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Last month, I mentioned Jane Evelyn Atwood’s TV interview and to Jane’s appeal in support of Gaile Owens‘. A campaign operated to have Gaile’s death sentence commuted to life imprisonment. Gaile will be eligible for parole in late 2011.

Jane contacted me this morning with this piece of good news. “Please be informed that Gaile Owen’s sentence has been commuted by the Governor of the State of Tennessee to a life sentence.  She will no longer be executed on September 28. Thank you for your support, thank you for helping save Gaile Owen’s life.”

Why stop here? Please inform yourself and others about domestic violence and the violence it can engender.

Family Violence Prevention Fund

National Domestic Violence Hotline

In October of last year, when I posted on Jane Evelyn Atwood‘s documentary work from women’s prisons across the globe, the pictures and the message were well received.

Better still, is to listen to Atwood discuss the her photography and its lessons for us all. Her common observation across all women’s prisons is women are very often incarcerated because of the men in their life. They are abused, pimped into prostitution, inducted into crime, manipulated emotionally, and backed into corners – from which retaliatory violence is their only remaining option.

Persevere through the irritating, news-studio interview formula and you’ll be rewarded with Atwood’s insight.

Atwood is currently campaigning on behalf of Gaile Owens, the only woman on death row in Tennessee. During the original trial Owens did not testify to the full degree of the domestic abuse she suffered; she wanted to protect her children from the truth. The result was the absense of mitigating circumstances during consideration of the verdict.

Owens’ execution date has been set for September 18th, 2010. A movement is underway to see her death sentence commuted to life without parole. Visit for all the information on the case and the opportunity to sign a petition.

Atwood is emotionally submerged in her work, close to her subjects. Any distinction between photographer and subject maybe unwanted; “Gaile is a battered woman on death row. And she needs our support.” This statement, as with Atwood’s work,  goes to the heart of the most urgent advocacy – that which is motivated by empathy and kinship.

Watch Atwood’s France24 TV interview.


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