HONOLULU - Corrine Moreno can remember a life of fear: walking on eggshells in the house she shared with an abusive husband.

Eventually, she killed him.

In an instant, she went from victim, to defendant.

"All it said was I stabbed my husband and that I was the bad guy. There was no motive or reason behind that. So it looked like I was the bad guy. That was the only time I fought back because my son's life was in danger," Moreno said.

For Island News employee Diamond Badajos, it was her aunt, beaten to death by the woman's boyfriend on a residential street in Kailua.

"I never really get emotional but hearing all these stories, it kind of hits home and you relive it all again," Badajos said. 

These are difficult stories to tell.

But they are being told, as the Domestic Violence Action center launched its new year with a media summit.

After a wave of women came forward in 2017 with stories of violence and sexual assault, CEO Nancy Kriedman wants domestic violence to be front and center in the upcoming election season.

"Domestic violence is a problem of academic proportion, it touches communities throughout the island, throughout the state. It is costing the community an enormous amount of money, it is impacting the hearts and spirits and health of island families. We have to address it," Kriedman said. 

They're banking on outreach programs and more public awareness this year, Kriedman says solutions start at home. 

"A safe family is at the core of a healthy community. and that's what our goal is," Kriedman said. 

Men in attendance wore a white ribbon showing support for the cause and for women who share their stories.

Sharing stories takes courage and sometimes courage gets a boost from a single word.

Instead of seeing themselves as victims, women who escape abusive relationships can consider themselves survivors.

For more information: 

Website: domesticviolenceactioncenter.org/

Oahu helpline: (808) 531-3771

Toll-free helpline: (800) 690-6200