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Clip: CWAA women discuss the mechanisms of abuse
Clip: Glenda Crosley talks about the impact of CWAA
Clip: CWAA Meeting No. 847

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Criminal Justice
Domestic Violence
Public Health

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Sin by Silence
A film by Olivia Klaus
US, 2009, 49 minutes, Color, DVD
Order No. WO9978
From behind prison walls, a group of extraordinary women are shattering misconceptions of domestic violence. An important film that profiles Convicted Women Against Abuse (CWAA), the US prison system’s first inmate initiated group and led by women, SIN BY SILENCE is an essential resource featuring more than two hours of bonus materials, including interviews with experts on abusive relationships, law enforcement leaders and leaders in faith-based communities about domestic violence, and more.

Created by Brenda Clubine in 1989, CWAA has changed laws for battered women, raised awareness for those on the outside, and educated a system that does not fully comprehend the complexities of domestic abuse. Like many CWAA members, Brenda’s years of inflicted abuse were never fully revealed. But because of CWAA’s work and advocacy, new laws were enacted that now allow incarcerated survivors to challenge their original conviction. With unprecedented access inside the California Institution for Women, this emotionally packed documentary tells the stories of courageous women who have learned from their past, are changing their future, and teaching us how domestic violence affects each and every person.


Winner of the 2011 ALA “Notable Video for Adults”
Sacramento Film and Music Festival, Audience Award for Best Documentary
Cable Fax Award, Best Show or Series - Public Affairs
The Mary Byron Project, Celebrating Solutions Award

  • Cleveland International Film Festival
  • United Nations Association Film Festival
  • Starz Denver International Film Festival
  • Female Eye Film Festival
  • Rocky Mountain Women’s Film Festival
  • Women of Color Film Festival
  • Femmes en Resistance

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    “Shows that intimate violence can happen to anyone—these women are every woman.”
    Dr. Elizabeth Dermody Leonard
    Author, “Convicted Survivors: The Imprisonment of Battered Women Who Kill”

    “Not only raises awareness…but offers hope to every survivor who views it. We were in tears.”
    Linda Dooley Johanek
    Executive Dir., Domestic Violence Center

    “A film that touches the soul of any human concerned with justice and fair treatment…. [A] cry for social action.”
    Alyce LaViolette
    Founder, Alternatives to Violence

    “Brenda Clubine[’s]… personal story of loss, suffering, betrayal and courage could inspire a season of movies on Lifetime.”
    Cleveland Free Times

    “The women of SIN BY SILENCE eloquently speak about why they couldn’t get away from their violent partner and the devastating psychological effects of battering.”
    Nancy Kaser-Boyd, PhD
    Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

    “Sparks important conversations and squashes that voice in your head that tells you nothing like this could ever happen to you.”

    “Offering a powerful look at a controversial topic, this is highly recommended.”
    K. Fennessy
    Video Librarian

    “…disrupts conventional assumptions about victimization and empowerment to provide an alternative perspective for courses on feminist activism.”
    Wendy Kozol
    Films for the Feminist Classroom

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    Sin by Silence is included in the following Special Collections.
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WMM offers film collections on a variety of specific subject areas, including the collections VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN: Ending the Silence, BODY IMAGE, and AFRICAN-AMERICAN: Celebrate the Lives of African-American Women.

Deep discounts are available when you purchase multiple films. More details.

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Women Make Movies is a multicultural, multiracial, non-profit media arts organization which facilitiates the production, promotion, distribution, and exhibition of independent films and videotapes by and about women. contact us