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On February, 2010

Browsing all posts on February, 2010

Postcards to the Edge

Breaking the imaginary 'fourth wall' and bringing an audience inside your film is one of the most difficult tasks of filmmaking. Audiences are inherently used to the passive action of watching a film. Yet, for social justice documentaries it is crucial to break down the barrier that separates a personal connection to the action in the story. So, how do you connect an audience with women behind prison walls? How do you turn the message of a film into activism?

One of the goals of our outreach tour was to create avenues for the Sin by Silence characters to engage with the audiences beyond the screen. Their stories are real. Their pain is real. They are real. We found one simple way to break down the imaginary and physical walls of the film and prison in order to connect inmates with people in the "free world"...by creating postcards.

GOAL:

To help the audience realize what they have witnessed onscreen is a tangible, ongoing struggle and engage them further in the cause.

STRATEGY:

  1. Create pre-addressed postcards for audience members to take home as a reminder to get involved in the issues of domestic violence.
  2. Provide audience members an tangible to the women of Sin by Silence and encourage them in their struggles while in prison.
  3. Encourage a pen-pal system that would help the women of Sin by Silence feel connected to the people that are inspired by their stories.

Gpostcard

OUTCOME:

The postcards became an immediate success! A series of 14,000 postcards in total, one for the group and one of each of the women featured in the film, had to be printed to meet demand while on tour. Many people took multiple cards - one as a keepsake and reminder, the other to send a note of encouragement. To date, each of the women have received 1000's of postcards from people all over the country encouraging them to not give up, thanking them for sharing their story, and confiding in them their own personal stories of abuse.

postcardmailed

 

Audience Investment

Connecting is easy. Maintaining a connection is hard. It's not enough to have an audience simply watch Sin by Silence. We want our audience to be affected by its message and become stewards of change - those who take up the flag of the cause and help influence others to create positive social change. The film is the first connection. The next steps needed to further the audience's engagement in the issue by developing support groups and community engagement initiatives that continue long after the film has ended.

GOAL:

Continue the connection made with the audience from the screening to leverage positive change and encourage others to take up the cause.

STRATEGY:

  1. Use the Sin by Silence website as a portal for resources, connections, latest news and information.
  2. Use social media outlets distinctively, utilizing what each does best.
  3. Create a sense of intimacy, engagement and friendship, despite the numbers.
  4. Create action-oriented objectives and engagement through story.
  5. Listen to our audience's needs and continue to learn how we can help them engage at a deeper level.

OUTCOMES:


We wanted to take SinBySilence.com beyond a typical website about the film. We wanted to create a portal for change. A two-way connection for the audience to learn the latest news about the film, connect with resources and organizations, and gain support for their own efforts.


Audience members from a screening can often be diverse with specialized expertise - nurses, lawyers, social workers, educators, students, advocates, and more. How do you help different fields work together to exact a positive change through social networking? Gina Bianchini, a Silicon Valley CEO and fellow advocate, created Ning as a place to create your own social network site. She also helped guide Sin By Silence to create our own online network, utilizing Ning, around specific campaigns connected to the "Get Involved" section of the Sin By Silence website. We were able to choose the features, and member driven content, designed for our stewards of change.

To date, we have a close-knit community of almost 300 members and see this as an important place to listen and engage in a deeper way with the challenges and issues of campaigning against domestic violence. Our next steps include expanding the network to include support materials to help University students working to Stop the Violence with best practices for utilizing Sin By Silence in their own activities and communities on campus.


With more than 400 million active users worldwide, Facebook has become known as the most popular social network website. With half of those users logging in everyday, Facebook has been the most popular way to get our audience engaged with content. There are several important things we discovered engaging our audience on the Sin by Silence Fanpage:

1) Facebook is the easiest engagement tool to track interaction. Insights reveal information about fanbase demographics, how often people responded positively to your posts, how many times people watched the media attached to your fan page, and the kind of data needed to create a successful campaign.

2) Our fan base went up nearly 300% during our community outreach tour, averaging 20 new fans per event.



3) Our Facebook fans are most interested in "emotional" content, not informational content, averaging 12 interactions per post.

 



Twitter is one of the fastest growing web application to date. A real-time information network powered by people from all around the world that allows you to share and discover what's happening in less than 140 characters. There are quite a few twitter statistic tools out there that aim to analyze "your influence." This is what we discovered:

1) Twitter creates a new informational avenue to engage a community.



2) We found that our audience was primarily interested in being connected with direct and reliable information through URL links. We average 150 clicks per week from our posted links.

