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Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

By Diane Gubatayao


April 02, 2012
Monday PM

Last Thursday, Ketchikan community members of all ages marched together to “choose respect”. We were one of over 122 communities throughout Alaska to stand up and demonstrate that we each have the power to end domestic violence and sexual assault. But it goes beyond these issues. Respect is the foundation of all healthy relationships. Whether it is a parent disciplining a child, or one adult resolving differences with another adult, or a teacher instructing students, or young people learning how to relate to one another, respect is at the center.

Just as it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a community to end violence. In the year 2010 there were a combined 454 cases of domestic violence reported by the Alaska State Troopers and Ketchikan Police Department; that is well over an average of one case a day. In a recent editorial, Governor Sean Parnell stated that “for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, the choice of leaving a violent relationship or calling the police to report the assault are anything but easy. It requires getting others involved and overcoming fear, embarrassment, self-doubt and shame.” Very few people have the strength to leave alone. They need others to offer support, to act, to intervene. They need a community that sends a clear message that violence is not acceptable.

In Ketchikan there are many agencies, groups and individuals working together to create a community where respect is the norm. As Governor Parnell shared, “please do not underestimate the positive impact you have on fellow Alaskans by simply showing up at a “Choose Respect” event.” He reported that he has heard from many survivors who saw their neighbors holding up signs against domestic violence and sexual assault, and that it inspired them to take steps toward safety and healing. It may even have saved someone’s life.

If you are someone who needs help or know someone who needs help, there is a 24 hour crisis line staffed by Women In Safe Homes at 907-225-9474 or toll free 1-800-478-9474. We are here along with the rest of the community to offer help and support, and to take a stand for respect.

Diane Gubatayao
Director of Development and Community, WISH
Ketchikan, AK


Published April 02, 2012



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