20% of Hawaii Residents Experience Coercive Control | Deposit Photos

20% of Hawaii Residents Experience Coercive Control

Coercive Control By Jun 14, 2024

A new report by the Hawaii State Coalition Against Domestic Violence (HSCADV), funded by the Hawai’i State Department of Health and Women’s Fund of Hawai’i, paints a disturbing picture of intimate partner violence (IPV) in the Aloha State. The study shows that 1 in 5 Hawaii residents report experiencing coercive control.

The research, conducted by Anthology Research, a FINN Partners Company, use a two-pronged approach. A quantitative survey polled over 700 residents, revealing that 20% had experienced coercive control and 18% had experienced intimidation or physical violence from an intimate partner.

The report also examined the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. 28% of IPV survivors reported that the abuse worsened during COVID-19, showing that the pandemic’s exacerbated a pre-existing problem.

However, the study ventured beyond statistics. Qualitative interviews with survivors revealed the significant obstacles they face in seeking safety and support. They were thwarted by financial restrictions, long waitlists, and income exceeding the threshold. Vital resources such as legal assistance, childcare, job training, and therapy are essential resources in the path towards a life free from fear.

The report also reveals the disproportionate impact on specific demographics. The incidence of IPV is greater among younger adults, Native Hawaiians, Filipinos, and people living in larger households. This data shows the need for targeted outreach efforts and resources refined to address these vulnerabilities.

Survivors of coercive control invariably experience multiple traumas, including sexism, racism, colonialism, and historical trauma. A trauma-informed response is required to address these challenges. Furthermore, the report acknowledges that Pacific Islanders, Black, and Hispanic survivors were underrepresented in the findings and further study is necessary to provide adequate support for survivors of all backgrounds.

The report points out that when it comes to coercive control the question is not, “Why didn’t they leave?” but “What obstacles are preventing survivors from living free from harm?”

A solutions-oriented approach is needed to help survivors and address the long-term the long-term economic, public health, and safety implications of IPV. Dismantling the underlying power dynamics that fuel these behaviors and holding its perpetrators to account are fundamental aspects of ending the scourge of coercive control.

On September 15, 2020, Hawaii became the first US state to adopt coercive control legislation, expanding the definition of domestic violence in House Bill 2425 to include, “coercive Control between family or household members for the purposes of insurance and protective orders.” 

The report is a reminded that coercive control is not a simple problem with a facile solution. It’s a complex puzzle of societal issues, economic disparities, and historical wounds. By recognizing its multifaceted nature, Hawai’i can work towards creating tangible solutions for its residents.


Photos: Wirestock / Deposit Photos.


Manya Wakefield is a recovery coach specializing in cognitive behavioral therapy and coercive trauma. Her expertise has been featured in publications such as Newsweek, Elle, Cosmopolitan, and Huffington Post. In 2019, she launched the social impact platform Narcissistic Abuse Rehab, building a global audience through human rights advocacy. The same year, she published the book ‘Are You In An Emotionally Abusive Relationship,’ which is used in domestic violence recovery groups around the world. In 2020, Manya developed The Coercive Control Legislation Global Database. She is also the host of The Narcissistic Abuse Rehab Podcast, which is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Amazon.