Crisisline Molokai: Immediate Response to Sexual Assault: Launches Monday, March 12
There is a hidden crime which is present within all communities but which often remains undetected. It is stigmatized, a taboo subject which feeds on shame and vulnerability, often happening inside the family home. But strong communities can talk about sexual abuse and Molokai is confronting it head on as Maui County Area Health Education Center (AHEC) launches its new, on-island crisis response system.
Crisisline Molokai is a free and confidential phoneline for victims of sexual abuse and sexual assault. Run by and for people of Molokai, it is the single number to call when an incident has taken place and has drop-in offices in downtown Kaunakakai. Treatment services from Molokai Community Health Center can be provided and medical insurance is not necessary.
Staff members are available at all hours of the night or day to help victims get out of the situation and help them through all stages of the recovery process. They will provide support in seeking medical treatment or in reporting the crime and ensure that alternative accommodation is found.
When left unresolved, sexual assault and abuse lead to suicides and murders, depression and self-harming. All victims of abuse have a right to be safe, to seek help and to be believed. Crisisline will provide victims with information, choices and much-needed emotional support.
Sexual abuse is being forced or persuaded into sexual acts or situations by others. It includes being encouraged to look at pornography, being harassed by sexual suggestions or comments and being touched sexually or forced to have sex.
It is impossible to count the number of women and children who are being abused, especially within a close-knit community. Abusers often tell their victims that they will not be believed and many victims endure the treatment for a long time before seeking support. Some never tell anyone about the abuse, feeling unable to talk about or report it.
Crisisline combats these issues, providing help to the victims at their own pace. While they may feel terrified at the thought of speaking up, it is easier to confide in an unseen person – especially one who knows Molokai and Molokai issues. They can phone anonymously and will not be forced to name attackers and abusers or take action which they are not yet comfortable with.
Abuse feeds on issues which are universal as well as the issues peculiar to Molokai. Victims may be emotionally or economically dependant on their abusive partner. They may have strong beliefs about keeping their relationship or family together and fear being stigmatized. As well as a fear of disbelief, victims often must deal with threats from their abuser of violence against them or their loved ones if they tell.
If you are a victim of abuse, Crisisline would like you to remember that you are not alone, you are not to blame and you do not deserve to be abused. Crisisline operators will provide you with emergency support and connect you with agencies that provide safety planning and assist with restraining orders and temporary custody orders. Crisisline staff are from Molokai and can help victims navigate the medical and legal systems correctly.
Rosie Davis, Director of AHEC, would like to thank Molokai Inter-Agency Task Force, the Children’s Justice Center, Child and Family Services, and William Akutagawa and Judy Mikami of Na Pu`uwai, without whom the new helpline would not have been possible.
She urges all victims to break the cycle of abuse and hopes that the helpline will stop victims from falling through cracks in the system.