Domestic violence expert explains how abuse can lead to unforgivable decisions

Hawaii Island deputy prosecutor Ricky Roy Damerville said Jaylin Kema failed to report the abuse against her son because she was afraid of her husband.

An expert tells us unless there’s a better way to protect abused victims, fear can sometimes lead to unforgivable decisions.

An advocate who helps victims of abuse tells us leaving a violent environment is difficult and does not always mean the situation will be any better.

The abuser may still haunt the victims and there aren’t a lot of options for security.

“There is no affordable housing. There is no affordable child care,” said Nanci Kreidman, Domestic Violence Action Center CEO. “It’s hard to earn a living wage. Sometimes your partner would be arrested, sometimes he or she won’t. Sometimes your partner would be convicted, sometimes he or she won’t. So what are the protections? What’s the safety?”

We showed Kreidman a clip of what Damervile said in court about Kema: “Family members tried to intervene, by trying to speak privately with Jaylin and offering to take Pepe into their home. Pepe’s father refused both requests and Jaylin, probably out of fear of her husband, the evidence would show that she was a severely abused spouse herself, and based upon that fear, she declined to acquiesce in allowing the child to be taken out of the home.”

“I think he’s on point. It is nearly impossible for a person who has observed or been present during the abuse of their children to not feel some ambivalence about their own terror and their responsibility to their children,” Kreidman said.

Kreidman said terror, trauma, and guilt from living in a violent household can immobilize victims to seek help. So we asked about Jaylin Kema’s confession, if distance away from the abuser helped with her confession.

“Definitely, absolutely,” said Kreidman. “The more distance, the more time, and the more safe she felt, the more capable, the more able she became to use her voice.”

Kreidman said it’s important to remember Peter Boy’s story so that the community can work harder to protect victims of domestic violence.

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