New production on domestic violence offers firsthand accounts to go beyond the statistics

Updated: Oct. 23, 2020 at 2:50 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - PlayBuilders of Hawaii’s productions tackle tough topics. The latest puts the spotlight on domestic violence.

“We had a goal of doing something for Domestic Violence Month 2020,” PlayBuilders founder Terri Madden said.

For more than a year, Madden collected stories from domestic violence survivors. The original plan was to produce a play, but the pandemic flipped the script.

The performing arts group chose to forge ahead.

“Our mission states that we gather and share stories. It doesn’t say necessarily that we have to do it through theater,” Madden said.

Domestic violence survivor Jenny Delos Santos wrote a book called “Falling Perfectly Without Trying" that details the severe psychological abuse she suffered at the hands of her ex-husband.

He repeatedly threatened to kill her and their two children before she managed to make their escape.

“It was really hard to write because then you end up going through the whole story over again. You re-live it all over again,” she said.

PlayBuilders produced a video called “Bursting Bubbles: Jenny’s Story” that’s airing this month on Olelo.

“I thought perhaps if I said my story other people would hear it and would have the courage to leave the domestic violence situation. That’s the hardest thing, to leave,” she said.

Even after getting free of her abusive husband, Delos Santos' life held more tragedy.

Both of her children died. She wants those who see her story to be inspired to rise above the hardship in their own lives.

“There’s hope at the end of the tunnel,” she said.

PlayBuilders partnered with the Hawaii State Coalition Against Domestic Violence to produce four “Bursting Bubbles” videos. They are first-hand accounts that go beyond statistics.

“We can truly take in what they’re saying,” Madden said. “We can empathize with them. And we can let them know that they’re not alone.”

Delos Santos' story includes a panel discussion with domestic violence experts. Besides being shown on Olelo it’s also available for viewing at

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