(THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. - Feb. 16, 2012) California Lutheran University will screen a documentary about the female inmates who brought Battered Women Syndrome to light and host a discussion with one of the women profiled at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 8.
"Sin by Silence" will be shown in the Lundring Events Center on the Thousand Oaks campus as part of the Reel Justice Film Series. The screening takes place on International Women's Day, which is celebrated each year to mark the economic, political and social achievements of women.
One of the women featured in the film and CLU faculty members will participate in panel discussion following the screening.
The film by Olivia Klaus tells the story of Convicted Women Against Abuse, the first inmate-initiated and inmate-led group in the United States prison system. Formed in 1989 by several women serving life sentences at the California Institution for Women in Chino for killing their abusers, CWAA helped women inside prison break the silence about abuse and begin helping others to stop the cycle of violence.
Led by then inmate Brenda Clubine, the CWAA worked to change a system that did not recognize the intricacies of an abusive relationship and ended up shattering misconceptions about domestic violence. Through carefully orchestrated letter-writing campaigns, media coverage and Senate hearings, the movement gained momentum and, in 1992, Battered Women Syndrome was legally defined. The group's efforts also resulted in California becoming the first state to permit battered women convicted of killing their batterers to file a writ of habeas corpus challenging their original conviction if sentencing occurred prior to 1992.
Many cases were re-tried and convictions overturned, resulting in the release of inmates. As of 2010, 25 women had been freed due to the group's efforts. And the women who remain behind bars continue to work to have their voices heard.
The Reel Justice Film Series, which examines the themes of equality and social justice, will continue April 17 with "Speaking in Tongues," a film on the country's commitment to remaining an English-only nation.
The Lundring Events Center is located in the Gilbert Sports and Fitness Center on the north side of Olsen Road near Mountclef Boulevard.
CLU's Center for Equality and Justice, Department of Criminal Justice, Gender and Women's Studies Program and Graduate Psychology Program are sponsoring the free event. For more information, contact Sam Thomas at firstname.lastname@example.org or (805) 493-3693.