Domestic violence an issue that is felt close to home

  • Thursday, October 20, 2016 3:33pm
  • Opinion

Another season, another controversial situation involving a National Football League player and domestic violence accusations.

In this case, it’s New York Giants placekicker Josh Brown, who served a one-game suspension for violation of the NFL’s personal conduct policy following his arrest on suspicion of domestic violence. No charges were filed in the case, however, the NFL is taking another look at its investigation after the release of journals and emails in which Brown admits to verbally and physically abusing his former wife, who had accused him or more than 20 instances of domestic violence.

The revelations come during Domestic Violence Awareness Month in Alaska, as proclaimed by Gov. Bill Walker. According to the proclamation, 1 in 4 women in the United States will experience domestic violence during their lifetime, and 15.5 million children will be exposed to violence every year.

While the Alaska Victimization Survey has found a decline in the number of women suffering from intimate partner violence, we know the numbers remain high in Alaska. According to the survey conducted on the Kenai Peninsula in 2013, 52 percent of adult women in the Kenai Peninsula Borough have experienced intimate partner violence, sexual violence or both, in their lifetime; 6 percent have experienced intimate partner violence, sexual violence or both, in the past year; more than 3 out of every 10 adult women in the Kenai Peninsula Borough have experienced sexual violence in their lifetime; and more than 4 out of every 10 have experienced intimate partner violence in their lifetime.

It is clear that domestic violence continues to impact our community. As noted in the governor’s proclamation, education and outreach remain crucial tools in addressing the issue. Community-based programs, such as the LeeShore Center’s Green Dot campaign, that operate under the premise that anyone has the ability to prevent a potentially violent situation, either by calling the police or speaking up, invite the entire community to become part of the solution.

In his proclamation, Gov. Walker urges “all Alaskans to stand together against domestic violence by offering support to those who have suffered abuse and by seeking or providing assistance if they, or others they know, are being harmed.”

We agree with the governor’s proclamation that all Alaskans deserve to be safe in their homes and in their communities, and we commend the individuals and organizations working to address the issue. We hope Alaskans do “continue to stand together to reduce and eliminate violence in the home in every community.” While the statistics indicate that progress is being made, we know there is still a long way to go. High profile cases such as Brown’s certainly draw attention to the issue, but we hope our readers understand that domestic violence is an issue that is felt much closer to home.

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