The Student News Site of Appalachian State University

The Appalachian

The Student News Site of Appalachian State University

The Appalachian

The Student News Site of Appalachian State University

The Appalachian

Newsletter Signup

Get our news delivered straight to your inbox every week.

* indicates required

Documentary shown about domestic violence focuses on ASU student

Photo+by+Halle+Keighton++%7C++The+Appalachian
Photo by Halle Keighton | The Appalachian

A documentary focusing on the stories of local domestic violence survivors was shown in the  the Holmes Convocation Center, with a panel discussion following at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.

The documentary, titled “Private Violence,” featured Ashe County residents Kit Gruelle, an experienced advocate for violence victims and Deanna Walters,

Kit Gruelle at the showing of Private Violence at Holmes Convocation Center Wednesday night.
Kit Gruelle at the showing of “Private Violence” at Holmes Convocation Center Wednesday night. Photo by Halle Keighton  |  The Appalachian

whose experience with severe domestic violence served as the focus for the film. Both women were members of the panel on domestic violence that followed the documentary.

Walters, whose case against her now ex-husband was the focus of “Private Violence,” has returned to school at Appalachian State University and is currently a senior social work major.

Walters said there is a stigma that often comes with being a domestic violence victim through her personal experience.

“My family asked me why I didn’t leave,” she said. “I felt like they were blaming me.”

All of the panelists agreed that the “why didn’t they leave?” approach to a domestic violence situation is misinformed, citing the commonality of post-separation escalation of hostility and even deadly violence aimed towards victims by estranged abusers.

Gruelle added that this form of victim-blaming is all too common even today and the system can often be as oppressive as the abuser.

“I think one of the things we’ve done for decades is stereotype both victims and suspects,” Gruelle said. “Until we start to take these crimes seriously, this is going to keep happening.”

Gruelle, who has a degree in sociology from Appalachian, said advocates for victims of domestic violence offer some of the most important support.

Walters’ advocate, Stacy Cox, was also a member of the panel.

“If it hadn’t been for Stacy’s advocacy, none of this would’ve ever happened,” Gruelle said. “If it hadn’t been for the determination of Stacy, I firmly believe Deanna wouldn’t be with us today.”

Cox currently serves as a case manager and court advocate for A Safe Home for Everyone and the Ashe County Partnership for Children, where Walters also volunteers.

Cox said problems arise in prosecuting abusers because there has to be a lot of evidence to prove a domestic violence case on the federal level.

Liz Mason, Community Services Legal Coordinator for Watauga and Avery county OASIS, a crisis center for victims of domestic and sexual violence, finished the discussion by advising that students be critical thinkers about what goes on in their communities and to be aware of the availability of resources like OASIS.

“The more of these domestic crimes that are prosecuted, the more precedent there is for change,” Mason said.

Story: Haley Glenn, Intern News Reporter

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Appalachian
$1271
$5000
Contributed
Our Goal

We hope you appreciate this article! Before you move on, our student staff wanted to ask if you would consider supporting The Appalachian's award-winning journalism. We are celebrating our 90th anniversary of The Appalachian in 2024!

We receive funding from the university, which helps us to compensate our students for the work they do for The Appalachian. However, the bulk of our operational expenses — from printing and website hosting to training and entering our work into competitions — is dependent upon advertising revenue and donations. We cannot exist without the financial and educational support of our fellow departments on campus, our local and regional businesses, and donations of money and time from alumni, parents, subscribers and friends.

Our journalism is produced to serve the public interest, both on campus and within the community. From anywhere in the world, readers can access our paywall-free journalism, through our website, through our email newsletter, and through our social media channels. Our supporters help to keep us editorially independent, user-friendly, and accessible to everyone.

If you can, please consider supporting us with a financial gift from $10. We appreciate your consideration and support of student journalism at Appalachian State University. If you prefer to make a tax-deductible donation, or if you would prefer to make a recurring monthly gift, please give to The Appalachian Student News Fund through the university here: https://securelb.imodules.com/s/1727/cg20/form.aspx?sid=1727&gid=2&pgid=392&cid=1011&dids=418.15&bledit=1&sort=1.

Donate to The Appalachian
$1271
$5000
Contributed
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All The Appalachian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *