Domestic Violence Hits Home

While domestic violence unfortunately happens all year round, the month of October represents an opportunity to take action against this social problem.

This month, Hale Ho`omalu – the Molokai domestic violence shelter – has worked hard to spread awareness about domestic violence and its devastating effects on families throughout the island.

“Don’t be afraid to tell on your neighbor, brother or father,” said Lynda Dudoit, who works for the shelter. “People are so afraid to tell on other people because they don’t want to see their family get into trouble, but they’re already in trouble.”

Along with educating the community and waving signs, the shelter held a candlelight vigil two weeks ago in remembrance of those who have died because of domestic violence.

This past year, from October 2009 to 2010, there have been eight deaths statewide related to household abuse.

“That number is really high,” Dudoit said.

In the last decade, two tragedies have struck Molokai as a result of domestic violence: Rebecca Sanchez-Kekoa was killed by her husband in 2000, and Olaka Mollena was killed by the father of her children in 2005.

“Domestic violence is a major issue across the country, and it seems to be getting worse in many places,” said Karen Holt, executive director of Hale Ho`omalu. “In a small community like Molokai, it affects everyone.” 

But advocates say there are things you can do and services available to help both victims and batterers.

For battered women and their children, Hale Ho`omalu is open 24/7 and provides free lodging, clothing and meals for up to 90 days. Not only is it a safe haven, the shelter provides child and family services, parenting skills workshops and accessibility to a psychologist.

They also provide transportation to and from appointments, as well as MEO bus services.

“More and more women are using the shelter,” Dudoit added. “We have seen an increase.”

For those who wish to stop hurting their loved ones, anger management classes are available and meet on Tuesdays at 6 p.m. at the clubhouse on Manako Lane.

Dudoit encourages all victims of domestic violence to speak out and take action.

“We want to break the violence – it needs to end.”

To wrap up Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Hale Ho`omalu will be holding a screening of “Telling Amy’s Story,” a documentary on domestic violence, on Oct. 28 at the Molokai Youth Center.

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