003 - Life Without Parole, Warren Doody

In this episode, we talk with Warren Doody, the playwright of “Life Without Parole,” a stage play about battered women who are in prison for murdering their abusers. We ask ourselves the question, “Are their crimes justified?”

Here are the facts.

  • In 70-80% of intimate partner homicides, no matter which partner was killed, the man physically abused the woman before the murder. (Source: Campbell, et al. (2003). “Assessing Risk Factors for Intimate Partner Homicide.” Intimate Partner Homicide, NIJ Journal, 250, 14-19. Washington, D.C.: National Institute of Justice, U.S. Department of Justice.)

  • Domestic violence is one of the most chronically underreported crimes. (Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, “Criminal Victimization,” 2003.)

  • Intimate partner assault is not reported to police most often for the following reasons: “police couldn’t do anything”, “police didn’t believe me”, “wanted to protect attacker, relationship or children” and “didn’t want police or court involvement.” (Source: National Institute of Justice and the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, “Extent, Nature and Consequences of Intimate Partner Violence: Findings from the National Violence Against Women Survey,” 2000.)

  • Approximately one-half of the restraining orders obtained by women against intimate partners who physically assaulted them were violated. (Source: National Institute of Justice and the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, “Extent, Nature and Consequences of Intimate Partner Violence: Findings from the National Violence Against Women Survey,” 2000.)

  • Every 9 seconds in the US, a woman is assaulted or beaten. Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics, “Violence Against Women: Estimates from the redesigned survey,” 1995.)

  • Currently there are 2,000 battered women in America who are serving prison time for defending their lives against their batterers. (Source: Stacey Kabat, Remarks from presentation at Harvard School of Public Health, Center for Health Communication, June 1991.)

  • The average prison sentence of men who kill their women partners is 2 to 6 years. Women who kill their male partners are sentenced on average to 15 years, despite the fact that most women who kill do so in self defense (Source: National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 1989).

Some links to learn more...

“Life Without Parole” by Warren Doody

Warren Doody

Convicted Women Against Abuse (CWAA)

Women Behind Bars: CWAA

Brenda Clubine - Brenda is a former inmate who was incarcerated for defending herself against her abusive partner. 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.

Convicted Survivors: The Imprisonment of Battered Women who Kill by Elizabeth Dermody Leonard

Music by Lee Rosevere