SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

By Diane Gubatayao


March 19, 2013

Reliable statistics tell us that two out of three Alaskan women will experience domestic violence or sexual assault in their lifetimes. Alaska leads the nation in this statistic; we are a sad number one. Here in Ketchikan it is estimated that there are two DV cases a day on average and one major sexual assault a month.

On Thursday evening, March 28th, along with 140 other Alaska communities, Ketchikan citizens of all ages will participate in the 4th annual Choose Respect March led by partners Ketchikan Indian Community, WISH, Akeela and the Southeast Alaska Discovery Center. Marching is easy, standing up is hard, but for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, the choice of leaving a violent relationship or reporting an assault to police can be terrifying. When secret, horrific crimes are revealed, it can create conflict in families.

Respect touches every relationship of our lives: marriage, parenting, family, friends, co-workers, schoolmates, customers, and now social media. It is the essence of all relationships. Imagine a child afraid to leave her room for fear of seeing her mother being hurt; imagine a student afraid to ride the bus or go to recess for fear of being bullied; imagine a co-worker avoiding others for fear of being the subject of gossip. The power to create positive change, the power to transform from bystanders to upstanders, the power to say to perpetrators we will no longer tolerate your behavior, and the power to say to survivors we will stand beside you and do everything within our ability to bring you justice and to protect you—that power lies with us, the community.

As Governor Parnell has stated, “It will take all of us, in every community, to end this epidemic. We can lend our courage to victims and survivors by taking a visible and vocal stand for what we want as a social norm: Respect for all.”

We encourage you to take that “visible and vocal stand” and join us on Thursday the 28th, starting at 5:30 pm at the State Building. Ketchikan bagpipers will lead us as we march through downtown to the Southeast Alaska Discovery Center for a short program and refreshments. Our special guest this year will be Michael Geraghty, Alaska State Attorney General.

For today, if you are someone who needs help or know someone who needs help, WISH operates a 24 hour crisis hotline at 907-225-9474. Let’s stop being number one except for making respect the norm.


Diane Gubatayao
Director of Development and Community Services
Women In Safe Homes
Ketchikan, AK


Received March 18, 2013 - Published March 19, 2013



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