Effective Date: Thursday, March 31st, 2011
WHEREAS, the epidemic of domestic violence, sexual assault, and child sexual abuse impacts Alaskan adults and children, tears apart communities, and weakens families; and
WHEREAS, every community throughout Alaska suffers from the epidemic of sexual assault and domestic violence. Awareness, education, support systems, and open dialogue are pivotal first steps to eliminating these crimes from our communities; and
WHEREAS, over half of all women in Alaska are reported to have experienced intimate partner or sexual violence at some point in their lives; and
WHEREAS, Alaska’s rate of forcible rape remains one of the highest in the nation at 2.3 times the national average. In 2010, 61 percent of reported issues by victims were regarding acts of domestic violence; and service programs throughout Alaska provided over 86,900 safe shelter nights to victims; and
WHEREAS, the lives of survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence are often emotionally-riddled by fear, shame, and despair. We must not preserve silence, but rather restore a culture of awareness, respect, and action that gives permission for survivors to step forward; and
WHEREAS, too many perpetrators of domestic violence and sexual assault are repeat offenders; we must strengthen law enforcement and prosecution, and train additional Village Public Safety Officers and Alaska State Troopers with the shared goals of putting offenders behind bars and protecting victims; and
WHEREAS, the future of Alaska rests in the hands of our children, and we must protect and educate them at an early age. Indeed, we must teach our boys that being a real man means to respect others, using strength to protect rather than to control; and
WHEREAS, “Choose Respect” is a statewide initiative that challenges all Alaskans to end this epidemic of evil and pass on a legacy of respect and honor to our children.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Sean Parnell, Governor of the State of Alaska, do hereby proclaim on March 31, 2011 that Alaska is a state that does:
and ask that all Alaskans join with me in standing up against domestic violence, sexual assault, and child sexual abuse. Together, we can end the suffering and bring a renewed sense of hope, security, and opportunity to all Alaskans.
Dated: March 1, 2011