Photo by Megan Pacer/Peninsula Clarion Workshop participants listen to a presentation on disability services and their relation to domestic violence during a course session on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015 at the LeeShore Center in Kenai, Alaska.

Photo by Megan Pacer/Peninsula Clarion Workshop participants listen to a presentation on disability services and their relation to domestic violence during a course session on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015 at the LeeShore Center in Kenai, Alaska.

Local entities shift focus to domestic violence

Local government officials and community organizations are getting on board to help spread the word about Domestic Violence Awareness Month this October.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month on a national level, but local government leaders have been reaffirming the necessity of that awareness on the Kenai Peninsula by proclaiming the month locally for several years, said Kenai Mayor Pat Porter. She announced this year’s proclamation for her own city and on behalf of Soldotna Mayor Nels Anderson during a Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Sept. 30.

Porter said the LeeShore Center brings the proclamation to the attention of local government each year, and that she views the proclamations as tools to help bring the issue to the forefront of people’s minds.

“It’s very unfortunate that we even do this, that there is a need to do this,” Porter said. “In a perfect world down the line, I definitely would hope that we don’t have to do this anymore.”

A state-wide victimization survey conducted in 2013 by the University of Alaska Anchorage Justice Center showed that 52 percent of adult women in the Kenai Peninsula Borough experienced “intimate partner violence, sexual violence or both,” at some point in their lives. Statewide, 59 percent of women experience partner violence, sexual violence or both, according to the survey.

Borough Mayor Mike Navarre will proclaim October Domestic Violence Awareness Month borough-wide at the end of the month, said LeeShore Center Education and Training Assistant Ashley Blatchford in an email.

To help in the awareness effort, the LeeShore Center provides two domestic violence workshops, one in the spring and the other in October. The 40-hour courses provide those who sign up with knowledge on all things domestic violence-related, including stalking, how violence affects children, cultural sensitivity and how domestic violence relates to substance abuse and disabilities.

Other than periodic posts to the LeeShore Facebook page during October, Blatchford said the center spaces out its awareness activities throughout the year. The proclamations, especially in front of chamber businesses that aren’t usually exposed to domestic violence information, help to reach as much of the community as possible.

“We’re so appreciative,” Blatchford said. “We have leaders in the community that support our cause and make it known, (and) that gives you a sense of where our community is going.”

While raising awareness about domestic violence may not seem like the most direct way to crack down on the issue, Blatchford said more proactive programs won’t be successful unless residents first acknowledge domestic violence is happening. For a few years, LeeShore personnel have been trying to introduce Green Dot etc., a nonprofit organization that provides violence prevention education and training, to the community. Without local individuals, organizations and businesses willing to adopt and support the program, it will not take hold in the community, she said.

“It’s not something that we can bring to the community unless they’re aware that there’s a problem,” she said.

The Kenaitze Indian Tribe also partakes in domestic violence awareness efforts, said Lindsey Anasogak, a social services specialist for the tribe. While the tribe doesn’t host events specifically for October, it partners with LeeShore to educate workshop participants about cultural sensitivity and how it relates to the clients served by the Na’ini Social Services Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Program, she said.

While the program is conducted through the tribe, Anasogak said it is open to any victim of domestic violence.

“We see Native and non-Native (clients) in our program,” she said.

A common misconception Anasogak confronts in terms of domestic violence is that it is only physical, neglecting to include emotional and verbal abuse. Proclaiming October an awareness month each year helps dispel misinformation, she said.

“I think it helps remind people,” Anasogak said. “There’s a lot of control and isolation that play into (domestic violence).”

 

Reach Megan Pacer at megan.pacer@peninsulaclarion.com.

More in News

(from left to right) Jachin Sanchez, Carter Lemons, Rowan Mahoney, Adelyn McCorison and Taylor Rickard graduated from Ninilchik School on Monday, May 13, 2024 in Ninilchik, Alaska. Photo provided by Mattea Peters-Williamson
Ninilchik graduates 5 in 2024 commencement

The school held the ceremony Monday, May 13

Kenai Peninsula Education Association President LaDawn Druce, left, and committee Chair Jason Tauriainen participate in the first meeting of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District’s Four Day School Week Ad Hoc Committee on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2024, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
4-day school week committee adjourns

The committee will deliver recommendations to school board in July

Soldotna Elementary School Principal Dr. Austin Stevenson points out corroded insulation outside of the school building on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022 in Soldotna . (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna Elementary awaits action on approved bond

Almost two years after public OKs bond, borough asking for more time

Soldotna Police Chief Dale “Gene” Meek stands in his office on Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna police chief resigns

The resignation was effective immediately on Friday, City Manager Janette Bower confirmed Monday

A sign along a trail to Exit Glacier marks the spot to where the toe of the glacier reached in 2010, photographed on June 22, 2018. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)
Exit Glacier reopened for summer, snow and bears reported

Visitors should check the park website for updated conditions and ensure they are prepared before visiting the area

Dale Chorman stands with his wife, Dianne. (Photo provided by Tom Kizzia)
Long-time Homer resident, photographer dead after Sunday moose encounter

Troopers on Monday identified the victim as 70-year-old Dale Chorman

A sign warning of a June 28, 2021, bear attack is placed at the head of the Kenai River Trail on Skilak Loop Road in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge on June 30, 2021. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)
Federal wildlife officers seek information about early-May black bear poaching

Officials think the poaching happened near the east entrance of Skilak Loop roughly 2 miles from Jims’ Landing

Alaska State Troopers logo.
Ninilchik woman dead after Tuesday collision

The woman was attempting to cross the Sterling Highway from Oil Well Road when she was struck by a pickup truck

Most Read