30 Voices


Hi, I hope this helps anyone who is in need of exiting an unhealthy and or abusive relationship. When I was 18, I entered an abusive and codependent relationship that lasted a little over 10 years. It was mentally and physically exhausting. After 10 years of being together I became pregnant and we had our child. I felt even more trapped and obligated to give our relationship another chance (after countless chances) for at least a year. The year flew by and the same patterns continued and I had to make a choice. I decided it was time to do what was best for myself and my child. I did not want our child growing up thinking that this was normal behavior and that it was okay to treat someone this way. Soon after separating my feelings teetered back and forth between worry and relief. A huge weight was lifted off my shoulders and the more time that past the more confident in my choice I became. When my ex suddenly out of the blue decided to take me to court to fight for custody my feelings of worry came back. I reached out to DVAC where I was able to connect with others who went through similar situations and it helped make the process go by a little easier because I felt supported. Fast forward to a year later… court is done. I have full custody and I continue to work on my healing journey. There is hope for a healthier future but you have to make a choice. Don’t be scared but do recognize that it might get worse before it gets better, but believe me it’s worth it in the long run. Remember it’s okay to ask for help and organizations like DVAC are here for you when you are ready. 


I am a 27-year-old Marshallese female. I met my DVAC Advocate in October of 2019. At the time, I was living at the IHS shelter and had just recently filed a TRO against my ex-boyfriend and the father of my 3-year-old baby girl. I also have two older boys ages 4 & 6.  I had no one to get assistance from and it was even harder with English not being my first language. I had never been in trouble with the police all my life growing up and so I was completely lost.

My boyfriend, now ex, was very controlling. We got into fights frequently because of his drinking and substance abuse. He never helped with the children and refused to listen to anyone– not even his own family. I always felt that I was the breadwinner for the family.

Residing in the shelter is not easy. There are many rules to comply with or else you risk being evicted. We already had our fair share of issues between us as a couple but the situation was made worse when we were accused of child negligence and all the children were taken from us by the state –and this was just the beginning.

My life changed drastically. The next two and a half years were spent in parenting-skill classes, DV education classes, counseling and therapy sessions, group sessions, and Ohana meetings. I met various kinds of people from various social agencies. There were social workers and attorneys, the childrens’ attorneys, judges and even more attorneys and social workers. It was endless.

I felt I had no time to grieve and miss my children because I had to focus my energy on complying with the most difficult system I have ever come across if I ever wanted them back. Through it all, my DVAC Advocate was very helpful. She tried to attend all of my meetings and visits with me. She even interpreted and advocated for me. We created a safety plan together and she consistently checked that we were maintaining it. At that time, although the TRO was in effect there were incidents of violation from the other party and I don’t know what I would have done without the safety planning and risk assessments. My Advocate became my confidant. It was very comforting to have someone that spoke my language and understood my culture, especially someone who is also a mother and could empathize with the extent of heartbreak that I was experiencing. She never judged me and only ever listened patiently and provided support.

While I was going through all the turmoil, the world didn’t stop for me. I still had a life to live and above all, the goal of getting my children back to me. Part of proof of compliance was to be able to pay all my bills and find a stable home. I quickly had to learn my way around how agencies worked and the courts to be able to comply with the courts’ demands. But most importantly, I had to be safe. My family needed to be safe.  DVAC didn’t just provide moral support, I was also provided assistance with rent payments to keep my apartment once I found one, clothes and diapers for my baby, and was provided with other basic needs. My Advocate kept encouraging me and telling me things that I would have never credited myself for. I will be eternally grateful.

It is with a fulfilled heart that I am happy to report: despite the hardships, frustrations and difficulties I encountered, it was with my DV Advocate’s assistance that in January of this year my case with the CPS was closed and all my children are now back with me. I have become stronger and now believe in myself. I am very thankful for all that stood with me and guided me throughout my journey. I am very glad that I got the service I received and will always be grateful to share this story everywhere I go. Today I am still with DVAC as they continue to support me and my children. I am living very independently and want nothing more than to spend the rest of my life advocating for others that are in the same situation as me. 


I am a mother of 5 and a survivor of Domestic Violence. When I finally realized I was tired of being a punching bag, I was tired of having my kids succumbed to violence and tired of living in fear. I reached out to women helping women and they helped myself and my 5 kids with flights to freedom. A one time offer for your family to start a new life, somewhere you will be able to still receive support and the biggest thing is where you will feel safe and gain your dignity back.

Once my kids and I got to our safe zone, I was handed a pamphlet with the multiple resources on the island that I am able to reach out to. DVAC, was one of the major resources that helped me get my life back on track. From providing my family with the funds to receive the everyday essentials ( hygiene, underwear, bras, clothes & shoes for my kids and I) to legal help, such as helping me understand legal situations, paperwork, helping me pay off fines and get my license back.

On the track of regaining my life back, I secured employment and was ready to transition from the safety of the shelter to a transitions home, they helped me with my first months rent and my deposit. Till this day they assist me with funds to keep my family active in a gym and when I need food they send my flyers of food drives and certain events and educational classes. 

If I was never referred to DVAC,  I would be struggling to make my way through the transitions in my life.

Best of Luck and God Bless you all ~


I first found out about DVAC through a friend… I was here on this island going through a violent divorce. Alone.  Scared. Trying to hold it together for a new career that I was on the fast track to get… I had called the Domestic Violence Hotline twice. I was threatened to never put a TRO on him because IF I was to report the things he was doing to me? He would put a TRO on me (for no reason) and I would never get my job with the career path I had chosen… Fast forward… 

I had lost it all. The hope of the career I had always wanted. I was financially cut off. From all sources. I was not receiving any child support to speak of for my 4 children. I was trying to navigate the Protection Order I was granted (that he was fighting), an attorney that was quitting on me because I couldn’t pay, COVID, and then my mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer. 

