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A voice for victims: Miss Hawaii Collegiate speaking out against domestic abuse

A University of Hawaii at Hilo student wants to use her latest pageant win to raise awareness about domestic abuse.

Guinevere Davenport, a Kailua-Kona native studying molecular biology and biomedical sciences, was crowned Miss Hawaii Collegiate 2018 during the statewide scholarship pageant Oct. 29 at the Hawaii Convention Center in Honolulu.

Davenport will represent Hawaii in June at the national Miss Collegiate America Pageant in Arkansas.

“It was so surreal,” Davenport, 22, told the Tribune-Herald on Wednesday of her win. “I know that’s the typical answer, but it’s just a completely surreal feeling and a completely humbling experience.”

Davenport, a Kealakehe High School alum, said she was raised by her mother, a domestic abuse survivor. At age 17, Davenport said she also entered an abusive relationship. She moved in with her boyfriend to save money while in college — a decision she later regretted — and eventually became isolated from friends and classmates and felt manipulated and controlled by her partner.

She eventually was able to leave the relationship and moved in with her mother. She’s now pursuing a career as a doctor of medicine focusing on sleep medicine and neurology.

“It’s a sticky situation,” Davenport said of domestic abuse. “If it wasn’t so sticky, there wouldn’t be the cycle of abuse happening in our community but I was able to end that relationship and gain strength in myself. Seeing how common it is in the community is a scary statistic. No one deserves to feel trapped that way.”

Davenport now hopes to be a role model for other women in abusive relationships and show them that “there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.”

The scholarship pageant’s national anti-bullying campaign is called Building Respect and Values for Everyone, or BRAVE. Contestants and titleholders share the campaign’s message during school visits.

“Stepping outside my comfort zone and doing a pageant was something I never would have imagined myself doing in high school or middle school and yet here I am,” Davenport said. “I found an old picture of myself and I just looked at that picture and said ‘You had no idea where you would be right now.’ I’m just so glad I didn’t give in.”

“Life is a valley and there’s a lot of lows but at the end of every low there’s always a beautiful view at the top of the valley,” Davenport continued. “So I say (to women experiencing tough times) just keep on going and keep doing you. Just know that there’s always something better at the end.”

The Miss Hawaii Collegiate pageant program also includes Miss Hawaii JR High School and Miss Hawaii High School categories. Contestants are scored in three phases: personal interview (40 percent), fashion runway (20 percent) and evening gown (40 percent).

Davenport also received the Community Service, Best in Interview and Photogenic awards.

Kyra Alcoran, also of Kailua-Kona, was crowned this year’s “Brave book author winner.” Alcoran, a senior at Hawaii Technology Academy, received the accolade for her book “What a Beautiful Flower.”

Email Kirsten Johnson at kjohnson@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

 

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