On October 22, 2008 Brenda Clubine was released from prison after serving 26 years for defending herself against her abusive husband.


She now continues with her advocacy by speaking out about the dangers of abusive relationships in hopes that people will continue to make a difference in the struggle against domestic violence.


"I waited and dreamed for 26 years to once again be able to feel the water on my toes at the beach.


I realize for some that isn't a big deal. But, for the morning after my release it was the most amazing moment I could have had!"

Archive: Life in the Free World

I AM FREE, I AM GRATEFUL, I AM HUMBLE!

1403526_10151920437791355_1875372976_oOn October 22, 2013 I celebrated my 5th year of freedom, wow has it been an amazing five years. The best part has been being able to make a difference not only in my local community but across the U.S.

I was reflecting on what it felt like the moment they told me to pack my things since I was supposed to be released on the 17th of October since that is when the Judge had ordered my release. I heard the officer call my name on the PA system and tell me to roll it up, I had been waiting for five days to hear that and I could not believe it was even real.

As I came around the corner at 5:15 p.m. that evening the first face I saw was the director and producer of “Sin By Silence”, Olivia Klaus. What an amazing sight for sore eyes. It was 93 degrees outside and I had been released in khaki colored cords and a zip-up seat jacket that said “Venice Beach” CA on the front of it. It was hotter than all get out. Olivia offered me her over blouse since she had another one on underneath. What could I say but what a relief.

As we waited for my attorney’s to show up Olivia asked if I would like to call my son and let him know that I was free, she handed me her cell phone not realizing I had no clue how to use one after being away for 26 years. Needless to say after some trial and error on my part I got to speak to my son for the first time without having to call collect, and on a cell phone how cool was that.

We finally left Lynn Wood County Jail and I was treated by my legal team from Latham and Watkins to a steak dinner. Most people would think I would want to celebrate with champagne however I was never one to drink and I had no doubt one drink would make me drunk.

The first night I spent at my attorney’s mother’s house who had worked so tirelessly on my case for four years. It felt strange to sleep in a bed a real bed I might add, not a metal slab with a 3″ mattress on it.

The following morning I was picked-up by Olivia who took me to Venice beach, she went to the lifeguard station and procured a sand wheelchair and took me to the water I had dreamed of for so many years feeling it run over my feet and all I could do was laugh and cry all at the same time. The feeling of freedom was tangible and took my breath away.

After being on the beach for a while she took me to breakfast at an outdoor café just before the pier area, it was the most amazing food I had ever eaten. From there we went shopping at Target and made a day of it, memories that will last me a lifetime.

Over the past five years now I am reminded of the awesome people in my life who have been there for me since my release and before my release; my big sister Roxann, David, Rabbi Miriam, Shayna & Eli, Olivia, Adam, Judy, and several others whom if I did not mention you that does not mean I appreciate you any less than the ones I did mention. Without the core people in my life I would not have the chance to be living my dream today.

Today, Every 9 Seconds a domestic violence non-profit would not have happened without all the wonderful people who believed in me and gave me their unending support. I am grateful, honored and humbled by my freedom and the blessing of the amazing people in my life.

I ache for my sisters I left behind and I want to continue to fight for their freedom so they too can feel the water wash across their feet and the arms of their loved ones wrapped around them without fear of having their visit terminated for too much contact.

Thank you, each one of you whose names I mentioned and those I have not as you too know who you are for all you have done for me.

I AM FREE, I AM GRATEFUL, I AM HUMBLE!

Jodi vs. The World

I remember when I was on trial for defending my life against my abusive husband in 1983. No one believed it was self-defense. No one believed that I had suffered years of emotional, verbal, sexual, and physical abuse. The media made me out to be a cold blooded killer, and I remember looking for any opportunity to have someone believe my side of the story.

For several weeks now I have been following the trial of Jodi Arias in Arizona. I have watched as this young woman has broken down in front of America and be continually degraded by every news show and media outlet. I wish I could say I can’t relate to the hell she is going through at this time. But, I remember just like it was yesterday being on the stand and feeling like I was being torn apart and kicked in the stomach all at the same time.

I remember what it felt like to be completely alone as the courtroom continued to be crowded with media and spectators. I knew I was alone and that only I could be the one to tell my story if anyone even cared to know the truth. I knew how lost I felt in the system and how hard it was for me to understand why it was all even happening. To be deemed a liar by people who didn’t even know me, and were not there when my crime happened, was unimaginable. To hear the prosecution give their version of events and for me to feel like they had to be talking about someone else was unthinkable. My life was overwhelming!

It was a crossroad for me to finally realize that no one cared, while also realizing I didn’t stand a chance in court with the way things were being spinned against me. Knowing at the same time I should not be convicted after all I had already been through, I had lost control of my fate.