I wish that I could say that DVAC has helped me find all the answers. I wish that I could say they were able to come in and save me from it all. But THAT is not real. What is REAL? Is that my advocates were there. Every time I asked. They were there for every emotional breakdown. They heard me when no one else could validate the way I was feeling. They gave me hope when I felt hopeless. They offered to talk to my family to bring understanding to what I was going through when I felt they didn’t understand. They offered a free consultation that resulted in me being able to get my children home to my mother so we could spend some much needed time with her while she was on palliative care before we had to return to the island. They offered group support where other women “get it”. They all understand… because all of our DV stories are not all THAT different. They offered countless resources for financial support when I needed rental assistance and was trying to find help in paying some other bills when I had to return to work but only part time. They offered help with informing my employer about my trauma from my abuse where I struggled to accurately describe what was “going on with me”.  They offered school supplies when I couldn’t afford them and their father couldn’t be bothered to help.

I am beyond blessed and so very thankful to be a client of DVAC. It is my hope that because of the amazing work that they do, that someday, after I am done dealing with all of my  crisis from my divorce, I hope to be able to join the team and help others the way they have helped me. Thank-you DVAC! You folks are truly Angels on Earth!


Like many victims, I encountered DVAC during a time of crisis. After fleeing my home state after instances of physical, mental, and emotional abuse, I was left without my own home, little money, unemployed, just the clothes I had on my back, and a child I needed to take care of. I was in a state of survival mode, with no time to process my decision to leave, grieve my situation, or feel any emotions. Though, given the injuries that marred my face I’m certain that with the pitied looks I received, people knew what I was doing.

It wasn’t until months later when I was looking for an attorney for my TRO that I’d heard about DVAC. Once I was assigned one, she was very compassionate and a good listener. After that, I was full of emotional turmoil and facing unemployment and wondered if I could tackle both simultaneously. The state helped in that respect by providing us our necessities and providing me the option to attend victim advocacy classes in place of work and helped provide for my individual therapy. Near the end of that journey, through a bout of continuous court cases and hearings is when I was assigned a DVAC advocate.

She provided many opportunities to help through chances at rental assistance, providing clothing for my child and I, gifts during the holidays, providing support by attending my court hearings with me, help with transportation, etc. It is through her help, paired with individual therapy and religion that I can now say she that I am fully independent: with our own home, a full time career in my specialty, and much more. But I think the most valuable thing that my advocate provided me with and continues to are the mental tools I need to feel more confident and not cower down to the court system and my abuser. That is something I will carry with me for years, for the emotional burden of a victim’s experience extends far beyond the time that your scars heal. And with this I’ve also gained a confidant and friend.


