Filmmaker discusses dangers of domestic violence

Posted at 6:08 PM, Sep 14, 2014
and last updated 2014-09-14 20:08:57-04

SALT LAKE CITY – A filmmaker with expertise when it comes to domestic violence is in Utah promoting a new film that hopes to raise awareness regarding the issue.

Kit Gruelle is the woman behind “Private Violence”, which was screened at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year and will soon air on cable TV.

“It seems to me to be the most basic human right that when you go home at night and you close the door, that you should be safe in your own home,” she said. “For one out of every four women, their own home is the most dangerous place for them to be.”

As a victims advocate, Gruelle said she is familiar with scenarios women face, like that of Ray Rice and his then-fiance. Public outrage has erupted after video was released of Ray Rice assaulting Janay Rice, who married Ray Rice after the incident.

“It shouldn't have taken having to see him knocking her out cold for us to realize just how bad domestic violence is,” Gruelle said.

Gruelle said lessons can be learned from such high-profile cases.

“It's about his need to control and dominate her, his sense of entitlement,” she said. “He treats her like property not like a person.”

That mentality is common among abusers, Gruelle said.

“There's just so many misconceptions about domestic violence, and we've made a habit in this country of blaming women for men's choice to be violent with them,” she said. “As long as we continue to do that, then women are going to continue to stay in the shadows.”

Sometimes a victim doesn’t leave an abuser, and Gruelle said that is often because the victims are focused on avoiding moments of violence.

“What they're focused on, is keeping the abuser pacified so that there's not an incident of some kind,” she said.

In her documentary, Gruelle claims 75 percent of domestic violence murders occur during initial separations, and she said that’s why ending a violent relationship works best when undertaken as a process rather than in a single event. For more information about "Private Violence" visit the documentary's website.