As the Arias case continues, I have learned that the original domestic violence expert assigned to my case, Alyce LaViolette, is now working on Jodi’s case. Alyce is an incredible woman who was one of the few people who believed my side of the story during my trial and continued to stand by me the entire 26 years I was incarcerated.

I have asked myself many times, after being contacted by multiple media stations, why I feel so strongly about the truth coming out and for people to wait to pass judgement against Jodi until they know all of the facts in the case. It is because I know exactly how it feels to be on trial for killing the man that you loved, and it is truly life altering to know that you are ALONE! The only difference for me was that back in 1983 there were no laws in place for my evidence of abuse to be allowed in court, and Alyce was actually never permitted to take the stand on my behalf.

I wish the best for Jodi, and hope that she will be allowed the chance to finally correct all of the character assassinations that have taken place. Jodi’s fate lies in the hands of 12 jurors, and not the media or even the public at large. She deserves the benefit of the doubt, and shame on society for leaping to conclusions without truly listening. Aren’t we innocent until proven guilty?

We will never know the truth of what happened during Jodi’s crime, but I wish people would simply start listening instead of blaming. I know I wish someone, beyond Alyce LaViolette, had done that for me during my trial. It could have saved me from having to spend 26 years behind bars.

© Brenda Clubine, 2013. Cannot be repurposed without prior consent.

The Sin by Silence Bills Fund

I’ve had the incredible opportunity to experience freedom since 2008, and now is the time for my remaining sisters behind bars to finally have the same experience. I truly hope you will join me as we start “The Sin by Silence Bills Fund” to raise money to cover the legal expenses so that others can finally join me in the free world.

Our first recipient of fund will be Glenda Crosley, who received a sentence of 15-years-to-life and has now served 23 years behind bars. Despite new laws that allow courts to consider a woman’s previous abuse in such cases, Glenda remains in prison. Now, at age 68, Glenda now has the opportunity to submit a petition to the court under the new California laws. After decades, she finally can take the steps toward reuniting with her family after decades behind bars.

All funds raised for the Sin by Silence Bills Fund will go towards the legal expenses to help women, like Glenda Crosley, petition the courts to be resentenced under today’s laws. Once the fund total has been met we will continue each month to raise funds for the remaining 70 survivors awaiting legal counsel. Show your love and support by doing your part to help these women regain their freedom under AB 593 & AB 1593. Let’s all give and say “Enough is Enough”.

CLICK HERE TO DONATE!

Governor Signs Sin by Silence Bills Into Law

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The journey to see the Sin By Silence Bills become law and set precedence is more than progressive, it’s about righting the injustice of the system for decades on several levels. Working with Assemblywoman Fiona Ma, her amazing staff, the Director of Sin By Silence, and countless others who have been a part of making history is a dream come true for me.

Only four years ago I was still in prison, my freedom continuing to elude me after 26 years. In 2008, I was forced to leave my “sisters” behind and given the honor to continue my advocacy beyond prison walls.  I stand proud to be a part of the fight for justice. My life is forever changed by my experiences and it is with heartfelt appreciation I say “thank you” to each person who worked tirelessly to fight against the decades of injustice and give incarcerated survivors a chance. It is with courage, strength and bravery that AB 593 and AB 1593 have now become LAW!

The Sin by Silence Bills

We have an opportunity to truly make a difference through the Sin by Silence Bills. This is a chance for us to do the right things to help my fellow sisters still trapped behind prison walls. Please join me and help spread the word!

 

 


Tears Roll Down My Face

There was not a moment, as the hours passed and I waited for the television debut of Sin by Silence, that I was not aware of the fact I was in my new home, with my family and friends waiting for the movie to start. As I ran around the kitchen preparing the last few items of dinner, I could not help but realize how overwhelmed I was feeling. I was experiencing a mix of emotions, I was both excited about the movie just about to begin. Yet, I was sad knowing that all my sisters from Convicted Women Against Abuse would not be able to see it, and that truly hurt my heart. I almost felt guilty about being free and having the chance to watch the world television premiere of all of our stories.

As the movie began, many of my neighbors who had never seen the movie before were speechless. As tears rolled down my face I realized that three years ago on 10/17/2008 I was in court and the Judge had the courage to release me. I actually began to sob, almost uncontrollably as the feeling swept over me. As I turned and watched my family and neighbors watching the movie, I could see for many of them, it brought up issues from childhood between their parents, or in a previous marriage. I knew there was a reason I was freed and that I was able to be a part of such a life changing movie.

Tears continued rolling down my cheeks for the remainder of the movie. It was almost like I was really seeing the movie for the first time and I was utterly and completely overwhelmed. I am just hoping that other victims of abuse who are trapped in a current relationship at the moment they were watching the movie - that they heard us all loud and clear, that it hopefully gave them the strength and courage it takes to speak to someone they trust and to get help to make a safety plan for themselves.