𝗛𝗲𝗹𝗹𝗼! 𝗜  𝗰𝗮𝗺𝗲 𝗳𝗿𝗼𝗺 𝗮𝗻 𝗮𝗯𝘂𝘀𝘀𝗶𝘃𝗲 𝗿𝗲𝗹𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝘀𝗵𝗶𝗽. 𝗜 𝘄𝗮𝘀 𝘃𝗲𝗿𝘆 h𝗼𝗽𝗲𝗹𝗲𝘀𝘀, 𝗱𝗲𝗽𝗿𝗲𝘀𝘀𝗲𝗱 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗱𝗿𝗮𝗶𝗻𝗲𝗱 𝗮𝘁 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝘁𝗶𝗺𝗲. 𝗗𝗼𝗻’𝘁 𝗸𝗻𝗼𝘄 𝘄𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝘁𝗼 𝗱𝗼 s𝗶𝗻𝗰𝗲 I 𝘄𝗮𝘀 𝗻𝗲𝘄 𝗵𝗲𝗿𝗲 𝗶𝗻 𝗛𝗮𝘄𝗮𝗶𝗶 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝗺𝘆 2 𝗯𝗼𝘆𝘀 𝗱𝘂𝗿𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗛𝘂𝗿𝗿𝗶𝗰𝗮𝗻𝗲 L𝗮𝗻𝗲. W𝗲 𝗹𝗲𝗳𝘁 𝗺𝘆 𝗲𝘅 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗰𝗮𝗹led 911 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗽𝗼𝗹𝗶𝗰𝗲𝗺𝗮𝗻 𝗰𝗮𝗺𝗲 𝗽𝗶𝗰𝗸𝗲𝗱 𝘂𝘀 𝘂𝗽 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝘀𝗲𝗻𝗱 𝘂𝘀 𝘁𝗼 t𝗵𝗲 t𝗲𝗺𝗽𝗼𝗿𝗮𝗿𝘆 𝘀𝗵𝗲𝗹𝘁𝗲𝗿 𝗶𝗻𝗪𝗮𝗶𝗽𝗮𝗵𝘂 𝗛𝗶𝗴𝗵 𝗦𝗰𝗵𝗼𝗼𝗹 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝘀𝗶𝗻𝗰𝗲 𝘄𝗲 𝗯𝗿𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗹u𝗴𝗴𝘂𝗴𝗲 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝘂𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗲 s𝗵𝗲𝗹𝘁𝗲𝗿 𝘀𝘁𝗮𝗳𝗳 𝗶𝗻𝘁𝗲𝗿𝘃𝗶𝗲𝘄𝗲𝗱 𝗺𝗲 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗮𝘀𝗸𝗲𝗱 𝗺𝗲𝘄𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗵𝗮𝗽𝗽𝗲𝗻𝗲𝗱 𝗮𝗻𝗱 I 𝘁𝗼𝗹𝗱 𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝘄𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝘄𝗲𝗿𝗲 𝗴𝗼𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘁𝗵𝗿𝗼𝘂𝗴𝗵, 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗻 𝘀𝗵𝗲 𝗴𝗮𝘃𝗲 𝗺𝗲 t𝗵𝗲 𝘀𝗵𝗲𝗹𝘁𝗲𝗿 𝗽𝗵𝗼𝗻𝗲 𝗻𝘂𝗺𝗯𝗲𝗿 𝗶𝗻 𝗞𝗮𝗽𝗮𝗵𝘂𝗹𝘂 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝘀𝗶𝗻𝗰𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝘀𝗵𝗲𝗹𝘁𝗲𝗿 𝗶𝘀 𝗼𝗻𝗹𝘆  𝘁𝗲𝗺𝗽𝗼𝗿𝗮𝗿𝘆 𝗯𝗲𝗰𝗮𝘂𝘀𝗲 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗲 H𝘂𝗿𝗿𝗶𝗰𝗮𝗻𝗲 La𝗻𝗲٫𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗻 𝘄𝗲 𝗳𝗶𝗻𝗮𝗹𝗹𝘆 𝗰𝗮𝗹𝗹𝗲𝗱𝘁 𝗵𝗲 𝘀𝗵𝗲𝗹𝘁𝗲𝗿 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗺𝗼𝘃𝗲𝗱 𝗶𝗻. A𝘁 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗺𝗼𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁 I’𝗺 𝘁𝗼𝘁𝗮𝗹𝗹𝘆 𝗹𝗼𝘀𝘁 𝗮𝗻𝗱 I 𝗱𝗼𝗻’𝘁 𝗸𝗻𝗼𝘄 𝘄𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝘁𝗼 𝗱𝗼 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘀𝗵𝗲𝗹𝘁𝗲𝗿 𝘀𝘁𝗮𝗳𝗳 𝘁𝗼𝗹𝗱 𝗺𝗲 𝘄𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝘁𝗼 𝗱𝗼 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗴𝗮𝘃𝗲  𝗺𝗲 𝘀𝗼 𝗺𝘂𝗰𝗵 𝗻𝘂𝗺𝗯𝗲𝗿s 𝘁𝗼 𝗰𝗼𝗻𝘁𝗮𝗰𝘁 𝘁𝗼 𝗯𝘂𝘁 I’𝗺 𝗵𝗮𝘃𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗵𝗮𝗿𝗱 𝘁𝗶𝗺𝗲 𝘁𝗼 𝘂𝗻𝗱𝗲𝗿𝘀𝘁𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗯𝗲𝗰𝗮𝘂𝘀𝗲 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗹𝗮𝗻𝗴𝘂𝗮𝗴𝗲 𝗯𝗮𝗿𝗿𝗶𝗲𝗿. I 𝗰𝗼𝘂𝗹𝗱𝗻’𝘁 𝘀𝗽𝗲𝗮𝗸 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝘂𝗻𝗱𝗲𝗿𝘀𝘁𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗲𝗻𝗴𝗹𝗶𝘀𝗵 𝘄𝗲𝗹𝗹٫𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗻 o𝗻𝗲 𝗱𝗮𝘆 m𝗼𝗿𝗻𝗶𝗻𝗴 I 𝘀𝗽𝗼𝗸𝗲 𝘁𝗼 𝗠𝘀.𝗥𝗮𝘆𝗲𝗹𝗹𝗮 𝗠𝗼𝗷𝗶𝗰𝗮 𝗳𝗿𝗼𝗺 𝗗𝗩𝗔𝗖. 𝗦𝗵𝗲 𝘄𝗮𝘀 𝘃𝗲𝗿𝘆 𝗻𝗶𝗰𝗲 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗜 𝘁𝗿𝘆 𝗺𝘆 𝗯𝗲𝘀𝘁 𝘁𝗼 𝘀𝗽𝗲𝗮𝗸 𝗲𝗻𝗴𝗹𝗶𝘀𝗵 𝘁𝗼 𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗻 𝗶𝗳𝘀 𝗵𝗲’𝘀 𝗵𝗮𝘃𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗵𝗮𝗿𝗱 𝘁𝗶𝗺𝗲 𝘁𝗼 𝘂𝗻𝗱𝗲𝗿𝘀𝘁𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝘄𝗵𝗮𝘁 I 𝘀𝗮𝘆 𝗯𝘂𝘁 𝘀𝗵𝗲 𝗸𝗻𝗲𝘄 𝗵𝗼𝘄 𝗵𝗮𝗽𝗽𝘆 I 𝗮𝗺 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 I t𝗮𝗹𝗸𝗲𝗱 𝘁𝗼 𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝗮𝗻𝗱 s𝗵𝗲 𝗶𝗻𝘁𝗿𝗼𝗱𝘂𝗰𝗲𝗱 𝗺𝗲 𝘁𝗼 𝗺𝘆 𝗮𝗱𝘃𝗼𝗰𝗮𝘁𝗲 𝗩𝗶𝗹𝗺𝗮. 𝗜 𝘄𝗮𝘀 𝘀𝗼 h𝗮𝗽𝗽𝘆 t𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝘀𝗵𝗲 𝗰𝗮𝗻 𝘀𝗽𝗲𝗮𝗸 T𝗮𝗴𝗮𝗹𝗼𝗴 𝘀𝗼 𝘄𝗲 𝗰𝗮𝗻 𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗺𝘂𝗻𝗶𝗰𝗮𝘁𝗲 𝗯𝗲𝘁𝘁𝗲𝗿. 𝗗𝗩𝗔𝗖 𝘀𝘁𝗮𝗳𝗳 𝗶𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗕𝗲𝘀𝘁𝗲𝘀𝘁 𝗣𝗲𝗼𝗽𝗹𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗜 𝗸𝗻𝗼𝘄 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝘆 𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝗮 𝗴𝗼𝗼𝗱 𝗵𝗲𝗮𝗿𝘁𝗲𝗱 p𝗲𝗼𝗽𝗹𝗲. E𝘀𝗽𝗲𝗰𝗶𝗮𝗹𝗹𝘆 t𝗵𝗲 p𝗲𝗼𝗽𝗹𝗲 t𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗱𝗲𝗮𝗹𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗶𝗻 𝗮𝗻 𝗮𝗯𝗯𝘂𝘀𝗶𝘃𝗲 𝗿𝗲𝗹𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝘀𝗵𝗶p, 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝘆 𝘀𝗽𝗲𝗻𝗱 𝘀𝗼 𝗺𝘂𝗰𝗵 𝘁𝗶𝗺𝗲 𝘁𝗼 𝗵𝗲𝗹𝗽 𝘂𝘀 e𝘃𝗲𝗿𝘆𝘁𝗵𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘄𝗲 𝗻𝗲𝗲𝗱. W𝗶𝘁𝗵𝗼𝘂𝘁 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗺 I 𝗰𝗮𝗻𝗻𝗼𝘁 𝗽𝗮𝘀𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗿𝗼𝘂𝗴𝗵 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝘁𝗲𝗿𝗿𝗶𝗯𝗹𝗲 𝗲𝘅𝗽𝗲𝗿𝗶𝗲𝗻𝗰𝗲. 𝗔𝗻𝗱 𝘄𝗲 𝗰𝗮𝗻𝗻𝗼𝘁 𝘀𝘁𝗮𝘆 𝗵𝗲𝗿𝗲 𝗶𝗻 𝗛𝗮𝘄𝗮𝗶𝗶 𝗮𝘀 𝘄𝗲𝗹𝗹 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵𝗼𝘂𝘁 𝗗𝗩𝗔𝗖’𝘀 help. 𝗧𝗵𝗮𝗻𝗸 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝘀𝗼 𝗺𝘂𝗰𝗵! 𝗙𝗼𝗿 𝗮𝗹𝗹 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗵𝗲𝗹𝗽𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝘆𝗼𝘂’𝘃𝗲 𝗱𝗼𝗻𝗲 𝘁𝗼 𝘂𝘀 .𝗚❤️𝗗 𝗕𝗟𝗘𝗦𝗦 𝗬𝗢𝗨 𝗔𝗟𝗟.


