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Forum addresses domestic violence against Filipino women

Posted at 7:34 PM, Nov 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-02 09:01:32-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - The recent deaths of three Filipino women in San Diego have local law enforcement and community groups addressing domestic violence.

The Filipino Resource Center, the San Diego County District Attorney's Office, and victims' family members held a first-of-its-kind forum Monday to address domestic abuse in Filipino households.

The sister of Maya Millete talked about the impact of domestic violence on children and extended family.

"I don't want them to be like my sister, end up like my sister, just keep her as an example to the public," said Maricris Drouaillet.

Larry Millete is in jail facing charges in Maya's murder. The family has been searching for her body since January.

The couple was married 20 years, but Maya's sister says there were no signs of trouble, until the very end.

"She never really shared much information. She kept it to herself. She was a strong woman, so focused on career and children," said Drouillete.

Prosecutors say Maya is one of three local women to die at the hands of an alleged abuser in the last several months. Investigators say Jay Barcelona allegedly stabbed his wife Rhona, during an argument in their Lemon Grove home in April. Recently, Ali Abuluban was charged in the killings of his wife Ana, and her friend Raymond Barron. It happened at their apartment in the East Village. Prosecutors say at least two of the three women were trying to end their marriages.

"There are sometimes triggers, filing for divorce, or a restraining order, or maybe leaving that creates an escalation of violence, especially in the first seventy-two hours," said San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan.

The domestic violence forum is a first in a series of forums with the hope of ending the cycle of abuse targeting Filipino women.

"This is a community that takes a lot of pride in family and making sure that they stay together as a family unit. There is some shame around divorce," said Stephan.

Maya's sister said the family tried to support her as much as possible.

"We always say we will support you even Larry, whatever is best for them and the kids," said Drouaillet.

Monday's forum was held virtually from the Hall of Justice. The next one is scheduled for Nov. 19 at Southwestern College.

If you or a loved one needs help getting out of an abusive relationship click here for resources.