Telegraph 21 Interview
Our partner Women Make Movies brought to our attention the upcoming broadcast of the film Sin By Silence on the Discovery Channel on October 17th. Sin By Silence follows Brenda Clubine, who has been locked up for 26 years for murdering her abusive husband. She started Convicted Women Against Abuse (CWAA), the first support and advocacy group of its kind – for women in prison, by women in prison. I had the opportunity to interview filmmaker Olivia Klaus about the film.
Telegraph21: What inspired you to make Sin by Silence?
Olivia Klaus: My world was shattered by a three-minute phone call. I had always heard about domestic violence, but it was a problem that happened to other people. Yet, there it was…on the other end of the phone. A close friend of mine was a victim. As my mind started racing for ways to help or fix things, I realized that I was completely helpless. I had no answers, no solutions. I held that phone in silence as I heard the dark secrets of a seemingly perfect marriage unravel.
My painstaking journey to help continued as I started discovering women’s shelters and organizations. Yet, they offered extremely limited resources for victims and those trying to help. Then a conversation with a colleague, Dr. Elizabeth Leonard – author of Convicted Survivors- changed everything. She started talking about her own inspiration for solutions to the crisis at hand. She suggested that my quest include a trip to the most unlikely place – prison!
Since that first visit to prison, and meeting the incredible survivors of Convicted Women Against Abuse, I found that I could never pretend that life was the way it was before. These women were serving life in prison for killing their abusive husbands and I slowly realized they were the experts on domestic violence that I had been searching for. As months of meetings went on and relationships were built, the women soon found out that my background was filmmaking and approached me to help tell their stories. I knew with this request came a long journey, yet I knew their voices must be heard. If these women’s stories could be heard beyond prison walls, then I just knew that countless lives would be saved…..and Sin by Silence was born.