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Choose Respect: Governor’s campaign against sex abuse, domestic violence is a terrible necessity

Fairbanks Daily News-Miner editorial

About 160 or so Alaska communities, including Fairbanks, held rallies on Thursday to call continued attention to the problems of domestic violence, sexual assault and child sexual abuse in Alaska.

The “Choose Respect” effort that Gov. Sean Parnell started in 2009 with 18 partner communities has grown phenomenally in just a short time.

The governor, his administration and the many people who have joined with him in these few years should be applauded. But we know that’s not what they want. What they want, and what we all should want, is for domestic violence, sexual assault and child sexual abuse to vanish from the Alaska landscape.

Here are a few of the facts from the Choose Respect website:

• The 2010 Alaska Victimization Survey found that 58 percent of Alaska women have experienced intimate partner or sexual violence, that 47.6 percent of Alaska women have experienced intimate partner violence, and that 37.1 percent of Alaska women have experienced sexual violence.

• From 2001 to 2011, Alaska State Troopers responded to or investigated 40,796 domestic violence offenses, 5,484 sexual abuse of a minor offenses, and 4,483 sexual assault offenses.

• From 2003 to 2010, the average rate of reported forcible rape was 2.5 times higher in Alaska than nationally, 2.6 times higher in Anchorage than nationally and 4.5 times higher in Fairbanks than nationally.

• 303 (29 percent) of the victims of sex crimes in trooper reports were 13 to 15 years old, and 74 percent were younger than 18.

Is it any wonder that people have had enough? That people, that communities, are wanting to put a stop to it?

Gov. Parnell will eventually leave office, but the Choose Respect program he began should continue as long as domestic violence, sexual assault and child sexual abuse remain a problem in our great state.

The Daily News-Miner encourages residents to make themselves heard through the Opinion pages. Readers' letters and columns also appear online at newsminer.com. Contact the editor with questions at letters@newsminer.com or call 459-7574.

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Guidelines

The Daily News-Miner encourages residents to make themselves heard through the Opinion pages. Readers' letters and columns also appear online at newsminer.com. Contact the editor with questions at letters@newsminer.com or call 459-7574.

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