Documentary Makes Case for Women Who Kill Abusive Spouses


A documentary film that debuts Monday on television’s Investigation Discovery channel tells the stories of women imprisoned in California for killing the men they once loved. Those profiled in “Sin by Silence” include Brenda Clubine, who leads a prison support group for women like her, reports The Daily Beast. When Clubine killed her husband in 1983, there were 11 restraining orders against him and a warrant for his arrest. He'd put her in the ER more than once. But in that era “domestic violence” was treated as an issue best worked out in private.

Clubine began organizing her support group when she realized she was surrounded in prison by a number of women who committed crimes similar to hers. By 1989, her 60-inmate “Convicted Women Against Abuse” was formally recognized by the state as the first inmate-run support group in the nation. She launched a letter-writing campaign to any politician whose address she could get her hands on. “Murder is what defines us: section 187 of the penal code,” she says. “But these are normal, everyday people. Inmates, but also victims. We wanted our stories to be heard.”

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