 


LinkedIn Groups is a great place to find and join communities of professionals that are actively engaged in the fight against domestic violence. Our strategy with LinkedIn Groups was not to create yet another online Sin By Silence branded social networking group, but to listen to existing groups engaged in the fight against intimate partner violence. Social Media strategy cannot just be about funneling information and creating a channel for others to listen to. It is a place to have meaningful conversations and build relationships that you may not otherwise have had the connection to. We found Linked In groups to be a great place to gauge needs within specific professional communities. Utilizing these groups can sometimes reveal a lot of "noise," but there are also informed discussions, the sharing of resources and invaluable global perspectives. Engaging in these groups as a member and contributor, allowed us to listen and offer links and solutions that brought professionals back to Sin By Silence that would not have previously been connected to the film.


If you would like the latest information about Sin By Silence's online campaigns, check out our network, become a fan or follow us!

Inbox Connections

You've crafted a compelling message carefully choosing each word to elicit the right emotions. You've spent countless hours collecting the right data, resources, and know what information matters most to your audience. Now what?

Ten years ago very few people had email addresses. Today, everyone has one! So, the QLP team jumped at the opportunity to stay connected with the Sin by Silence network directly through their inbox - go green by not printing and mailing countless newsletters, instantly share the latest news about the film and outreach, and connect a network to resources with just the click of a mouse.

GOAL:

Leverage an email campaign to stay connected, continue advocacy, and build stronger relationships with our members, fans, audiences, advocates and donors.

STRATEGY:

  1. Build database through online sign-up, screening events, DVD sales, etc.
  2. Send monthly newsletter, recent campaign strategies and news updates.

OUTCOME:

The Sin by Silence email newsletter has skyrocketed with subscriptions and activity! We've been able to directly stay connected with our audience, while also directly connecting them to ways they can be more involved.

The data shows us that people are reading the emails, readers are forwarding on to friends and everyone is staying connected!

EmailCampaignGraph

HIGHLIGHT:

Love. A simple word. A complexity of emotions. These feelings are heightened during the month of February, which is also Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. But, for countless women, Valentine's will be just another day lived in fear of a partner. So, the QLP team decided to focus on love in a new way. A positive way. To help empower people by letting them know they are loved. Woman to woman, mother to daughter, friend to friend...letting someone know that you care can make a huge difference.

febnewsletter

Click here to view the ecard.
Click here to see the video.
Click here to view the discussion.

We've had great response from our network from just this newsletter alone:

  • 1160 emails were released
  • 196 people forwarded the email
  • 1356 emails were read
  • 107 people received ecards
  • 42 more Facebook fans were created
  • 225 YouTube views

 

DVD Strategy

A film simply cannot answer every question before the credits start to roll. If it did, the audience would have to sit through 12 hours and be demanding an intermission. We knew with the complex issues brought up in Sin by Silence that our audience would have questions - from the legal plight of convicted survivors, to the multiple dimensions of abusive relationships. But, we couldn't throw in the kitchen sink and still edit a compelling story. So, that's where the DVD came in to save the day!

GOAL:

Create two versions of the Sin by Silence DVD to help facilitate use of the film in homes, shelters, advocacy groups and classrooms. After all, the longevity of the message of a film is in the hands of a DVD being passed from friend to friend.

STRATEGY:

  1. Home DVD version through Sin by Silence website and screening events
  2. Educational DVD version through Women Make Movies

HOME DVD:

Closed captioned to reach deaf communities - check!
Spanish subtitled to reach Spanish speaking communities - check!
Bonus videos to encourage discussions on the issues brought up in the film - check!

We knew the power of the Sin by Silence DVD was in our viewers hands. Hands that pass the film onto a friend, hands that give the DVD to someone you think might need help in their own relationship. But, our viewers would want to know more. So, we turned the concept of bonus videos into advocacy videos that would further understanding and involvement in the plight of incarcerated survivors, as well as the issues of domestic violence.

ADVOCACY VIDEOS

  1. What’s a CWAA meeting like?: CWAA meetings and members discuss various aspects of their abusive relationships
  2. What’s prison like?: Joanne and LaVelma take viewers on a tour to get to know the California Institution for Women
  3. What happened to Joey?: Behind the scenes story and footage of this mother and son reuniting after Brenda's release from prison
  4. What can I do to help Glenda?: Expert witness, Dr. Nancy Kaser-Boyd, and legal expert, Michael Brennan, break down the process of parole in California and describe the obstacles incarcerated survivors face in their journey to freedom
  5. Can I hear more from Rosemary?: Full clip of Rosemary's 'confessional' from the film
  6. Can I hear more from Virgil?: Full clip of Virgil's 'confessional' from the film

