After #MeToo, domestic abuse survivors look for opportunities to share their stories

After #MeToo, domestic abuse survivors look for opportunities to share their stories

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Victims of domestic violence and their families spoke at a media summit Monday about their struggles — and how their stories have been covered.

The gathering, organized by the Domestic Violence Action Center, was aimed at highlighting the personal stories of domestic abuse survivors and talk about what's next after the #MeToo movement.

The panelists included Corrine Moreno, who was arrested in Pacific Palisades last year after stabbing her husband.

She says she did it to protect her adult son.

"He was choking his neck so I'm thinking he's going to kill my son. What am I going to do?" said Moreno, who faces sentencing in March.

The family of Janel Tupuola also spoke. She was bludgeoned to death by her ex-boyfriend in Kailua.

They say they tried to keep her memory alive by talking to the media.

"They would flash his mug shot, his court appearances, but we would somehow get lost so we always made effort that this is our story too," said Diamond Badajos, Tupuola's niece.

The panelists also called for an end to victim shaming, and said more media sensitivity and increased awareness are needed.

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"I did not know even when my ex-husband was holding loaded guns to my head, that I was a domestic violence victim," said Leslie Morgan Steiner, author and domestic violence survivor.

Before Monday's summit, the panelists met with Katherine Aikau, whose 7-year-son was killed by his father last year in a murder-suicide.

Aikau recently spoke to Think Tech Hawaii about the violence at home and why the system needs to be better at protecting children.

"The no. 1 focus should be protecting the children. They shouldn't be exposed to any of this," said Aikau.

While the stories shared at the summit were heartwrenching, experts said the #MeToo campaign has helped unite women and put a spotlight on a pervasive and longstanding issue.

"Even though #MeToo is really focused on sexual harassment and sexual assault, it helps all victims, female victims of violence," Steiner said.

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