Sister of missing mother from Chula Vista speaks at domestic violence forum
SAN DIEGO – Philippine community leaders joined law enforcement officials on Monday for a discussion on warning signs of domestic violence following the deaths of three Filipino women this year.
The Philippine Resource Center has partnered with the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office for the online forum following the disappearance and suspected murder of Maya Millete, the shooting death of Ana Abulaban and the death with a knife from Rhona Barcelon. All three victims were Filipino women and the crimes are believed to have resulted from domestic violence.
“I would have liked to know a lot more about domestic violence,” said Maricris Drouaillet, sister of Maya Millette. “I couldn’t imagine that her husband for 20 years would hurt her. I was so, so wrong.
Maya’s husband Larry Millette was arrested in October and charged with murder after a nine-month search for the missing mother of three found no sign of her. Larry has denied the charges and Maya’s body is still missing.
Drouaillet spoke at the forum on Monday, saying she hopes her sister’s story can be a lesson to others. The discussion was tailored to the Filipino community, but organizers said everyone can benefit as many warning signs of domestic violence are similar across cultures.
“The more the victim is ready to separate, we call it a trigger event. Whether it’s a divorce petition or a restraining order, the more likely this violence is to escalate into homicide, ”said District Attorney Summer Stephan.
Stephan cautioned against signs to watch out for, including jealous and controlling behavior, and offered advice on how to help potential victims.
“Stay nearby to notice the red flags and to help the victim escape this violence,” Stephan said.
Community leaders have said that domestic violence is a historically underreported crime and that it rings even more so for some cultures.
“As Filipinos, we are very private. So I think it’s not reported because we don’t want others to know that we have issues within our family. We want to take care of it ourselves, ”said Lt. Al Ambito of the San Diego Police Department.
Forum leaders urged victims to report domestic violence despite cultural barriers. Law enforcement and advocacy support resources are available in a number of languages throughout San Diego County.
Anyone in need of assistance can call the District Attorney’s Domestic Violence Advocates at 619-531-4041. A national hotline is also available at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).
Suggest a correction