PAY IT FORWARD
For our university screenings we really wanted to make the DVD a tool for students to take home and share with their friends to help continue the vital conversations that could save lives. By selling the DVD for half price, we were able to sell more while also maximizing effectiveness by encouraging students to give the DVD to a friend that couldn’t attend the event.
*Raised average event sales by 250%

GET ONE GIVE ONE
Exclusive offer for fans of Sin by Silence on Facebook, Twitter, as well as our email newsletter list were able to take purchase the DVD and receive one free DVD and special holiday card to give as a gift to a friend, during the month of December.
*Raised average monthly sales by 300%

BUY ONE GIVE ONE
Continual offer since December 2009, to be able to purchase the Sin by Silence DVD, and for $10 more purchase a second DVD to give to a friend.
*Raised average monthly sales by 10%

EDUCATIONAL DVD:


The Sin by Silence educational DVD version is distributed by Women Make Movies and has soared to be one of their best-selling films. Top domestic violence experts have raved the DVD to be an essential educational resource on domestic violence.

"Sin by Silence offers resources I try to include in every speech, training, or discussion with a policy maker."
Debby Tucker - Executive Director, National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence

"Sin by Silence provides cutting-edge videos to help advocates achieve social action."
Alyce LaViolette - Founder, Alternatives to Violence

We had a vision to create videos, for the teaching environment, that could further spark and continue discussion brought up after watching the film. By creating more than two hours of additional video content, we were able to include interviews with experts on abusive relationships, law enforcement leaders and leaders in faith-based communities about domestic violence, incarceration and more.

ABUSE AND VIOLENCE VIDEOS

  1. Batterer's Group: An in-depth look into the Los Angeles County program Reach to Recovery led by James Beard and Lindsay Wagner. Through intimate interviews with a family and a couple, the viewer is able to experience the complexities of the whole dynamic of abusive relationships.
  2. Public Safety: Domestic violence can now no longer be viewed as a private issue. It always goes beyond closed doors and into the streets and homes of others. At age 18, Michele plead guilty to first degree murder. In 1987, her boyfriend Jose coerced her to be a part of an in house robbery that resulted in one woman dying. She felt forced to be a part of this horror or Jose threatened to kill her family. Viewers will hear an incredible story of abuse and crime from all of those it affected most. Kate lost her mother and the murder shattered her sense of security. Richard lost his wife and the mother of his children, yet still reaches out to Michele to forgive her.
  3. What is Abuse: Dr. Elizabeth Leonard and Dr. Nancy Kaser-Boyd provide an in-depth look into the various aspects and forms of abusive relationships.
  4. Warning Signs: The women of Sin by Silence share their personal stories of looking back on the warning signs in their own abusive relationships.
  5. Why She Stays: The women of Sin by Silence share the factors that caused them to feel like there way no way out of their abusive relationships. Includes perspectives from Dr. Elizabeth Leonard and Dr. Nancy Kaser-Boyd.
  6. Progression of Abuse: The women of Convicted Women Against Abuse describe the complexities of their own abusive relationships.
  7. 911 call: The entire 911 call from the film.
  8. CWAA Meetings: An in-depth look at Convicted Women Against Abuse meetings and 5 in-depth group discussions with members on various topics of their personal|experience with abuse.

LAW ENFORCEMENT & CORRECTIONS

  1. Staff Perspective of CIW: The California Institution for Women's Warden and Lieutenant give a behind the scenes look of California's oldest women's prison.
  2. Inmate Perspective of CIW: Take a tour of the California Institution for Women with some of the inmates at the California Institution for Women.
  3. Men vs Women Prisons: Dr. Barbara Bloom, along with the California Institution for Women Warden and Lieutenant, disect the drastic differences between men and women's prisons.
  4. Law Enforcement Response to DV: Learn about the progression of law enforcement protocol and evolution to the crisis of domestic violence with California law enforcement leaders and experts including Sheriff Baca of Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, Chief John Welter of Ananheim, CA, and Lt. Chris Sayers of the Anaheim Family Justice Center.

LEGAL ASPECTS

  1. Brenda Clubine’s Hearing: Take a look at the full hearing that brought Brenda Clubine to freedom.
  2. Juror’s Perspective: An in-depth perspective from Glenda Crosley's juror on the process and complications of the 1987 trial.
  3. Expert Witness: An in-depth perspective and explanation of the role of an expert witness on domestic violence homicide cases by Dr. Nancy Kaser-Boyd.

CONVICTED SURVIVORS

  1. Message to Shelter: Brenda Clubine personally encourages women on their road to independence from abusive relationships.
  2. Brenda & Joe: Behind the scenes story and footage of this mother and son reuniting after Brenda's release from prison.

