Don’t be silent about evidence of domestic violence
THE double murder and suicide
The double murder and suicide in a Mililani Mauka family brings Hawaii's domestic-violence fatalities this year to 10.
in a Mililani Mauka home this week is made more tragic by the reality that such an incident is becoming commonplace -- it was Hawaii's third murder-suicide in little more than two months. It brings the state's domestic-violence deaths to 10 for the year, compared to six all of last year.
Organizations dedicated to combatting domestic violence need to increase their efforts to help potential victims before it is too late. Suzanne Green, a domestic violence educator for the State Coalition Against Domestic Violence, has said it is a "secret and silencing crime. The longer we keep it silent, the more women get hurt and the more we continue to blame them."
Neighbors were stunned to learn that Michael A. James, 43, had strangled his 39-year-old wife, Grineline, drowned his 7-year-old son, Michael A. James Jr., and hanged himself at the family's home. They described James as friendly and the family as cheerful. James owed at least $10,870 to his credit union, which filed a lawsuit against him about two weeks before the incident to collect the debt.
The deaths occurred about a month after 60-year-old Eliseo Dumlao Jr. shot dead his 45-year-old wife, Marissa, before killing himself in Halawa Heights. A month earlier, Domingo Dikito, 39, died from a self-inflicted gunshot after shooting dead his 38-year-old wife, Della, at their Ewa Beach home.
In January, 23-month-old Cyrus Belt was thrown to his death from an H-1 overpass by a neighbor who had been left in charge of the toddler's supervision, 29-year-old Janel Tupuola's ex-boyfriend is alleged to have beaten her to death with the butt of a shotgun in a Kailua street, and 39-year-old Jenny Hartsock's husband is accused of having fatally stabbed her outside their Kalihi apartment.
Determining a common element in domestic-violence homicides is impossible, often belying stereotypes of alcoholism, drug addiction or financial problems. The cause generally has more to do with power and control than anger or stress, although the latter appears to have played a role in the James deaths.
About 30 percent of Hawaii's homicides in a recent 10-year period resulted from domestic violence, twice the national rate, according to a state attorney general's report several years ago. Hololulu police have estimated that they spend from one-third to half their work time responding to "domestic" calls. Too often, those calls are not made.