March 31, 2010
"No longer will we accept a culture of silence and shame, of convenience, and of looking the other way," Governor Sean Parnell said. "The responsibility to safeguard Alaska's families and future belongs to us all. I call on our church, synagogue and community leaders, our elected officials, our Native elders and corporations, I call on our families and communities and every Alaskan to live out the truth of our values, and to do what is right. Together we can make a difference."
Photo courtesy Office of the Governor
Governor Parnell kicked off a rally on the steps of the Capitol and led a march through downtown Juneau. Attorney General Dan Sullivan and U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski led a march from Anchorage's Delaney Park Strip to a rally in Town Square Park; Lieutenant Governor Craig Campbell led a rally at the Golden Heart Plaza in Fairbanks; and state commissioners and community partners across the state joined forces to participate in events from Barrow to Ketchikan.
Cheryl DeWitt an Education Specialist with the Ketchikan-based Women In Safe Homes (WISH) said W.I.S.H. partnered with agencies, volunteers, and businesses in Ketchikan and surrounding areas to provide activities for the public awareness campaign "Alaskans Choose Respect."
Ketchikan joined other cities and villages in Alaska today at Governor Parnell's request to "March Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault". Ketchikan participants marched from the University of Alaska Southeast campus to The Plaza Mall to create an awareness of domestic violence and sexual assault.
DeWitt said WISH is also working
in schools and providing programs to promote healthy relationships
and address sexual assault/domestic violence prevention among
Ketchikan's youth and young adults. "Be the Change"
youth group and "LEAP" youth/young adult groups explore
self development and positive mediums of self expression. "We
also work with the Office of Children's Trust to reunify families
and offer parenting courses. We believe educating young people
and giving tools to parents will help create self awareness and
ultimately prevent unhealthy behaviors," said DeWitt in
Governor Parnell today also signed legislation that would empower magistrate and district court judges to grant protective orders in cases of sexual assault, in addition to domestic violence and stalking. HB 307, sponsored by Representative Lindsey Holmes, is especially important to many rural communities in Alaska that have access only to magistrate or district courts.
The governor has sponsored four bills aimed at ending the cycle of domestic violence and sexual assault in Alaska. The legislation would toughen sentences for sex offenders, establish standards for post-conviction DNA testing, revise bail laws, and pay for a new crime lab.
Sources of News:
Publish A Letter in SitNews Read Letters/Opinions