HONOLULU(KHON2)–One in five women will be victims of rape in Hawaii according to recent statistics. In the last 24 hours, two alleged rapes were reported here in Honolulu. One suspect was arrested in Palolo last night and remains in custody. The second alleged assault happened in Chinatown and the suspect is on the loose.
Khara Jabola-Carolus, the executive director of the Hawaii state commission on the status of women, said its alarming how many women will be victimized in their lifetime.
“I think that we often pride oursselvs in having one of the safest states in terms of violent crime, but if you’re coming from a woman’s perspective, it’s a very violent place to live,” Jabola-Carolus said.
What’s even more upsetting is that in most case the victim knows their assailant.
“You can’t ever be safe from it because you think that it’s just stranger-danger, but that is completely a Hollywood myth…I think only around nine percent are attacked by a stranger and the rest are perpetrated by people who we know.”
Jabola-Carolus said that in a large number of rape cases victims are assaulted in their own homes.
Retired Honolulu Police Department lieutenant Philip Lavarias said that dating apps and the internet have also had an impact on these types of crimes.
“Predators use these sites to meet new people, new victims. It feels like you know an individual after talking to them online but you really don’t know this person at all,” Lavarias explained.
Lavarias added that there is a common thread among many sexual assaults.
“The majority of cases occur where there’s the use of alcohol or drugs.”
He said that they often allow the victim to let down their guard.
“It’s never the fault of the victim but we have to do our due diligence and stay out of that type of environment,” Lavarias explained.
There isn’t really anything a victim can do to prevent a sexual assaut but he said if a woman does find herself in that situation, if it’s possible try to get away if you can.
“Like any other type of crime, sexual assault, robbery, theft, I think the first thing to do is to be vigilant, be aware of your surroundings. If you can run, call 911, fight off the attacker. If you can, do what you can to get out of that situation.”
Victims are often afraid to come forward.
“They don’t want to turn in a family member or friend. They blame themselves for what happened or just don’t want to deal with the embarrassment or the shame that society would put on them.”
But no matter how hard it is, Lavarias said it’s important to report a rape as soon as possible so the victim can get help and hopefully prevent the perpetrator from hurting anyone else.
If you or anyone you know is a victim of sexual assault contact The Sex Abuse Treatment Center‘s 24-hour hotline at 524-7273