Youʻre Not Alone
There is a dangerous form of criminal activity in Hawaii called Domestic Violence (DV), or else commonly known as Intimate Partner Violence (IPV), that has been directly responsible for the high rate of murders and suicide among within Hawaiian island culture. The Hawaii Domestic Violence Action Center has defined domestic violence as a pattern of behavior, which includes physical, sexual and/or emotional abuse between intimate partners (including verbal abuse and/or psychological tactics such as intimidation and /or degrading someone), including dating violence (Pobutsky, 2014, p.80). Domestic violence is the most common form of violence against women (Kaur, 2008, p.2), and in Hawaii, its prevalence has reached epidemic proportions. Since most victims of domestic violence are women, and the injuries they sustain by their male perpetrators are far much more severe than male victims of DV, I will be focusing on the female population of abused victims.
For my final project assignment, I will be initiating a blog to introduce the subject of Domestic Violence in Hawaii, as a way to expose what domestic violence is and what it can look like. I thought a blog would be an interesting way of bringing DV to the public. A blog is a social media platform to share ideas and commentary with others, so the purpose of this blog is to bring attention to the dangers of Domestic Violence in Hawaii, and what that looks like.
I will be exploring domestic violence in Hawaii through an intersectional lens, looking at the Native-Hawaiian population that have an extremely high rate of gender-based violence, as well as the disproportionately high number women from the Filipino community. While Native Hawaiians only make up a sliver of Hawaii’s total population, a substantial amount of domestic violence is coming from this population, and how cultural competence is necessary when helping our Native- Hawaiian population. Another marginalized population with an even higher rate of IPV and mortality are women of Filipino ancestry, whose disproportionate incidence of murder/suicide doubles the rest.
A community based participatory research (CBPR) study was conducted with Native Hawaiian women who were all survivors of domestic violence, most lived in predominantly Hawaiian communities. The study focuses on a Hawaiian cultural perspective in dealing with this marginalized population of DV victim, and how overcoming domestic violence from a kanaka maoli perspective is much different from the DV Western attitude. Native Hawaiian survivors seek a more culturally holistic approach to healing their past hurts from DV experiences, by rediscovering their inner spirit of self, to be pono, is to be in “harmony” with oneself, your family, and community. This important Native-Hawaiian concept of pono, emphasizes the value of IPV survivors reconnecting with their natural elements, such as going down to the ocean for saltwater baths, and connecting oneself to the universe, the stars in the night’s sky. For Native-Hawaiian survivors, “pono” within herself is what is encouraged, such as being in the lo’i or surfing – Native-Hawaiian concept of it’s about believing in herself again, or for the first time, but its all about healing from the physical and emotionally pain of the past. And as that happens, she’ll begin sense that inner peace that had been missing when she was being abused. Being pono (proper) with self and overcoming shame. Women also had a need to believe they could change their circumstances (self-efficacy), work to recover from their experiences and persevere (Oneha et al., 2010, p.6).
A close look at domestic violence within the Hawaiian community, shares the common belief that intimate personal violence is a learned behavior that originates in the home. The Native-Hawaiian community is and the more if went on the more acceptable it became. The overriding theme was that IPV “starts in the home” (Oneha et al., 2010). If we begin to unpack this concept, we’ll see that domestic violence indeed begins in the home, a belief unanimous within the Hawaiian community, then we will see how this form of violence is learned behavior, passed down from one generational household to the next, to become the violent force within the family structure that it is. As participants of the study begin to see the destructive patterns of abuse, they’ll also find ways to dismantle that damaging social construct within the family would produce different reactions from various family members – a “defend the collective” attitude had emerged within their families.
Since I think blogs are a good platform to follow an issue of interest, I wanted to challenge myself to do create one, but I’ve never built one before, so I’m definitely being challenged right now by the technical difficulties of trying to put this together. I hope that by creating this blog on Domestic Violence in Hawaii, it will become a platform for women that are experiencing this king of power and control, and to talk about these issues. It is my hope that by bringing attention to this dangerous and often deadly form of gender-based violence in Hawaii, it will help someone to understand that they are not alone and that there are people in the community that are knowledgeable and compassionate about what women go through and are available to help them change their current circumstances. I also want to include resources of various agencies here in Hawaii and their websites, as a way for women to have easy access to more domestic violence information.
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