Protected in Hilo

Mondays Musings from Melinda by Melinda M.

Um, so right now, I’m having trouble summoning one of my light-hearted and sentimental Monday musings. You see, for the last week, I’ve been musing about how so many of us chose hate over love. How so many of us chose a man who proved his disdain for truth, discourse, and non-whites over a woman they felt they couldn’t trust (spoiler alert: I was/am with her).

Hawaii is as blue a state as the ocean surrounding it, so the spattering of Trump signs I saw around town always made me scratch my head: Trump? Really? He spouts such hate. Our geographical isolation, our multi-ethnic and economically diverse communities, and our aloha culture shelter us from most of the causes that supposedly gave rise to Trump. Those stressors and tensions are largely unfelt or at least unseen here and our climate often makes it feel like we are perpetually on vacation.

Funny enough, that’s part of the reason why some of my family and childhood friends don’t get why I love living here – it doesn’t seem like a “real” place to live, work or raise a family. But unfortunately Hawaii does have it all: poverty, inequality and even racial tension (see: Micronesians). We also have sexual assault and abuse. And since we as a country have just elected a known and unabashed sexual assaulter who surrounds himself with other known misogynists or abusers (e.g., Giuliani, Gingrich, Ailes), I will do my part to make sure that the men and boys in my community do not read this election as a sign that they can handle women and girls in that way and that women and girls know that they shouldn’t be handled that way.

ywca-hawaii-logo

I am honored to sit on the board of the YWCA Hawaii Island, which operates the only 24-hour sexual assault hotline on the island. The YW does more than provide the nurturing pre-school most of us know – it trains and hires nurses and advocates who specialize in post-sexual assault trauma and offer immediate crisis support. The YW also provides therapy to survivors and their families so they can heal. Last year, the YWCA Hawaii Island took about 1,000 crisis calls and provided more than 1,000 hours of therapy. Fifty percent of our victims are under 18.

So no, we’re not really protected here. Nor will we be in the years to come. Please support the YWCA and the women and families in our community they support. As an advocate for women and against racism, the YW couldn’t be any more relevant today than they have been for the last 100 years.

If you would like to get involved with or donate to the YWCA Hawaii Island, please call 1-808-961-3877.

If you have been a victim of sexual assault and need help, please call 808-935–0677 (Hawaii Island) or 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) (nationally).

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