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May 1998

Annual Meeting 1998
President's Message (Grace Furukawa)
Reproductive Choice (Grace Furukawa)
State Land Use Commission (Astrid Monson)
What About the Woman? (Suzanne Meisenzahl)

What About the Woman?

Still reeling from the criticism that landed on the Ad Hoc Committee for Domestic and Sexual Violence legislative report, League attended an Ad Hoc Committee meeting to address the concerns of Foes of the Ad Hoc Committee (FAHC). There were at least 30 women present: many directors of domestic violence programs.

There was discussion over why the Ad Hoc committee was formed in the first place. There were substantive differences of opinions. Some felt, former Rep. Annelle Armaral author of the original Bill and League among them, that some of the committee's reasons for being, included monitoring the delivery of services, advocating for levels of service and assessing quality of services. It was felt that change needed to be systemic.

Others felt that the committee was convened only to address needs that would be created when the Judiciary discontinued victim services, as it had stated it was going to do. When the Judiciary decided to continue providing victim services, some felt there was no further need for this committee. The criticism of the report and the committee seem to overlook the fact that the goals of the agencies involved should be help for the victims.

The front page story of March 18 Honolulu Star Bulletin, "Domestic Abuse in Hawaii", showed a picture of police responding to a domestic dispute. It said, "They decided to get the man of the house to leave for a 24-hour cooling-off period". My first thought was about the woman – what did they do for her? There is no longer a DART program. Reading further into the article you discover there may soon be no more Pu'uhonua, the drop-in crisis center police refer victims to. Unfortunately Pu'uhonua is not a 24 hour facility and doesn't do unsolicited intervention hence many victims don't realize what services and protections are available to them. The prosecutor's office does not seem to feel that safety planning for domestic violence victims is their job. Where are all those program directors when you need them?

Suzanne Meisenzahl
Violence Prevention

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