be eased to decriminalize actions taken in self-defense by battered women.
Abraham Lincoln said, “To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men.” These women are courageously standing up and speaking out. Let’s join them.