Kit Gruelle is a survivor of domestic violence, who has worked as an advocate for battered women and their children for almost 30 years. As a renowned community educator, she has trained scores of advocates, criminal justice professionals (law enforcement, prosecutors, magistrates and judges), health care providers, clergy, legislators, educators and other allied professionals, and has guest lectured at colleges, universities, medical and law schools, schools of social work and public heath, and departments of sociology, women’s studies, and psychology on violence against women and children.
In 1996, while she was working at Family Violence and Rape Crisis Services in Pittsboro, NC, she became the director of the BRIDGES Program, one of the first Coordinated Community Response (CCR) programs in North Carolina. In 2012, she graduated from Appalachian State University in Boone, Noth Carolina with a BS in Sociology (concentration in gender-based violence). For the last eighteen years, she has been a Subject Matter Expert and trainer for California POST (Peace Officers Standards and Training), helping develop training films and curricula for first responders, public safety dispatchers, and hostage/crisis negotiators. She has served as an expert witness for battered women in both state and federal court. She is the subject of Private Violence, an intimate and compelling documentary on domestic violence which premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival and premiered on HBO on October 20, 2014. Private Violence illuminates the complexities battered women face as they attempt to free themselves and their children from abusive partners (www.privateviolence.com). The film and accompanying outreach program, which Ms. Gruelle is coordinating, will provide a forum for bringing communities together to address and end this hidden epidemic. An interview with Gruelle and director Cynthia Hill can be seen at Democracynow.org Ms. Gruelle lives in the North Carolina mountains with her chocolate Labrador, Luna.
“Being safe in your own home is fundamental to your wellbeing. Most of us take it for granted, but for battered women and abused children the words “home” and “safety” are not two words that are used together. We are a country based on the premise of freedom. Most of us wake up each morning free to make phone calls to whomever, visit friends and family at our own discretion and to make decisions based on what we think is best. Battered women don’t live in a free world. They cannot pick up the phone and call a friend or make independent decisions without fearing a beating (physically or emotionally). Their lives are stolen away from them.”