Play tackles domestic violence epidemic in Hawaii - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Play tackles domestic violence epidemic in Hawaii

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Cheryl Carvalho Cheryl Carvalho
Roxanne Kealoha Roxanne Kealoha
Karen Kaahu Karen Kaahu

By Duane Shimogawa - bio | email

KAILUA (KHNL) - Domestic violence is an epidemic in the islands, and a significant social problem facing Hawaii.

On Oahu alone, police receive more than a thousand calls per month reporting domestic violence.

About 50 inmates at the Women's Community Correctional Center took part in a play called, "Love is Blind."

They hope to open the eyes of others, especially youths, about the dangers of this sometimes deadly problem.

Karen Kaahu plays the role of abuser in this play. It's a role she's all too familiar with. for years, she played that part in real life.

"In the beginning, it was hard, 'cuz it was part of my story and it hurt, it hurt so bad, but it healed me from the inside out," she said.

For some women, healing wasn't even an option, like in the case of Royal Kaukani. Earlier this year, she was brutally shot to death in Ewa Beach, allegedly by her ex-boyfriend.

"We've decided to do this whole production to help other women, other teenagers and the community at-large to identify what domestic violence really is, it's ugly, it's terrifying," event organizer Cheryl Carvalho said.

In the play, Frank and Maile are in an abusive relationship. It all ends with Frank shooting Maile to death along with their son before killing himself as well.

But the vicious cycle stops, as the couple's teenage daughter leaves an abusive relationship.

Roxanne Kealoha was the narrator of this play. At times, she caught herself reading words that rang true in her own life.

"If I was to do this production, I'd be reliving it, that's something that's so touchy for me, that I didn't want to relive it," she aid.

But as part of the healing process, she agreed to play the part.

"I thought about it and I realized, I have three beautiful little daughters, but I don't want them to ever experience that," she said.

"It's not ok to be hit or get hit," Kaahu said. "I hope we can touch at least one person's life, if we can touch one person's life, I'm satisfied, job well done."

Done also with the vicious cycle of domestic violence. The Women's Fund of Hawaii helped fund this play by giving the group a $5,000 grant.

The money was used to buy sewing machines, which the participants used to make their costumes.