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Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

Break the Chain

By Diane Gubatayao


February 04, 2015
Wednesday AM

What do one billion and 50% have in common? They both represent statistics about violence against women and girls. According to the World Health Organization, one third or one billion women and girls around the world experience either domestic or sexual violence in their lifetime. Here in Ketchikan, according to a survey conducted by the University of Alaska Anchorage Justice Center, 1 out of 2 women over 18 years of age in Ketchikan have been victims of DV or SA in their lifetime. These are staggering numbers and very real.

There isn’t a day that goes by without some report of such violence: assaults in the military (including allegations involving the Alaska National Guard); assaults on college campuses resulting in Department of Justice investigations at 50 universities including the University of Alaska, Fairbanks; accusations against Bill Cosby; Boko Haram kidnapping 200 Nigerian school girls; the case of Heisman Trophy winner, Jameis Winston. It is important to note that there are male victims, too, but the facts reflect that the overwhelming majority, 85% of victims, are female.

For three years I had the privilege of working at Women In Safe Homes and meeting some of the most courageous women I have ever known. So, the issue of violence against women and girls has become part of my being. And I am of an age now where I can openly share that I am one of that 50%.

On February 14th, here in Ketchikan, we will commemorate One Billion Rising. 1BR is a global event, where over 200 countries celebrate the solidarity of women and men standing for justice. I encourage everyone to explore the website: to witness how different peoples and cultures are coming together to change the world. 1BR evokes the words of poet Maya Angelou, “still I rise” about transcending adversity and injustice. Why should we care? because 1BR is about basic human dignity, the very principles upon which this country was founded. The theme song of 1BR is “Break the Chain” about defeating the cycle of generational violence. The time has come, the time is now. 1BR is about creating a new story—it is about empowering women and men both to live with mutual respect and equal rights, and to celebrate the unique beauty of every individual, man or woman, in peace and harmony. Imagine what an amazing world that would be.

We hope you will join us here in Ketchikan on the evening of February 14th at Kayhi gym to be part of this global event. Let’s break the chain.

Diane Gubatayao
Ketchikan, Alaska

About: Diane Gubatayao is a member of the Promoting Respectful Relationships Task Force of the Ketchikan Wellness Coalition, sponsors of One Billion Rising in Ketchikan

Received February 03, 2015 - Published February 04, 2015


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