According to the Domestic Violence Unit in the county Prosecuting Attorney's Office, "Domestic violence is a serious problem in our community."
Statistics provided by the "Hawai?i Says NO MORE" campaign are shocking: one in seven women in Hawaii have experienced forcible rape in their lifetime, 575 domestic violence survivors in Hawaii seek support from local programs every day in our state, and 50,000 women between the ages of 18 and 64 are victims of domestic violence each year in Hawaii.
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence describes it as willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault and/or other abusive behavior as part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another. It includes physical violence, sexual violence, threats and emotional abuse.
Here on Maui, Women Helping Women is the island's lead agency in assisting and supporting victims of domestic violence.
Women Helping Women last week announced good news for the West Maui community: its Lahaina office is now open full-time.
Outreach services are available to victims of domestic violence Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Anyone seeking advocacy or information can call the West Maui office directly at 661-7111.
WHW explained, "Originally opened in 2006 thanks to the tenacious members of the West Maui Domestic Violence Task Force, the West Maui location of Women Helping Women has since then maintained sporadic hours of operation due to a lack of consistent staffing and funding. Yet, the need for services for victims of domestic violence has never diminished, as domestic abuse continues to be a pervasive problem in Maui.
"Now, with satellite centers operating full-time in Lahaina, Hana and Lanai, in addition to the main office in Wailuku, Women Helping Women hopes more victims of domestic violence will seek the help they need. Satellite offices are able to fax petitions for TROs, which means victims do not have to drive to the courthouse in Wailuku to file them."
For the West Side and everywhere, Women Helping Women continues to operate a 24-hour crisis hotline at 579-9581.
If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship and needs help, or you would like to speak with someone about domestic violence, Women Helping Women offers confidential resources 24 hours a day. Reach out and get help.