As part of her ongoing battle against domestic violence, Appalachian State University alumna Kit Gruelle is featured in the HBO documentary “Private Violence” as an advocate and community activist fighting for rights and resources for women and children who experience violence at home.
She began producing the documentary 12 years ago “to call attention to the battered women’s movement and celebrate the strength of battered women,” said Gruelle, who worked as a professional advocate for battered women in North Carolina for 25 years after her own experience in an abusive relationship. “I also wanted to challenge the stereotypes still attached to domestic violence.”
Gruelle graduated from Appalachian in 2012 with the Sociology (BS) - Individually Designed degree, with a focus on violence against women.
“The sociology professors were incredibly supportive of me,” she said. “They valued my life experience in very respectful ways.”
Gruelle has lectured throughout the United States as a community educator to law enforcement, clergy and healthcare professionals. She also has helped write training curricula for professionals who work with domestic violence cases.
Attempting college in her mid-50s while still active in the battered women movement required Gruelle to tap into unrealized strengths of her own, she told Appalachian Today magazine in 2011. “I came here timid and afraid, but I came to realize that I had a level of understanding about things outside of the textbook. The professors have been amazing because they really want someone accurately reflecting what’s happening on the streets…I just love Appalachian.”