Filmaker Olivia Klaus speaks to Students at Vanguard University about her Award Winning Film, “Sin by Silence”
Vanguard University alumnus and co-creator of recently passed domestic violence legislation in California encourages students to have courage, follow their dreams
Costa Mesa, CA, October 15, 2012 – Filmmaker, lawmaker, and Vanguard University alumnus, Olivia Klaus, spoke to students on Monday morning at Vanguard University. Her award-winning film, “Sin by Silence,” is the impetus for the creation of two Assembly Bills – AB 593 & AB 1593 – that have just been signed by Governor Brown into California law on behalf of survivors of domestic violence.
With a glowing introduction by Sandie Morgan, Director of Vanguard University’s Global Center for Women and Justice (GCWJ), Klaus set the backdrop for well-needed awareness about domestic violence as an epidemic. Citing sobering statistics, Klaus explained that domestic violence affects one in three women and that four women die each day from abusive relationships.
The seed for the film, which showcases the lives of five women who are serving sentences for killing their abusive husband, was planted when Klaus received a desperate phone call from a friend-in-need who had confided in Klaus that she was in a battered relationship. With the goal of helping her friend, Klaus set about trying to understand domestic violence first-hand. After three years of visiting the California Institute for Women, she cultivated strong friendships with a group of women who belong to the only inmate-initiated and led battered women’s support group in the U.S. prison system called Women Against Abuse. These friendships inspired Klaus to make the film.
Throughout the talk, Klaus encouraged students to have courage, follow their dreams, create change, and do what is right – advice she received years earlier from her beloved grandmother. She also admitted that the road to the film’s success was a bumpy one.
“This film would have never happened without so many people, including the community here at Vanguard,” Klaus said, praising former Vanguard professor, Dr. Elizabeth Leonard, who initially went with the filmmaker to meet with women serving sentences related to domestic violence. “I wanted to quit several times,” she added. That she didn’t quit was the message she hoped the students received.
In 2011, “Sin by Silence” caught the attention of California Assemblywoman Fiona Ma after it aired on Discovery Investigation Discover channel. Klaus explained that the Assemblywoman was so moved by the documentary that she contacted Klaus to work together to create legislation designed to give these forgotten victims of domestic violence the chance at justice they had previously been denied.
On September 30, 2012, Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bills 593 and 1593 into law. Both go into effect January 1, 2013.
Direct Contact Information:
Olivia Klaus, Filmmaker
MEDIA CONTACT: Shana Martin, Director of Communications at Vanguard University
For more information on the film, go to www.sinbysilence.com