HONOLULU(KHON2) — The violent murder of two mothers allegedly killed by their sons, and another assaulted by hers, highlighted the need for more conversations and action against domestic violence.
Nanci Kreidman, CEO of the Domestic Violence Action Center, said there are things we can do to prevent more senseless tragedies.
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Michelle McPeek, 38, was murdered on April 20. The man charged with accusations of beating her to death, her 19-year-old son Joshua McPeek.
According to court documents, Michelle’s body was found in the middle of Farrington Highway. Police found her on her back with her face smashed in –she was unrecognizable.
On July 1, court documents said 24-year-old Josiah Garcia called police and confessed to murdering his mother, 46-year-old Moana Garcia.
Court documents said when officers arrived and asked Garcia if anyone else was in the house, he said “just my mother’s dead corpse.” Moana Garcia was shot in the face.
And on Thursday, a 29-year-old man was arrested for suspicion of assaulting his mother and stepfather with a metal pipe.
“Any kind of act of violence against a family member is a tragedy,” Kriedman said. “It’s a very important reminder to us, the community, that domestic violence is a potentially fatal crime.”
The circumstances leading up to the recent crimes are unknown but Kreidman said in most murder cases committed by a family member there are warning signs that were often ignored.
“As a culture, we see boys acting with aggression and we allow it,” Kreidman explained. “My guess is there was a range of behaviors in the course of their young adult lives that people were minimizing or ignoring or looking the other way.”
Kreidman said another problem is fear and shame often keep people from speaking up about violence when they’re being victimized by a loved one.
She said that has to change and urges everyone in the community to pay attention, to ask questions, and voice concerns.
“We have to give permission to talk about it,” Kreidman said. “This is still a very well kept secret and there’s still a lot of shame associated with it. There’s a lot of victim blaming. So again, as a community we have to dispel the misconceptions around that.”
According to Kreidman, there are some common red flags of domestic violence to look for including repeated patterns of violent or aggressive behavior.
Other red flags might be, what is the rest of the family system look like? What does the work history look like? What are the other relationships that this young person or potential perpetrator has, what do those look like? Is there any history? We have to connect the dots. We have to tie these things together or we’ll end up suffering the tragedy and then responding or reacting when there’s a crisis.”Nanci Kreidman, CEO of the Domestic Violence Action Center
Kreidman said the best way to help is to let the person you feel may be in trouble know that you are there for them and there are people who care and organizations that can help.
“The first thing I would suggest people do is talk privately, confidentially and compassionately with the person at risk–there are ways to ask a questions that invite somebody to confide in them,” Kreidman explained. “Again often times people will not approach somebody and say, ‘Hey are you safe? I’m a little worried about you?’ It’s an important conversation to have. We want to encourage people to have that conversation.”
Click here for more information on DVAC and crisis support.
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You can also call the DVAC toll-free helpline at 800-690-6200 or text 605-956-5680.