I met DVAC because of abuse I received from my ex-Husband.  Even after I divorced, my ex-Husband abused me financially. He didn’t pay me child support, sold my stuff, created a credit card with my name without acknowledging it, and made a debt. Even I have sole physical custody, he claimed TAX of my children and received tax returns and stimulus money. Of course, he refused to pay me back. So I decided to go to court to fight with my ex-husband. Unfortunately, I am a single mom of two, I couldn’t afford to hire an attorney, but my DVAC advocate helped me prepare documents for the court hearing. The advocate even accompanied me to the court hearing. I was very reassured that she was there with me. Even though I didn’t have an attorney but because of DVAC’s help, I was strengthened, I was encouraged, and I was brave.  The judge granted my complaint, and I was able to receive that money.

DVAC also helped me pay our rent, and because of the financial support, we spent such a blessed Christmas ever before, even in the middle of the pandemic. Having such a healthy, blessed life now is all because of DVAC. I am so thankful for all the works DVAC does, helping people like us who need help.


My Advocate, Julie Gatdula was exceptionally amazing in aiding me. She took my situation seriously, helped me with the TRO trial and seeing the police with me to write the police reports. She always checked on my status and in the end, helped me get the Fly to Freedom to escape my abuser.  Without Julie as my advocate, I would not have been able to get back on my feet that quickly.

She located and got me into the transitional shelter and has supported me all the way. I used her as a reference for a job  I was applying to in Hawaii, and with her statement, I was hired!  Before safety leaving Hawaii, I used her again as a reference for jobs and to help get my new apartment in Texas.  Most importantly always being kind and patient. She constantly safety planned with me. Whenever I had request she was always the first to respond not hesitation to research legal issues for me as well. Having her in the office downstairs gave me security and peace of mind. She is a hard working advocate that truly cares for others life. 


I can’t even count the many blessings this program has given me and my baby! We are out of an abusive cycle and entering a positive living where we can make positive choices and grow and change the patterns. We have emotional support here. We also are helped with so many more resources. Living here gives us opportunities we would never have. Living here if we want to go back to school to be a more valuable worker to make more money to support our child we can. Providing them a brighter future. If we were scrambling every month we would most likely end up back with our abusers. Also I know my daughter is so happy here. Other children to look up to brings her so much joy. She always wants to go to the office anytime we come home to stay hi to the staff. She has really come out of her shell. She loves the kids, staff, and everyone who lives here. Living here I’ve been successful at continuing some education also providing with my divorce/custody. It looks like we’ll be granted sole and physical. So far I would not of stood a chance with the opportunity living here. I owe everything to DVAC, HIS, and Julie and Lydia. Me and my child have grown so much. I am forever grateful.


I never heard of, or even knew of DVAC and the services offered until I met a DVAC Outreach worker at the Honolulu Courthouse on Alakea St four years ago. They outreached to me while I was at a hearing against my child’s father for the abuse charges. I have been a client since, and have received so much help, and assistance from DVAC within the last 4 years.

I’ve worked with an advocate for the last 4 years, and an advocate has attended almost every court hearing alongside me. In addition, at times child care was needed, they provided me with a childcare person to watch my child(ren) at the courthouse during my hearing. Having an advocate helped me to safety plan, to vent when times were tough, to assist me in services available & to even help me not feel so alone while in the courtroom. 

