Violence in the home thrives on indifference
There are no easy answers, nor are there any quick fixes. We lost two women in January. Seven children have lost their mommy, and the grief they must feel is incomprehensible to most of us. If we act on these tragedies correctly, the loss of Janel Tupuola and Jenny Hartsock will not have been in vain. Emerson once said, "Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail."
We have the benefit of taking these recent tragedies and turning them into opportunities. A surge of awareness has taken place in our community, forcing us to review our practices and policies, bringing us one step closer to achieving a giant victory. More importantly, if we can reach the potential we are capable of, we will save lives.
We have to break through the myths, strengthen the system and support those who reach out for assistance. We must eliminate barriers that hinder escape, and listen to the voices of survivors. Victims suffer every day. Children live in terror every day. We cannot be complacent until someone dies -- by then much suffering has taken place and regret is all that remains.
There are personal steps we can all take. There are political commitments to be made. There are professional initiatives to invest in. Men, employers, faith communities have to take on unorthodox roles. The Red Cross captures this view another way -- they say, "the greatest tragedy is indifference."
It doesn't make sense to blame anyone. If we want peace on Earth, we must teach peace at home. Home is where the heart is. Home is where we expect everyone to be safe. We are ignorant if we pretend this is true for all. Some of us have been luckier than others.
There are new things we can do, and there things we currently do that can be improved. Each one of us representing an agency, a department, a program, a profession, a survivor, a victim or a friend can agree to conduct a simple "safety audit" of our environment -- when we do, a small victory may have been achieved.
Right now, all of us are perplexed, and motivated. That is good. We must stay alert. We must move from every loss to a gain. We cannot afford to lose hope because there are families out there who look to us for hope. Having worked to bring peace to our island families for more than 25 years, I can say there have been precious advancements. Please continue to help us help you.
Nanci Kreidman is executive director of the Domestic Violence Action Center in Honolulu.