After the movie was over and I waited as our house guests left, I looked at my family and the feeling of utmost gratefulness consumed me. I have been given a chance to truly make a difference in the world and I want to cherish every second of that opportunity. I am eternally thankful to Olivia Klaus, the Director/Producer of the film, and her Co-Producer Ann Caryn-Cleveland for having the strength and courage to share our voices with the world and work to break the silence and shame left behind due to abuse.

I want to thank each and everyone of you who tuned in. Wherever you were, don’t let it be just another movie. We matter! Share it with your friends and family, co-workers and everyone you know that you want to be part of breaking the silence and make a difference. I also want to thank Investigation Discovery for making the decision to air Sin By Silence seeing the movie as being so much more, and realizing it is a life changing documentation of victims of abuse who experienced the worst of the worst and are survivors today. If you are a victim of abuse now, reach out, YOU MATTER!!

You Are Not Alone

Sin By Silence will be airing on Investigation Discovery. This is such an amazing opportunity to touch lives, especially those who are still trapped in an abusive relationship at this time. I was thinking about when I felt so trapped and alone. I felt like there was no one I could trust anymore. I knew that since my abuser, the one person in my life that said he loved me was literally destroying me as a person, I remember the feeling of being in fear 24/7 worrying about every little thing I was doing or was going to do,  I had no idea what to even do.  I had no friends left, because anyone who even had the courage to still be in my life, were so afraid to even try and reach out to me any more due to past events from my abuser destroying their homes, threatening them, etc. I remember it felt so overwhelming to me, I felt so alone, it was almost as if I had been left behind by everyone.

There was no question to me that no one really understood what I was going through. That all of their well meaning advice really didn’t help when what I needed most was just one person to truly hear me, to tell me I wasn’t alone, that they would help me. That I deserved better, that the abuse could end and that I could safe. WOW, what I would have given just to hear those words.

Today, I am writing this so whoever you are reading this now, that you know, that you are not alone, that I understand the nightmare you are living, that although it seems like it’s never going to end and there is no escaping the abuse, it can end, there are resources and options available to you today that were not available to me when I needed it most. It’s okay to be afraid, you can do it. I never thought I could as much as I tried, over and over to leave many times, I kept going back for many reasons, the biggest being I didn’t know better, the threats got worse and worse, there was no where else to turn. It took a lot of strength and courage to leave each time that I did, I jst never understood at the time that I could have made it, I never thought I could. Let me tell you that you can make it, that you don’t have to live in a nightmare any more.

Reach out to someone, anyone that you feel in your gut is going to help you make that step. I’ve learned a lot about following my gut or instinct if that’s what they call it, I no longer live in fear every day, I am proud of who I am, I will no longer tolerate any form of abuse in my life. I want you to know, most importantly, YOU ARE NOT ALONE…feel free to get in touch even if you just need someone to talk to. Thanks for the chance to share my experience with you.

Fox News Channel

Eureka…I Found It!

I headed to Eureka, California where I was going to do a screening at the local Arcata Lounge and Theater. It was going to be an even better time since I would also have the chance to see my son and grandsons while I was there. I arrived on Friday evening and my event was not going to be until Saturday evening. I drove to my sons to visit for a while and enjoyed some time with the family before heading to my hotel for the evening. The next day I was able to enjoy more time with the family then had to prepare for the evening event.

Around 4:00 p.m. I headed to the Theater. Upon arrival I met the host for the evening as well as several other agencies and organizations that set up their information for people who would attend to gather information on local resources. It was a theater unlike any other I had ever been in, they not only sold food but sold drinks and in lieu of movie seats there were small tables for people to sit at. The film was introduced and the screening began. It was so great to know that I was in a community that served my family as well. The theater was full and very quiet. After the film I was introduced and I spoke prior to a very inter-active Q&A period. People in the Community since it was a community event really wanted to know what they could do to make a difference where they lived. This was a great experience for me and I also enjoyed the added bonus of being able to see my family. The other organizations that were there were very excited about how the evening had gone as well and the fact they were able to share with the community all they have to offer as well. THANK YOU EVERYONE FOR AN AMAZING TIME IN ARCATA!!! I hope to have the chance to return again.

Youth on Fire

October 4, 2011 once again I was given the awesome opportunity to screen “Sin By Silence” at Pacific Lutheran University in Washington. I was reminded how these young ladies and gentlemen are truly on fire to make a difference not only in their school community but in the lives of their friends and family. My heart is touched each and every time I have been able to return to PLU and I am eternally grateful for Professor Kate Luther and those who assist her in seeing that this event has taken place the last three years. I enjoy the chance to answer questions that are mindful and heartfelt and know without question that these young people are ready to step up and spread the word about breaking the silence. THANK YOU to each and everyone of you that put this event together and were there to make it another resounding success. Also, thank you to the local Y.W.C.A. staff for offering information and being a constant resource for the local community.