Even after leaving my toxic relationship, and being a survivor, I still fell into a second toxic relationship. However, I still kept in contact with my Advocate and DVAC. During this time; things got really rough and I needed legal assistance. DVAC was able to provide me with a Attorney employed by DVAC that can assist you at a rate that is way more affordable than anywhere else. 

At times where I was unable to pay my rent, or buy presents for my children during the holidays, DVAC assisted me with services that would help – such as Adopt-A-Family, or even rental assistance when I was behind on rent. 

Four years later, and I still have an advocate. Though I am no longer in a toxic relationship, I still work with my advocate on dealing with anxiety, or even trying to cope co-parenting with my children’s fathers. 


I was a domestic violence Victim who got a chance to skip and survived against my abuser. I was consistent beaten up for 11 months , treated like a animal, called names like a BITCH DUMMY UGLY AND A PIECE OF SHIT,  strangled and passed out for multiple times, never had food nor water for 3 days, kick out from our unit totally naked with a bag of trash to cover my undress body, pointed gun for multiple times.

I was so blessed that i met the staff from DVAC with them i learned and finally realized that i am BEAUTIFUL and LOVED. I am so thankful for having them through out my surviving journey. They helped me a lot from getting a safe place where to stay, giving me all of resources where i can get assistance, even tought me how to catch a bus and even gave me a free bus pass because i don’t have even a single penny in my wallet.

With DVAC i appreciate and love myself a lot. I learned to proved myself with confidence, learned how to fight for what is right, and always bring out the best in me. Now with the helped of LEGAL AID through DVAC i got my green card with no fees. Before i don’t have nothing in my wallet but now i’m earning more than enough for me, my kids and my family.

My abuser used to tell me i cannot get a job because i am stupid and dummy but now i am proud to say i have a full time job as an INSTRUMENT TECHNICIAN in a hospital and I AM A BUSINESS OWNER OF A SMALL COMPANY. I know the scars and nightmare of what I’ve been through will stay with me for life but i am not afraid to deal with it because i know that i was sorrounded with people who appreciate and love me for who i am.

I remembered when this agency celebrated 25th Anniversary i was one of the chosen to shared my life story personally and for me it was a great pleasure to share with everyone of you my tremendous experience. I was looking back that and cannot help not to smile and thank GOD i made it and tell myself, ” I’M  NOT A SURVIVOR I’M A WARRIOR”. And i will promise you all that i will keep flying as high as an eagle.

THANK YOU SO MUCH DVAC FOR BEING THERE FOR ME NOT ONLY WHEN I NEEDED HELP BUT FOR MY INTIRE HEALING.


I cannot express how thankful I am with the Domestic Violence Action Center (DVAC in short) for all the support I have received so far. With all the things my daughter and I have gone through, I cannot imagine how life is like without them. I am very thankful for their continuous support. 

I first contacted DVAC in June/July of 2020 after being recommended by a therapist to contact the organization because of the verbal and emotional abuse I have been receiving from now a separated husband. Since then, I have used their 24 hour hotline whenever I needed urgent support for myself and my daughter. I did not want my 3 years old daughter to listen to all the adult problems, thus having a 24 hour text hotline was very helpful. I have contacted the hotline whenever I needed to contact after she went to bed and/or before she woke up. The staff who supported me on the 24 hour help hotline has always been kind and professional. I always felt they were there to listen, there to encourage, without any judgement.

For months I have used their hotline and since December 2020, I was also appointed an advocate who has been advocating my case. Simply to have someone listen to all the struggles I have gone through as a domestic abuse survivor has been amazing, but also to receive free legal support in such cases like TRO has been extremely helpful. I am a single parent who has not received any child support for 6 months so the legal fee is not something I can come up with easily.

I have yet received any financial support, but I am in the process of getting some financial support for my daughter and myself through DVAC. Hawaii’s cost of living is extremely high and I have to take care of a toddler full time all by myself while working part time from home so any financial support is also very welcomed.

Unfortunately, not all the professionals have experience and understanding for domestic abuse survivors, thus having DVAC is so crucial. Even myself encountering a wide range of professionals in TRO case made me realize that there needs more understanding from these professionals. I cannot imagine how my life would be without DVAC to go through TRO as not only DVAC has provided free legal support, but it has also provided me a great deal of emotional support, which I desperately needed. 

I was introduced to DVAC by a therapist, but DVAC name was mentioned more than once in my daily life in the last year including from my daughter’s pediatrician. In my case, domestic abuse started before the pandemic, but pandemic has definitely worsened the situation. Now more than ever, we spend at home where domestic abuse takes place, thus we need an organization like DVAC to support the domestic abuse survivors. Nobody still knows what will happen to the world later this year and even the following years, hence DVAC’s support will be crucial to support those in desperate need  just like myself. 


I’d like to say DVAC saved my life.

If I didn’t know DVAC, I still couldn’t divorce and I might had depression. Their advocates always snuggled up with me when I was very emotional instability because of my ex-husband who had oral abasement. They are always help and support for me and my son. Also I laid off because of COVID-19, DVAC supported rent relief and gave me other information, It was very very helpful for me. I really appreciate their support and I need them and even some of my friends also need their help because many people are worried about their partner’s abuses.


Thank you! This is the first word that comes to mind when I think of DVAC.  I have lived my life for the past 17 years with a man who has physically, verbally, psychologically and sexually abused me. I did not even know I was being abused in so many ways. I thought that was just the life I had to live. I suffered in silence, ashamed and in isolation not seeking help. When the abuse got to a point of unbearableness, I was lucky to have met such wonderful people who thought me I do not have to live with such pain and misery. 

On the day that I filed for TRO, the DVAC advocate handed out a pamphlet. I did not think much of it until I visited the website and found out that I was a classic case of physiological abuse. I applied to 9 out of the 10 examples on the list. This allowed me to know how truly foolish I lived my life and the choice that I made was the right one. 

