If we look at our old texts, our legends, our own myths, histories, our writings, our art forms, and music, you may find them filled with oppressive, denigrating images of violence against women (and sometimes men). Some have said that domestic violence was around before the coming of foreigners to our shores and others have said domestic violence occurred after their arrival. Which of these two statements is true?

Then we have others, who like myself have come to an understanding that maybe it was not domestic violence against women that was being interpreted in these mo'olelo but a broken kapu that was being tended to.

What are your thoughts on this subject? Like the story of Kahalaopuna of Manoa, are there other stories out there that tell a different tale?

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Good question. There were cases of jealousy and there may have been some violence but not prevalent as it is today. The kanaka maoli believed the head (po'o) was sacred and you never strike the person anywhere on the head; it was considered kapu. The idea of beating a chilld or other person was fostered by the missionaries who felt they had a right to beat the devil out of the people or to make a child comply. This action spurred many to think it was a proper way since this behaviour was from the outside world and was acceptable. The missionaries (Cooke) used to beat the ali'i children at the Royal School for not complying with them or breaking their rules.

Then you also had the wars and battles fought by and with both sexes and they fought side by side. It wasn't a gender thing. The only sexist thing I can think of is women weren't allowed to enter most of the heiau nor eat together. This is why Ka'ahumanu wanted to break up the kapu system since the council of chiefs were held within the heiau and she wanted to be part of the lawmaking system as kuhina nui, a new position she created.

The other concern was when the woman had her ma'i that she would defile the kapu and several protocol. They respected each other's capabilities as men and women and what they could handle physically. It was called co-operation and common sense. LOL...

The Kanawai Mamalahoa established by Kamehameha demonstrates that violence does not pay as the consequence was death. The amnesty he gave the warriors at Nu'uanu Pali after the battles showed his mercy and peace reigned throughout his kingdom. These were the two first edicts he gave the people.

The U.S. emasculation of the men resulted in they taking it out on their wives in some cases and the alcohol warped their thinking. Today with the U.S. WASP culture dominating the islands, it's no wonder domestic violence has flourished as much as it does. The embattled warrior spirit has resurfaced in some men and women; others have used their warrior spirit through diplomacy and activism and through avenues that are created for them to exercise their warrior skills.

That's my take on it.



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