Sin by Silence

A film by Olivia Klaus

US | 2009 | 49 minutes | Color | DVD | Order No. O9978 |


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.


“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


  • Sacramento Film and Music Festival, Audience Award for Best Documentary
  • Winner of the 2011 ALA “Notable Video for Adults”
  • Cable Fax Award, Best Show or Series - Public Affairs
  • The Mary Byron Project, Celebrating Solutions Award
  • Women of Color Film Festival
  • Cleveland International Film Festival
  • Rocky Mountain Women’s Film Festival
  • United Nations Association Film Festival
  • Female Eye Film Festival
  • Starz Denver International Film Festival
  • Femmes en Resistance


Olivia Klaus

Olivia Klaus is an award-winning documentary filmmaker who passionately believes in the power of visual stories to create positive social change. Her work has been seen on various networks like CNN, Discovery, MTV and The History Channel. SIN BY SILENCE, her directorial debut in 2009, went on to win numerous film festival and advocacy awards, and highlighted by People Magazine, NPR, HLN, and The Insider before being broadcasted on Investigation Discovery to over 2.5 million viewers. The film went on to inspire unprecedented legislation in California based on the documentary to improve the paths to freedom for nearly 7,000 currently incarcerated domestic violence victims who have spent decades behind bars. In 2014, she premiered her second film LIFE AFTER MANSON at the Tribeca Film Festival and an excerpt was featured on the prestigious New York Times Op-Docs series. Her producer/consultant credits include the Netflix Original LESSONS FROM A SCHOOL SHOOTING, the 2016 Sundance film NEWTOWN, 2020 Sundance film US KIDS, and Emmy-nominated BRAVE MISS WORLD. She is also the Creative Director at Orange Static - a multimedia agency specializing in documentary film websites.


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