Paulita Lasola Malay
Licensed Marriage Family Therapist


Articles featuring Paulita


Role Model? Or Possibility Model? by David D. Burns, MD, the Feeling Good Insititute, MAY 20, 2017

Domestic Violence and the Filipino Community by Shelene Atanacio, Filipina Women Against Violence

All in the Mind by Cherie M. Querol Moreno, Filipinas Magazine, March 2006

Serendipity by Paulita Lasola Malay, MFT, May 2, 2009

From Darkness to Enlightenment by Philip Andres, April 27, 2009

Domestic Violence and the Filipino Community
By Shelene Atanacio

According to San Francisco's Department on the Status of Women, an estimated 3.9 million women are physically abused every eight seconds. More than three women are murdered by their domestic partners every day in the United States.

The Filipino community has been visible recently through several highly publicized cases of Filipinas being murdered by their partners. In response, the City of San Francisco developed a strategic plan to address the problem. Unfortunately, thousands of domestic violence incidents go underreported each year. Santa Clara County reported that in six deaths related to domestic violence last year, no previous reports were filed that may have alerted or warned authorities of a potential problem.

I interviewed Paulita Lasola Malay, a licensed marriage and family therapist in San Mateo County, about her observations on domestic violence in the Filipino Community. Malay was Filipino outreach coordinator and bilingual community educator at the Center for Domestic Violence Prevention (Now known as CORA) of the San Mateo County. She focused her efforts on educating the community about domestic violence and its prevention. She also founded the Filipino Outreach Program of the agency.

Malay said that domestic violence occurs in all communities. She was hesitant to claim however, that the Filipino community has the higher rates of domestic violence than any other ethnicity. Malay along with the Asian Women's Shelter agreed that gathering accurate statistics is difficult since most cases are never reported or are kept confidential. The fact is, domestic violence crosses all racial and ethnic boundaries; it happens in one out of four relationships regardless of race or color.

The only relevant statistics that indicates domestic violence to be a growing problem in the Filipino community was in a 1998 Homicide Survey from the San Francisco District Attorney's Office that stated, "40 percent of women murdered by their partners were Filipinas."

Malay believes one possible explanation may be the mail-order bride phenomenon. To escape poverty, Filipinas risk the safety of home and come to the U.S. as brides to men who are essentially strangers.

Another factor may be the religious upbringing of Filipinos and the believe that marriage is permanent while divorce is morally wrong. Religious leaders often reinforce victimization by advising women "to carry the cross the Lord asked you to bear." Traditionally, Filipinas also have the tendency to put the needs of their partners before their own. In turn, these factors often tend to encourage Filipinas to suffer in silence.

When Malay started her private practice as a mental health clinician / psychotherapist / relationship specialist, Filipinos comprised less than 10 percent of her clientele. Most Filipinos believe that psychotherapy is for "crazy" people.

Malay facilitates intervention groups for people accused of domestic violence. She leads two groups for Filipinos and conducted in Tagalog or Taglish {Tagalog / English). The third group is for female offenders. A year ago, six of the 12 participants were Filipinas.

In 1998, Malay established a support group in Daily City for Filipinas who were involved in abusive relationships. Today, she remains the only Filipina psychotherapist. In fact, she's the only Asian psychotherapist in the field of domestic violence treatment and prevention in San Mateo County.

Malay has private practice in brief growth-oriented therapy, cross-cultural or inter-racial relationships, in anger management, and in attaining healthy relationships. Go to

Shelene Atanacio is a cast member of The Vagina Monologues 2005 produced by FWN. She's an actor / writer / playwright. More information can be found at