Spotlight Hawaii featured two guests today: Nanci Kreidman of the Domestic Violence Action Center (DVAC) spoke about how the coronavirus pandemic has impacted the incidence of domestic violence in Hawaii, followed by Tina Yamaki of the Retail Merchants of Hawaii, who discussed how local businesses are faring right now.
Kreidman says her organization has seen a dramatic increase in the number of people reaching out for help.
“In April of 2019, our staff had client contacts numbering 519, in April 2020 our staff were in contact with our clients 3,038 times. That’s six times as many contacts with clients who are trying to navigate their pathway to safety or freedom,” she explained.
Kreidman said her organization is very concerned about the repeated stay-at-home orders, which may be necessary from a public health standpoint, but can be dangerous for those in abusive situations.
“There are different ways that abusers are tormenting their partners as a result of the isolation, which is amplified, and the restrictions on interacting, so the isolation has a very big effect on the ability for people to ask for help, or ask questions or protect themselves,” Kreidman said.
DVAC’s website domesticviolenceactioncenter.org has a number of resources, including a 24-hour chat function, and a text hotline 605-956-5680, which allows survivors to text and chat with a live person who can support their needs.
In the second-half of the broadcast, Yamaki joined the conversation to speak about how the extended lockdown is impacting local businesses.
“It’s affected everybody. It’s not just the small mom-and-pop stores, we’re also seeing national and international retailers, going bankrupt or going out of business or pulling out of Hawaii, and it’s really sad because it’s that many less jobs here in Hawaii,” Yamaki said.
Yamaki says many businesses are struggling to pay their monthly lease rent, and without help soon, she worries many may be forced to close for good.
“The Honolulu City Council, a couple of days ago, just passed a resolution that would basically give some commercial tenant rent relief, so that might help as long as the Mayor signs the bill,” she said.
Even if the stay-at-home order ends as planned in two weeks, Yamaki says for many businesses, the kama’aina economy will likely not be enough to save them.
“We need to reopen tourism safely because that’s the only way the economy is going to be stimulated right now.”
Spotlight Hawaii, which shines a light on issues affecting Hawaii, airs live 10:30 a.m. every Monday, Wednesday and Friday on the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s Facebook page. Join Ryan Kalei Tsuji and Yunji de Nies this month for a conversation with guests. Click here to watch previous conversations.