LIHUE — Desiree Duclayan, 51, has been married twice. Both were abusive, but it wasn’t until someone witnessed an abusive moment during her second marriage and called the police, that she got help.
That was about two years ago and since then, Duclayan has been receiving help from the YWCA. Her husband was arrested and she went to the YWCA shelter with her minor child.
“We stayed there for a few months and they basically were and have been my lifeline since going there,” he said. “I’m going to regular meetings, support groups for victims, a women’s group and two or three times a month they have these group meetings and for me that’s been my biggest help.”
Tonight, 5 to 7, Duclayan will tell the story about how she survived abusive marriages at the YWCA’s annual week without violence candlelight vigil, “Out of the Shadow and Into the Light,”at St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church.
For many years, Duclayan said she was ashamed to tell anybody about the abuse.
“I was too proud to want to be exposed as far as the things I was dealing with. It’s not something you want to brag or let people know it’s happening to you,” she said. “It’s something you hide, you put on a façade. It’s not something you want people to know you’re dealing with.”
Telling someone is the first step to getting help, she said.
“I needed to better myself for the abuser, my father’s daughter, I’m hoping he’s getting the help that he needs because in the end it’s the child that benefits because if we’re both healthy she gets what she needs and that’s pretty much what I’ve learned and gained in the past two years, coming into my own learning who I am,” she said.
During her time at the YWCA she’s met a lot of women who have come out of abusive situations and has been able to build a strong support group around her.
“People think you asked for it, but that’s not the case. It’s not the way we dress or the wrong place or the wrong time. People tend to want to hide it not to share it,” she said.
During the vigil, the names of victims of domestic violence on Kauai and throughout the state, will be read.
“No human being deserves to be treated with the lack of dignity and respect. Their voice is important, it should be heard and we’re here to listen to it,” said Laura Ditroia, assistant director of the YWCA shelter.
Ditroia said there are three phases of abuse. The tension building phase, where the victim feels like they’re walking on eggshells around the abuser; the abusive incident; and then the honeymoon phase, where the abuser apologizes and promises to change.
Abuse can be mental, physical, emotional and financial, she said.
Each year the shelter on Kauai assists between 120-130 residents and serves 10,000 meals and the domestic violence hot-line and sexual assault hot-line they operate receives about 700 calls. In 2017, the YWCA assisted with 51 temporary restraining orders.
For those experiencing domestic violence and abusive situations, Ditroia said there is hope.
“Things can change, things are changing and there’s a community of people, an array of services, that can support anybody through that process,” she said.
Bethany Freudenthal, crime, courts and county reporter, 652-7891, firstname.lastname@example.org