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

By Paulita Lasola Malay, MFT

What does "serendipity" mean? The dictionary defines it as "finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for." That's how I found my niche in the domestic violence field – by serendipity – I didn't look for it.

I am much honored and privileged to accept from the Filipina Women's Network the Vagina Warrior 2009 Award. What is a "Vagina Warrior?" Someone who has suffered or witnessed violence, grieved it, transformed it, and then does extraordinary work to make sure it does not happen to anyone else in their community.

"Suffered or witnessed violence" do not fit me; "grieved it"... perhaps, but, "transformed it" – that's what fits me. Yes, I treated, helped, and supported victims and survivors of domestic violence, but I also transformed some of those who perpetuated it.

During the trial of the O.J. Simpson case, I was an intern at Pyramid Alternatives, a mental health agency in Pacifica where there were already 8 batterers' intervention groups in existence. Many Filipinos were arrested at that time and one was monolingual who could not be placed in the English-speaking groups. The clinical director, Mr. Bernie Carter, assigned him to me. I protested that I didn't know what domestic violence was or is and he said, "Well, Paulita, now is the time to learn."

I was just a step ahead of my client by reading whatever books there were on domestic violence. One by one, three more monolingual Filipinos were arrested and assigned to me. With four men in individual counseling, I was told that I could now form a group which, until now, is known as DV9.

Through the Alternatives to Violence program of Pyramid Alternatives, I find it is possible to transform men who are willing to change themselves. No one can change another person, I cannot change anyone. But when one is willing to change, it can be done. And I have a living proof of that in the person of Philip Andres.

Years ago, Philip was court-mandated into a 52-week program and he enrolled into the group that I facilitated in Tagalog-English. He was into all sorts of trouble; I may have terminated him from the group two or three times. When he finally completed, he enrolled at SFSU and in December 2008 he graduated BS Nursing, Summa Cum Laude. And in March 2009, he passed the Board Exams and is now a Registered Nurse. Philip Andres is living proof of that transformation!