The hearing date of the TRO came. I was alone and he had a lawyer who was trying to intimidate me into dissolve to TRO and he would apologize in front of the judge! I was afraid and alone and that’s when the advocate from DVAC approached me. It was as if I had a friend besides me. Elyse accompanied me in the courtroom and helped me make the right decision. I truly would not have been able to survive that day without her guidance. She took notes and took what document I had with me and referred me to Hannah.

Hannah called me and arranged a meeting for me. She sat down with me to hear my story. She was so heartfelt and kind. Upon our meeting she has referred me to the legal team. I am so grateful that I met her during a time when I was so frustrated and alone not knowing what to do next and suffering on the inside. I just really just wanted to run away and escape but I had to think about my kids first. I realized that it is not ok to live your life being treated the way I have been and I need to end the abuse with me and let my children know that it is not ok to treat others this way nor live this way as I have a son and a daughter. I am sincerely thankful for the kind and heartfelt comfort and aid of the team of DVAC especially Elyse and Hannah. I have requested legal assistance and have meeting schedule with the DVAC legal team and I am starting to have hope of a future free from abuse and pain. Without DVAC I would have been alone and suffering in deep stress and pain. I am so thankful for the encouragement and aid of DVAC. Thank you once again. No matter how many times I say it. It would never be enough to show my appreciation for your staff. Mahalo


My DV life to riches:

It all started over 38 years ago with my husband’s verbal, physical, mental ,and sexual abuse that made my life a living hell.  I just couldn’t live like this anymore and finally left the marriage.  This had a dramatic effect on me and my mental and physical stability in life.  Afraid of this taking control of me to the point of no return, I decided to seek professional help and contacted the Domestic Violence Action Center.

This was my turning point and success to happiness. DVAC and their advocates Genia and Joanna gave me strength and hope needed to overcome my fears, depression, hopelessness, homelessness and financial despair. Without their deep compassion and financial support in my life’s endeavors I would probably would of went back in this abusive relationship. To the Domestic Violence organization and advocates that are working around the clock to support, connect, and serve victims and their continuing support of survivors of domestic violence. I thank God and I thank you.


I met Anne when I came to the courthouse to file my first TRO. Having no family in the state It was a very difficult moment for me. I did not expect to have any support, but fortunately Anne was there. She nicely introduced herself letting me know she is there to help. Anne instantly cheered me up by telling how much she is proud of me speaking up for my safeness. She proffessionally explained me the entire process of  TRO. English is not my first language, but Anne made everything very clear for me, so I felt more confident. She also was supporting me at the day of the hearing. Before, during and after hearing she was by my side. After the hearing I received an email from her just checking if I am ok and safe. It happened that I had to file the second TRO against the same person, and Anne was there for me again. Accidentally happened she was in the courthouse when I came, and she did not hesitate a second to help me. She is very sharp in the knowledge of what she is doing. She knows the right questions to ask and how and when to ask them, so I do not feel uncomfortable. She has the answer for any question as well. It is so easy to communicate with her. Anne is a very helpful advocate. She became my friend and I am very happy to know her. I know all the help and support she provides coming from the bottom of her heart. 


I am a mother of 3 and a DV Survivor.  My life changed drastically when I got connected to my DVAC  Advocate last year. I had just fled home from my abuser and at that time I was only able to take my oldest son with me. My two younger ones ages 2 & 3 stayed behind.

I had no idea what a TRO was. My DV Advocate helped me petition for one and it was granted. Then came the reunification of me and my other two children.

It is with heartfelt thanks that I acknowledge DVAC. My Advocate  never gave up on me. Many times, she spoke up for me and made sure that I was informed and understood everything going on. I can only imagine how difficult it might have been since I don’t speak English and I can be extremely shy. Nevertheless, my advocate continued to stand by me through it all. I accredit DVAC to my newfound strength, confidence and independence. I know now that my decision to leave was the right one and it’s all uphill from here. Mahalo to DVAC and my advocate for granting me a gift I never thought I deserved: peace of mind and the chance to be a wonderful mom to my children WITHOUT living in fear.

At the moment, I am in the process of going through my paternity case and am still fully depending on DVAC to assist me. I am confident that DVAC is on my side and working for the best of me and my family.  I am not as fearful as I once was. 


I was living in a DV situation for the past 30 years.  I realized that the relationship with my partner was sick, unhealthy, and unsafe. I needed to get out of it and somehow I found the courage and strength to leave my partner, my home, and everything that I have known threatening my freedom, to get to know who I am, and some peace and of mind. I found myself living in a temporary domestic violence shelter for women and children.  I was so scared and shaky and lonely.

Then I knew and needed to file a tro and I did it. That was my very first encounter with DVAC at my court appearance.  Again I was scared and shaky but not alone.  DVAC was right by my side and today day still are.  I just don’t think I could have made this far without this super team of legal and support.  That has gotten me through my darkest time of being so vulnerable.  Today I am free. I am being appreciated(?) I can love, laugh again and truly understand what it felt like to be own my woman.  

I have a Job as dietary aide for senior citizen community. I have transitioned out from homeless ness and made 21 years of clean & sober. Taking care and learning about the woman who has bipolar and still is able to beat the odds and be free.  

Thank you DVAC. I am truly grateful.


I am 38 years old.  I have seven siblings living in the Philippines, and I am the only one living in the US.  Most of the time I am by myself and feeling sad and emotional in every step of my life here. I will not forget DVAC who assisted me during my sufferings.  DVAC always rescues every single time I need help.  Thank you so much DVAC. Happy 30th anniversary!