FAITH-BASED

  1. LaVelma Byrd: LaVelma killed her husband, a pastor and pillar in the community. She never spoke a word to her family, or church members, that her husband beat her on a regular basis. She had faith that her husband would change. LaVelma shares her experience of abuse in a Christian home and what we need to do to begin helping others that are in similar situations.
  2. Dr. George O Wood: General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God encourages churches to make sure their homes are safe and free of domestic violence.
  3. Rabbi Miriam Hamrel: Rabbi and leader of the Ahavat Torah Congregation encourages synagogues towards Tikun Olam – to fix the world from its wrong doings.
  4. Sister Terry Dodge: Director of Crossroads encourages Catholic communities to take a stand against violence against women.

 

Action Kits

The universal message of Sin by Silence is to stop the violence! Whether you volunteer at a shelter, donate, reach out to students or advocate for better policies – everyone has a role to play in combating the global pandemic of violence against women.

University students, community organizations, schools, shelters and friends all have very little time to create materials that further awareness and stimulate dialogue to create change in communities. By providing a down-loadable action kit to accompany the film, we were able to make advocacy and easier reality by hosting a Sin by Silence event.

GOAL:

Create awareness. Stimulate dialogue. Catalyze change within communities through an 'Action Kit’ that encourages audiences to host their own Sin by Silence event to help create longevity in our outreach beyond the initial community tour.

STRATEGY:

Provide step by step actions and materials for educational and non-profit organizations, we can help infuse the domestic violence movement to reach new levels in their community.

  1. Streamline the process on the Sin by Silence website for hosting own event.
  2. Have materials and handouts available for download.
  3. Create handouts that help promote further dialogue, understanding and strategic action steps for communities.

OUTCOME:

By creating our STOP THE VIOLENCE action kits we have transformed Sin by Silence into the perfect do-it-yourself tool for individuals and organizations to be stewards of change in their own communities. We have helped create safe places for audience members to share their own personal stories of tragedy. We have helped connect organizations with new advocates who are ready to join the cause and begin working together. We have helped university students take action in the fight against violence on their own campuses. We can help make a difference!

actionkit

All the materials and handouts needed for a STOP THE VIOLENCE event can be viewed at http://www.sinbysilence.com/stoptheviolence


TESTIMONIALS:

"I was amazed by how well the screening went, how many people were moved by the film, and how proud I was to be able to spread the message of wrongful and unjust incarceration of battered women. The culture of violence against women on campus has become normalized, and I see it everyday. My own commitment to stopping violence against women was reinvigorated when I watched the film, and some of the stories stay with me constantly. The toolkit that Sin by Silence put together was extremely helpful. Even though I organized the event without any prior knowledge about how to put on a public screening, I felt extremely prepared and well equipped because of the toolkit. Thank you so, so much for making such an incredible film, and for making public screenings so easy! I hope that this film can continue to spread its message and that women and men become more educated about this issue."
Cornell University, student Emma Schain

"I was very impressed by the number of people who attended the event. This is by far the best resource that I have seen that touches on this issue. I was able to tie the film to other projects at the school that look at issues such as female empowerment in society and issues of female incarceration."
Purdue University

"I am very grateful for all that your team is doing to help people like me who want to spread the word. I didn't know where to begin until I saw all your templates. For me, this even was the first step in bringing awareness to my campus. The first of many."
Chaffey College

 

Strategic Partnerships

Documentaries and non-profit organizations often share the same vision for social justice. Building a bridge between the two can be help leverage social impact beyond conventional streams. Non-profits hold the keys to new audiences and already established avenues of outreach. Filmmakers hold the keys to storytelling that brings awareness to abstract issues of life that gets the attention of a mainstream audience.

GOAL:

Leverage Sin by Silence to reach a broader network, with non-profit partnerships, so the message can resonate through the power of a story to motivate action.

STRATEGY:

  1. Identify organizations, on local and national levels, that are leaders in the movement of violence against women and incarcerated survivors.
  2. Build connections with organizations that will incorporate Sin by Silence into their strategies for change.
  3. Incorporate organization's resources to be complimentary materials to Sin by Silence in order to do something beyond just viewing the film.
  4. Connect audience members with organizations for continued advocacy.

HIGHLIGHT:

sayno-copyUNIFEM'S Say NO Unite aims to trigger and highlight actions by individuals, governments and civil society partners to realize a vision that is ambitious – a future that is free from violence against women and girls. Working through traditional, as well as online networks and social media, Say NO Unite engages participants from all walks of life. A range of web-based and other tools available on saynotoviolence.org supports advocacy efforts and work to a global audience.

