Definition of Domestic Violence

There are many forms of abuse that create risk and danger in love relationships. Physical violence, verbal abuse, psychological tactics-including intimidation and degrading someone, and sexual assault, are the most obvious ways one person in a relationship establishes power over their partner. The abuse is intended to maintain control and limits the ability of the victim to make personal choices, have access to family resources or assets, or have self-determination.

Intimate partner abuse is not the same in every relationship. Some abusers are frequently violent, others may resort to physical violence from time to time to assert their power. The fear that a victim lives with makes it difficult for her (victims are most often female, but not always) to confide in friends or family, because the retaliation may result in more danger.

People do not use violence or become abusive because they are under stress, or experiencing financial problems, using drugs or drinking too much. Of course, these factors may make the situation worse, but it is not a cause of abuse.

In our community, and in most cultures, we have values and social norms that expect or permit men to be in control (particularly their family); this control creates an imbalance of power in the relationship. The messages we give to our children (and learn ourselves) about masculinity and femininity make us believe that men have a right to be dominant over their partner, and can do whatever is necessary to get their partner to do what they want them to do, or behave the way they believe they should behave.

Domestic violence is a crime in Hawaii. If you are hurting the people that you love, you must understand that domestic violence is against the law and if you commit this crime you can be arrested.  Only you can stop the violence and there are services in our community that can help you find the courage to stop the harm that you are creating in your intimate partnerships.

Anyone can be a victim of domestic violence.  Victims and perpetrators of domestic violence come from all walks of life.  They can be educated, practice a religion, have a well paying job, be unemployed, use drugs and drink alcohol, or be survivors of childhood abuse.

If you are a victim of domestic violence, we can assist you in figuring out courses of action that you may consider taking now or in the future.  Our services are focused on helping you to become safe and free from the violence that you are now experiencing at the hands of your loved one.   Please know that you are not alone and it is not your fault. At the Domestic Violence Action Center we offer you confidential and non-judgmental services.