Thank you DVAC,

August 2017, when I first meet one DVAC agent in the Family Court in Kapolei. Answer prayer to say because after all the things going on between me, my ex-partner and about my kid’s custody. I don’t have anyone to rely on, who I can trust, to tell or ask for help on how to face and where can I get support for my children, to get a lawyer to handle my case, after my ex filed divorce and he took almost all of the money in the bank and even the money that he said was saved for our children together with the things in our room which we were renting. DVAC is the one who help me, guiding what to do and stay beside me to give me more motivation, to wake me up that I am not alone in the world with this situation, knowing my rights and how to protect my kids and myself. It was explained to me that there are different kinds of abuse to people that we do not know we are being abused and it is okay but if ignored, the effect is not good. I learn from DVAC how to stop to the abuse from my abuser, what are the red flag that I need to be known, what my rights are as a woman. DVAC teach me to be resilience as a single parent, as a model to my kids, and to continue my dream, I’m so thankful for what I am now that I’m continuing to be in school taking Culinary Arts course because DVAC saw my passion in cooking. From the start from being in the Court for my hearing, the support of DVAC was always there, even if for a year I had to go back and forth to the Court, for my studies, and the support group where I was a part of together with my children, DVAC was always there for support. I never lost connection and so with the companions of the PIKO group of DVAC, that is why I am very thankful for all my battles in life and my successes, I offer all of these to DVAC. I am not where I am and who I am now, stable, resourceful and no longer affected by the challenges of life, moving forward to reach my goal in life which I learned. Thank you DVAC, to all staff of DVAC, especially for the full-support to us the PIKO group, the VP Ms. Cristina, Ms. Vilma, to our Facilitator Ms. Joy and the agents that accompanied me to the court hearing, and last, the advocate for my school who is also from DVAC. I hope DVAC will stay longer and it will be expanded so that there are more people to be helped like us who you have helped to bring back the smile and zest in our faces. God bless!


I am very thankful and grateful to DVAC family because they’re the one’s who help me get out in my bad and toxic relationship and help me get thru it if it’s not because of them maybe until now im still stuck with my ex-husband who’s been abusive ,drug addict and all he care about is himself .

DVAC don’t just treat you as they’re client they treat you like a family they give all the help/assistance that you need in every way. Even if im finally done with my case they still make a way to in touched with me and to all of us we have support group before this pandemic happen and during pandemic thru zoom meetings (diwang pinay support group) in that  support  group we have the chance to get together, meet and  inspired from other girls who become  better and successful now as individual after they get thru a lot with their toxic partners. we shared and tell our situations how we overcome it to inspire also some girls that is currently in the same situation like us so they don’t feel that they’re alone . how we taking care of ourself and our kids and they helping us How to keep calm in a bad/stress situation and aside from all positive outlook in life ,ms joy  shared also some beauty tip/secrets and some skills which is fun part before we end our every meetings.

I will be forever grateful to dvac family to ms.lydia ,ms.vilma ,ms cristina and to all the lovely staff ,I really appreciate you all your hard work and kindness. Godbless! 


When I left my emotionally abusive relationship in 2016. I felt lost and worried about what might be the future for me and my then 5-year-old and 6 months old kid. I was referred to DVAC and was assigned to a wonderful advocate who directed me to all the support and resources I may need. She guided me through all the process of my divorce. My advocate has in many occasions went out of her way … above and beyond to help me, even during weekends. Everyone in the office was so helpful, understanding, and supportive. The PIKO support group is also such a great help for me. I learned how to make better choices, it tremendously boosts my self-confidence and my self-worth. We learned skills, and realized the importance of self care. I felt more empowered knowing that I  can always change my circumstances. I also made great friends with the group and we continue to support each other. DVAC also acts as my sponsoring agency to pursue higher education, I am now closer to my dream to achieve my degree. I am always grateful and will always support DVAC’s advocacy to help survivors of Domestic Violence.


I filed for a TRO and was met at the courthouse by my advocate, Erika. She walked me through the first TRO hearing 2nd and 3rd. She helped me with my evidence because I had no clue what to do. She talked to me all the way to the courthouse several times over the phone to help me with my PTSD. I would not have gotten any evidence into the trial had it not been for her. She was totally there to support me. She was the person who served my ex the divorce papers at the actual TRO hearing which was a relief. She helped me deal with the police and stayed on the phone with me. She was there each time I met with attorneys and walked me through that process. Erika was my biggest emotional support I don’t think I would have gotten through that trial had it not been for her support. She kept me focused enough to stay out of my emotion and focus on the business at hand.  She was able to get me to focus on what I needed to do rather than what had been done to me. 

Because of my advocate, I got the confidence that I could get through my situation. She always told me I was going to be ok. Especially being a lesbian, she understood what I was going through with the discrimination and lack of protection I was dealing with. My advocate encouraged me to file complaints against homophobic officers and to stand up for my rights. Having her there for that was really important and I don’t think I could have gotten that kind of support from someone who wasn’t a part of my community. 


On April 2020 I experience the last of much abuse from my husband. It was not just physical but verbal and mental abuse also that night. I knew it was the last time I was going to take abuse from him and found the courage to call 911 and file a police report after having guidance and support from the police report I also made call to DVAC it was there and supported and help me through this difficult time. Actually it’s not the first time call the DVAC, four years ago I filed TRO against to my husband but I dismissed the case I gave him a change which I thought was better for our kids but it’s happens again but the DVAC never refuse to help me and still there. That night happens it’s over that why I got 15 years TRO against to my husband, the so much pain that I experienced for 12 years, I endured the relationship, I let the abuse happen and repeatedly suffer until I no longer trust myself and I only felt fear and I lost my courage as I thought I am all alone here, may family is not here but I learned about DVAC and I found a family which is PIKO, the Filipina support group from DVAC. DVAC was a big help for me like resources especially during pandemic like rent assistance and some resources they can help me they give me also courage to be strong even my emotion they give me therapist also which helped me for my healing. Most of all the Filipina support group that helped me, they’re all supportive, its’ like a family. Right now, I become strong, independent and making many decisions on my own that I was not able to do before. Even if my divorce is not yet done, DVAC is still around supporting women who experienced abuse. Thank you DVAC for the never ending help for me and if not with you, I would have not had the courage to face people. 


