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An Open Letter to Nanci Kriedman

Executive Director

Domestic Violence Clearinghouse and Legal Hotline

(Condensed from original)


March 10, 2005


Nanci Kriedman

Executive Director

Domestic Violence Clearinghouse and Legal Hotline


RE:  Finding a Voice After Abuse



Dear Ms. Kriedman,


The morning after I submitted my editorial, “Chipping Away at Domestic Violence”, I awakened feeling terrified.  I wondered what retribution I might experience for raising my voice to criticize popular politics.  Few within my inner circle of family, friends, or attorneys wanted me to do it.  For two years, I had listened to their well-meaning advice; “dumb down”, “stay under the radar”, “wear navy blue and flat shoes”, and “for gawd’s sake, don’t write anything”.  I considered the price my child might pay for my attempt to reclaim some personal voice, and I considered the price to her if I did not.  In this context, I was somewhat heartened by your response posted to the Hawaii Reporter on March 2, 2005.   


Yes.  Re-victimization through the family court system is a real phenomenon.  The American Bar Association Commission on Domestic Violence states that litigious conduct after a separation is a indicator of domestic abuse.  Moreover, a study conducted by the American Judges Foundation concluded that abusers manage to win custody of their children a whopping 70% of the time.  The truth of re-victimization, and the reality that many good parents of both genders, crawl off the battlefield having lost their children through the misuse of domestic violence laws, is precisely why I feel compelled to exercise my voice.


With regard to my case, you are technically correct in that the DVCLH was not involved in the custody matter which was heard by a mainland court.  I believe however, the DVCLH did sponsor my abuser in his criminal motions designed either to gain custody, punish me, or both.  If so, then public or privately donated funds were squandered to assist a deeply troubled man in his campaign of abuse by proxy. Yet, regardless of how my abuser’s attorney (the current Board President of the DVCLH) was compensated, the breadth of the litigious maltreatment that was visited upon me could not have been accomplished without the collusion of the local domestic violence community.


No system or organization should be judged solely by the antics of one or two loose cannons.  Yet, when one of those loose cannons, my abuser’s attorney, ascends to the helm of a powerful Board of Directors, that organization not only sanctions these heinous tactics, it perpetuates a cult of vigilantism.  The campaign against domestic abuse is a noble crusade but regardless of the redeeming value of their message, a bully is a bully is a bully.


As far as contributing solutions as you suggest, I would be happy to do so once I’ve reclaimed my voice, my honor, and the place in society that belongs to me.



Scarlette McCallum Nakamura


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