In February of 2010, the Sin by Silence Action Kits were featured on the Say No network to over 67,000 advocates and organizations around the world. Through the Say No announcement, we were able to have an immediate reach to 8,834 people and have a potential reach to over 57,000 subscribers. We then became a highlighted campaign on the homepage of their website and have the potential of reaching countless people searching for new actions to help in their own advocacy against violence.

utubeIn March 2010, Say No Unites started a YouTube campaign featuring a video each week that highlights work helping to end violence against women. Our "What's Your Flag" was the first video to be featured for the launch. Through the Say No announcement on their network, we were able to have an immediate reach to 12,172 and potential reach to over 81,000 subscribers. The views of the video nearly doubled during this week - from 522 views to 986.

PARTNERS:

Sin by Silence delivers a decisive message affecting the entire public, and with our continued collaborative efforts we hope to see lives changed, woman’s roles transformed and the next generation experiencing a decrease in violence against women.

Family Violence Prevention Fund
Peace Over Violence
Family Justice Center Alliance
National Training Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence
California Partnership to End Domestic Violence
Nicole Brown Charitable Foundation
National Clearinghouse for the Defense of Battered Women
Free Battered Women
The California Women’s Law Center
Post-Conviction Justice Project
California Coalition for Women Prisoners
California Habeas Project
Action Committee for Women in Prison

 

Legislative Action

Social justice filmmakers always dream of having legislative impact. A chance to strategically create change that truly makes a concrete difference. A movement that leads to tangible change in by framing an important but largely invisible issue in meaningful human terms. Meaningful terms that affect communities. Reunite families. Give women who have been incarcerated for decades a glimmer of hope and a future in the free world.

With Sin by Silence, we knew from the very beginning that we wanted to create enough of an impact to free the women of Convicted Women Against Abuse. To create more than just a film. To create an impact that went straight to the California Capitol to directly help release the women who are featured in the film. In 2012, our dream finally is coming true with The Sin by Silence Bills (AB 593 & AB1593).

The Timeline:

In 2009, California faced an unanticipated challenge when the Governor eliminated all funding for domestic violence agencies. But, the tide turned as Californian's cried out for justice and safety for families. Four months later, the State government temporarily reinstated shelter funding for the fiscal year. But, the damage was already done. Across the state, five shelters already had to permanently close their doors to victims needing help in their area. The Quiet Little Place team was invited to join the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence in Sacramento for Legislative Action Days taking place on the 1 year anniversary of our debut. As a pivotal moment in our campaign, Sin by Silence screened for the Select Committee on Domestic Violence, as well as the Legislative Women's Caucus in order to help bring urgency to the ever growing issues of domestic violence throughout the state. Our team, as well as Brenda Clubine who is featured in the film, were part of the taking part of various meetings with legislators to help educate about the resources needed to support domestic violence programs and services throughout California.

In 2010, the Quiet Little Place team was invited to join the Women In Government conferences to present our film and research directly to female legislators from across the country. As a result, we were able to personally inspire California Assemblywoman Fiona Ma to take on our cause to help the remaining survivors trapped behind bars. The result? A journey to bring to life new legislation that would make history in California.

In 2011, we gathered key individuals from the California Habeas Project, UC Berkeley Law, the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence, along with key survivors and lawyers who helped their cases find freedom to head to Sacramento for an information hearing hosted by Assemblywoman Fiona Ma. All of our hard work, and years of outreach, came down to this moment when we were able to present the cause to the Capitol. This pivotal hearing lit an emotional flame that has fueled a movement and the Sin by Silence Bill (AB 593) is awaiting a final vote from the State Senate to change the laws that continue to keep many of the women in the film still behind bars. Sin by Silence is more than just a film - it represents what great television can do when we act - lives will change, women’s roles will transform, and the next generation will be empowered to act with courage.

The Outcome:

After countless conference calls, meetings, trips to Sacramento, and speaking at legislative hearings, Governor Brown signed the Sin by Silence Bills into law and went into effect on January 1, 2013.

“I am so proud that Governor Brown has signed both of my bills,” stated Assemblywoman Ma. “Today, we give hope to approximately 7,000 victims across the state who have survived domestic violence, who believed the system had failed them, and will now have an opportunity to speak out against injustice.”

This effort would not have happened without the Sin by Silence network who joined with us, signed petitions, made calls to legislators and Governor Brown to ensure these bills became law!

To find out more about the Sin by Silence Bill visit http://www.SinBySilenceBill.com