In 2009 I gave birth to my son. That was when the abuse began. I was tormented by son’s father. The physical, mental, emotional abuse left me broken and drained. When DVAC came into my life, the comfort and support by my DVAC advocate devoted her time and was so patient. DVAC became the support system I did not know I needed. She checked on me and reminded me how strong I was when I had nothing left. Genia stood beside me when I had to face my tormenter in court. I now have the confidence that was ripped away from me and have regained my Mana. My son had benefitted so much and has learned how to stand up and be brave. DVAC had given him the tools for success and with their love and support he wont give up on his dreams. The aloha DVAC has shown my ohana will forever be in my heart!


I was full of disappointment. I lost my job and I was afraid to lose my kids because of the abuse. It was becoming too much and too hard to handle emotionally, mentally, physically… everything.  I was with DVAC before and left to try to make it work with my husband but ended up leaving him again and contacting DVAC again to get help. 

The first time I met DVAC I was so down and hopeless. But then when Lydia assigned me an advocate, Genia, I finally found help. The way she pushed me really helped me a lot because it made me stronger and made me find a way to solve my problems financially and emotionally. I found a friend giving me advice about life and how to get through my problems with positive thoughts.


I always thought that I was a strong person and wouldn’t end up with anyone who put their hands on me. 

Well…. He put his hands on me and I stayed!!! We became a ohana having keiki’s and making a home. I thought…

He’ll NEVER put his hands on me again, but the verbal abuse NEVER stopped. 

What broke us? He put his hands on me for the last time!!!

What we feel inside, is what we need to listen to. I felt he was using “meth” again, like he was when we first started. But he was a smooth talker and I had no proof, CPS didn’t listen to me, however I met DVAC and they heard me loud and clear because turns out I wasn’t alone, I wasn’t the only one that this had happened to. They showed me I’m not alone and I don’t need to be scared to speak up, we can end this by fighting to end Domestic Violence. 


I have two beautiful daughters 10 and 8 years old. February 2021 makes four years that I physically removed my daughters and myself from the abuser that I was with for 12 Years! It took support, spiritual guidance, hope and courage that came from God.  Since then, I have been dealing with my abuser through court and etc for 3 years without no support but myself. Recently last August 2020 my best friend encouraged me to reach out to DVAC and give others a chance to help. Instead of dealing with the abuser yourself emotionally and etc. 

Genia contacted me directly via phone and spoke to me and humbled my heart and I felt a connection that this woman understands me and has gone through the things we as victims go through. It’s a burden lifted that someone I can develop a relationship with to have hope for myself and my daughters. That we aren’t alone. Since then this kind hard working supervisor took my case and walked me through some challenging times in the last 3 months. Knowing that I can contact her and someone was for me and we wasn’t alone. DVAC helped my family with emotional support which is Piko classes for survivors which emotionally I haven’t healed from yet. Christmas DVAC helped with Christmas presents for my children!! December 2020 helped with my car payment, utilities and internet bills. I’m so grateful for connecting with DVAC and getting the support that I needed years ago. And I have a attorney from DVAC helping with my child custody and legal advice.


If you would have told me the first two years we were together that my husband would end up terrorizing my children and abusing me emotionally, verbally, financially and finally physically, I would have laughed. We met in Washington and had a fairytale romance. Two years after we met we moved to Hawai’i to take care of his father. That’s when everything changed.

The first time he got drunk and kicked us out I was too ashamed to call anyone, so we slept in the car in the Sack N Save parking lot.

He used intimidation to control our family. In private he would put me down, or yell at me in front of the kids while they pleaded with him to stop. He would tell me that I would never make it on my own and that I needed him to survive, but in public he played the role of the perfect husband and father. 

In October 2019, he physically assaulted me. He threw a hot iron at the back of my head (he missed), and then threw me into a wall by my thumb. My 11-year old daughter ran into the street screaming for help. Without her bravery, things might have been worse. He completely ruptured my thumb’s UCL and I had to have surgery a week later. It was the first and last time he laid a hand on me. 

While I was at the ER a friend told me to call DVAC. Making the phone call was hard.  I was scared and embarrassed.  “Hi, my name is Brigette. I was assaulted by my husband last night. I’m at the hospital right now. I need help figuring out what comes next.” 

My DVAC advocate Elyse listened to my story with compassion and helped me navigate the maze I was about to enter.  She was there for us every step of the way.

She helped me with my TRO paperwork and accompanied me to the hearing. I will always be grateful for her guidance and support through the court process..

When it came time to find our own place, I was really worried. After years of being told I couldn’t make it without him, I needed to prove to myself that I could. I found housing we could afford but I knew I wouldn’t be able to pay first and last month’s rent. DVAC provided the financial assistance we needed to get on our feet. I remember looking at my daughter one night realizing how relaxed we were because we finally felt safe.

And as the bills from my surgery started to pile up, Elyse helped me negotiate some of the medical costs.

DVAC and Elyse did so much for us and my goal is to pay it forward.

We are still healing but we share our story whenever we can to give hope to other survivors. Being ready to leave is such a brave decision. DVAC is there to help, without judgement. We are eternally grateful.