STAR-BULLETIN FILE PHOTO
Nancy Asiata Chanco, above, mother of Cyrus Belt, bowed her head during a candlelight vigil for Cyrus and domestic-violence victim Janel Tupuola on Jan. 22 at the State Capitol. Hundreds came out to show their support.
Reasons for violence difficult to pin down
Advocates point out that such cases cross cultural, educational and economic bounds
STORY SUMMARY »
A silent march is tentatively scheduled on Tuesday for the latest victims of domestic violence.
Grineline James and her 7-year-old son Michael Jr. were killed by 43-year-old Michael A. James before he hung himself in the family's Mililani Mauka home.
So far this year, seven people have died in domestic-violence-related murders. Three abusers killed themselves and two other alleged killers are in custody.
Groups that work to prevent domestic violence are struggling to prevent more incidents.
"Every time something like this happens, we always hope something good will come out of it, which is why we do these marches," said Carol Lee, executive director of the Hawaii State Coalition Against Domestic Violence. "But I wish we had an answer as to why it is so bad this year."
FULL STORY »
Three women and two siblings killed in separate murder-suicide cases are bringing to light a social ill "hidden in plain sight," victims advocates say.
TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDERS
Below are statistics on the number of temporary restraining orders filed, granted and denied on Oahu from July 1, 2001, through June 30, 2008:
Source: State Judiciary
Two other women were killed in domestic-violence incidents in January and groups that work to prevent domestic violence are struggling to find ways to prevent other incidents.
"I wish we had an answer as to why it is so bad this year," said Carol Lee, executive director of the Hawaii Sate Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
Domestic violence crosses cultural, educational and socioeconomic boundaries, said Nanci Kreidman, executive director of the Domestic Violence Action Center.
That is why she is hesitant in shifting part of the blame to the recent economic downturn. A lawsuit against Michael James, who killed his wife and son, seeking a $10,870 debt to Hickam Federal Credit Union indicated he had some cash woes.
"It's tempting to point to the economy as a reason," Kreidman said. "But when we permit that as an explanation of any kind, we have to step back and remember that all of us have stress and react to stress differently."
"A common thread in many domestic-violence cases, particularly murders, is that the women were trying to leave the relationship. Janel Tupuola hid from her ex-boyfriend Alapeti Tunoa Jr. after months of abuse.
In January, Tunoa found Tupuola by waiting outside their daughter's baby-sitter's home in Kailua. Tunoa allegedly bludgeoned his ex-girlfriend to death with a shotgun.
Marissa Dumlao and her 18-year-old daughter moved out of husband Eliseo Dumlao's Halawa Heights apartment. When she returned to the apartment to retrieve clothes, her husband shot her before turning the gun on himself.
"It is what we call separation violence," Lee said. "The ultimate act of control on his part would be to kill her so she can't go away. One of the real paradoxes in domestic violence is the notion of 'I'd rather see you dead than to lose you.'"'
"'That's why it's important that victims reach out to caregivers in planning a "safe escape," Kreidman said. Case management for separation can last up to a year for some clients, she said.
"We're not saying, 'Don't leave,'"' Kreidman said. "We're saying to create a plan so you can leave safely. When they plan to leave or have left, the lethality increases tremendously."
"Three of the women killed in the recent murder-suicide cases have been of Filipino ancestry, although not all of the abusers were Filipino.
LEILA FUJIMORI / LFUJIMORI@STARBULLETIN.COM
Marchers prayed June 3 at an event protesting domestic violence after Marissa Dumlao was killed by her husband May 26. Marissa's daughter, Manilyn Mose, can be seen at far right, and at far left was Marissa's mother, Emeteria Mose.
Helena Manzano, a program manager for the Domestic Violence Action Center, also oversees the agency's Pilipina Rural Project, a federally funded program started in 2002 in response to high incidents of domestic-violence homicides with Filipino victims.
Part of the program's goals is to break through cultural norms in the Filipino community, including the "shame" that reporting domestic violence might bring.
Filipino women make up the center's largest client base, with native Hawaiians coming in second, Manzano said.
"I've been accused of shaming our people," Manzano said. "We don't want to just blame a certain ethnic population. But we also can't deny the fact that they are sort of overrepresented. It is what it is."
"Manzano said talking about the deaths make her feel uneasy because she does not want to attach negative stereotypes to the Filipino community.
"We really can't see a direct correlation between Filipinos and domestic violence," Manzano said. "It's possible that it's because we have a higher statistical base. In terms of the immigration population, we're the largest group."
"Still, "we can't keep silent anymore," Manzano said. "It is largely hidden in plain sight."
"The Honolulu Police Department will work with victims advocates to further prevent the crimes, said police Chief Boisse Correa, especially because most of Hawaii's homicides are acts of domestic violence.
"We rely on neighbors to call for help if they feel it's necessary," Correa said.
Neighbors can be better watchdogs if they let go of preconceived notions of abusive households, Kreidman said.
"When it happens in a nice neighborhood, people always express shock and dismay," Kreidman said. "I think the community consciousness holds on to the notion that this happens to certain kinds of people in certain kinds of neighborhoods."
"A more focused outreach to abusers might be necessary, Manzano said, adding that the perpetrators of the crimes can be loving people, but are unable to express their emotions without violence.
"These people need help, too," Manzano said. "Otherwise they'll just be trapped in that cycle. Even if we remove the victim in these abusive relationships, the abusers will find another."
TO GET HELP
Domestic Violence Action Center: 531-3771 or www.stoptheviolence.org
Hawaii State Coalition Against Domestic Violence: 832-9316 or www.hscadv.org
Child and Family Service: 959-8864 or www.cfs-hawaii.org
Turning Point for Families: 322-7233
2008 DOMESTIC VIOLENCE DEATHS
JULY 2: Police say Michael A. James, 43, strangled his wife, Grineline James, 39, and drowned his son, Michael James Jr., 7, at their home on 95-1042 Moohele St. before hanging himself.
May 26: Eliseo Dumlao Jr., 60, shot and killed his 45-year-old wife, Marissa Dumlao, at their 99-801 Halawa Heights Road home before turning the gun on himself, police said. Marissa Dumlao left behind an 18-year-old daughter.
April 25: Della Dikito, 38, was shot dead in the bedroom of their 91-1635 Kaukolu St. home. Her husband, 39-year-old Domingo Dikito, was found in the garage, dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The couple left behind three daughters -- ages 8, 13 and 15 -- and an 18-year-old son.
OTHER DOMESTIC VIOLENCE DEATHS
JAN. 16: Janel Tupuola, 30, was beaten to death, allegedly by her ex-boyfriend, 29-year-old Alapeti Siuanu Tunoa Jr. Police said Tunoa used the butt of a shotgun and beat Tupuola in the middle of a street in front of horrified witnesses. The couple had a 2-year-old daughter.
JAN. 9: Jenny Hartsock, 39, was stabbed multiple times allegedly by her 40-year-old husband Roy William Hartsock outside their apartment at 757 Gulick Ave. in Kalihi.