Our Voices Within: Internally Free

One of three trees to be on display at the event.  With leafs decorated by incarcerated survivors.
One of three trees to be on display at the event. With leaves decorated by incarcerated survivors.

This Saturday, March 28th fifteen battered women who have been released from California’s state prisons are holding a community event to celebrate their freedom and to call for the release of others who remain in prison. The women served between three and 30 years in prison, the majority for killing abusive partners when defending themselves or their children from ongoing violence and abuse.

Most of the women served life sentences and were released on parole by Governor Schwarzenegger and the parole board. Others were freed after successfully challenging their convictions in court under a unique California law that allows domestic violence survivors to petition for new trials if they did not have expert testimony on battering and its effects when their cases originally were prosecuted.

This community event, Our Voices Within: Internally Free, features formerly incarcerated survivors performing poetry about their experiences of incarceration and domestic violence and will feature visual art, music and testimonies to celebrate their freedom from prison and call for other survivors’ release. The event includes a silent auction of art and crafts and a book of writings created by currently and formerly incarcerated battered women.

The event is being held at the Women’s Building, which is located at 3543 18th St. (between Valencia & Guerrero), in San Francisco Saturday, March 28th, 2009. Doors open at 3:30pm for the public. The program is from 4:00 – 6:00pm.

The majority of women in prison experienced domestic violence before going to prison, and many are serving life sentences for crimes directly relating to their experiences of abuse. In a time of rapid prison expansion, prison overcrowding, and a crumbling state budget now more then ever these women should be freed.

To learn more about Free Battered Women and the event visit www.freebatteredwomen.org

To see footage from Sin by Silence a documentary about some of the survivors being honored visit http://www.sinbysilence.com/silenced/

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