comscore Good Neighbor Fund: Family escapes abuse to begin healing
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Good Neighbor Fund: Family escapes abuse to begin healing

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  • JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARADVERTISER.COM
                                “I may have lost a lot … I’m still alive, my daughter’s still alive,” Kylyn Kalili said Monday.

    JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARADVERTISER.COM

    “I may have lost a lot … I’m still alive, my daughter’s still alive,” Kylyn Kalili said Monday.

Kylyn Kalili and her 9-year-old daughter, Fefiloi, are finally on the path toward healing now that they are about three months free from the violent abuse of Kalili’s ex-boyfriend.

After nearly two years of physical and emotional abuse and a particularly life-threatening outburst that was exacerbated by his drug addiction, Kalili sought help from the Domestic Violence Action Center in August.

She had bounced between the homes of her family and friends to avoid being found by her abuser until a couple of weeks ago when she moved into a one-bedroom apartment with the help of DVAC.

“It’s been real hard because I haven’t really seen my daughter,” Kalili said. “So living here is good because I can finally have her without worrying about, what if he comes.”

Kalili said she met her ex- boyfriend in 2020 when they crossed paths at a farmers market at a shopping center. They realized they had attended the same high school, and after returning home she found he had sent her a Facebook message. They connected and eventually began dating.

“He made me feel like I actually felt the love that I wanted and needed,” Kalili said. “But after being with him, it made me realize that no matter how much he wanted and needed me, he still did what he did.”

Kalili said she eventually learned that he was regularly cheating on her on top of routinely calling her names, raising his voice and pushing her. He would become dangerously aggressive at least once a month, and it was always when he was coming off a high, she said.

>> RELATED: Good Neighbor Fund welcomes donors

In August she said there was a particularly violent outburst that made her realize that he was actually trying to kill her. The last straw was that same night when he threatened Fefiloi, who had been trying to find help for her mother.

The incident left Kalili and Fefiloi deeply traumatized. Kalili moved out, but when she continued to receive death threats from him she filed for a temporary restraining order. He soon violated it by coming to her apartment, although Kalili hadn’t been home at the time.

“It’s been a real struggle just to get around,” she said. “Every time we go places, we have to have an exit plan.”

Fefiloi now suffers from nightmares and a persistent fear for her mother’s safety, and they both attend therapy to help them mentally heal.

Despite their continued struggles, Kalili said she can’t help but see the light at the end of the tunnel.

“I may have lost a lot and lost a bunch of myself,” Kalili said. “I lost things that I earned my money for, but it’s all materialistic. I’m still alive, my daughter’s still alive. … We may not be able to get past the trauma, but it feels good to just slowly breathe and get one step ahead of everything.”

Any donations through the Good Neighbor Fund would help her and her daughter get back on their feet, Kalili said.

For Christmas, Kalili would like pillowcases, kitchen appliances and any other household supplies to furnish her new apartment. Fefiloi would love a Squishmallow and anything related to Harry Potter or Baby Yoda.

BE A GOOD NEIGHBOR

The annual Good Neighbor Fund, a charitable partnership between Helping Hands Hawaii, the Honolulu Star- Advertiser and First Hawaiian Bank, helps struggling individuals and families during the holiday season. This year under the Adopt A Family Program, more than 600 families are seeking assistance with food, clothing, toys and household items. Donations to the Good Neighbor Fund also assist Helping Hands with operational costs for the nonprofit’s Community Clearinghouse Program, which helps people with basic necessities throughout the year, at 2100 N. Nimitz Highway. The hours for Adopt A Family donations (new items) are from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. For general donations for the Community Clearinghouse (gently used items), drop-off is from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays.

How to help

People can drop off cash or checks to the “Good Neighbor Fund” at any First Hawaiian Bank branch statewide until Dec. 31. To donate specifically to Kylyn Kalili and her family, include the code: DVAC-04.

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