By Bert Eljera
LAS VEGAS – They gathered at her old workplace and talked tenderly of her, how funny she can be sometimes.
Holding candles in the late-afternoon, the memorial attracted more than 100 people, drawn to pay homage to a nursing assistant who they said was a dear friend and joy at work.
But while she was a fun co-worker, she was also living a life they only now know was hellish at home.
Daisy Dahan, who died last week at the hands of her husband, was honored in a memorial Friday at the Life Care Center on Vegas Drive, with the event also serving as a fund-raiser to raise money to send her body to the Philippines.
“Today we raise the voice of Daisy Dahan ,the Filipina victim of domestic violence,” said Minddie Minddie Lloyd, who belongs to the group Bamboo Bridges, a non-profit that seeks to create awareness of domestic violence within the Asian-American community in Las Vegas.
Lloyd and other friends of Dahan believe she was long a victim of domestic violence but like many in the Asian-American and minority communities did not cry out or sought out help.
“ it is a sad reminder that this kind of thing happens with regularity in the immigrant community,” Lloyd said.
Dahan, 28, was killed by her husband, Richard Magdayo Dahan, a 40-year-old unemployed chef who used three knives to cut her up last Friday in their Las Vegas apartment.
Magdayo Dahan surrendered to police and has described in gruesome detail how he killed Dahan, saying if he were to do it again, he will still do the same.
In a police report released Monday, Magdayo Dahan said that he got angry when Dahan again asked for divorce last Friday.
Dahan said he took a large knife out of their dishwasher. He then walked up behind Daisy and stabbed her in the base of her neck.
Daisy began fighting with her husband and he forced her to the floor. He then began trying to saw at her neck with the serrated neck, but the knife became tangled in her hair.
Dahan next used a meat cleaver. He struck her several times on her head. After that, he stabbed her in her abdomen and placed the knife in her mouth, cutting outward from the corner.
He then showered, dressed up, and drove to a police station, where he said, ” I think i have killed my wife.”
As they gathered Friday, many of Dahan’s friends and co-workers were just learning the extent of the situation in Dahan’s home.
A certified nursing assistant, Dahan worked caring people at Life Care Center, a nursing home, and was loved by her patients and co-workers. Her trouble at home and her efforts to get out of her marriage, however, was only known to a few.
“She always assured us that she’ll get out of it,” friend and co-worker Elizabeth Fisher told a local television reporter.
She was one of the only people Dahan told about the abuse, and Fisher said she should have been more persistent to know more and help.
“We have some guilt. She just kept telling us, ‘give me some time, we’ll take care of this, just a little time.'”
Domestic violence expert Lisa Lynn Chapman of Safe Nest told KLAS- TV Las Vegas, abuse often goes unreported, especially in Hispanic and Filipino communities.
“There’s very large pressure from community leaders not to air any dirty laundry,” Chapman said.
For some women, seeking help comes with even more barriers.
“If you don’t speak English very well then having that language barrier at a mainstream organization like Safe Nest can be very intimidating,” she said.
When Fisher saw Daisy crying, she said the 28-year-old tried to hide it.
“You want to hold on to the culture, in your marriage, you stay with the marriage and divorce is not an option,” Fisher said.
Part of the solution is to teach girls and women to expect and demand to be treated with respect and to be valued, added Lloyd.
“This also behooves us to teach men and boys to value women by being loving and be respectful to their women on their lives,” Lloyd said..
In addition to the memorial service, Life Care Center is holding a car wash and bake sale Saturday, Jan. 18 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The center is located at 6151 Vegas Drive near Jones Boulevard.