Elise Patkotak: Governor takes on domestic violence
"Sean Parnell is the kind of conservative who should make liberals take a second look. While many Alaskans were annoyed at what was viewed as his snub of President Obama during his stop over, it's hard to stay mad at someone who seems to have his priorities so well ordered.

From being an almost ghostly gray presence during the reign of our gal Temporary Sal, he is emerging as someone who will probably never grace the cover of People Magazine but who will govern Alaska with competence and thoughtfulness. That's more than most politicians seem to offer nowadays.

In his latest initiative, he is to trying to make a dent in what seems like the intractable problem of domestic violence and sexual abuse in Alaska. These are categories in which Alaska consistently leads all other states. Clearly they are not the categories in which we want that distinction.

So Gov. Parnell has made it one of his priorities to deal with this problem. He seems willing to at least attempt to put his money where his mouth is in getting state funding to support actions such as getting more VPSOs hired, trained and in place in small villages. He clearly understands that a domestic violence restraining order is a useless piece of paper if you live in a village with your abuser and no law enforcement closer than a plane ride away.

Unfortunately, as much as we would wish it otherwise, Alaska's remote and isolated villages are the places with the highest rates of domestic violence, sexual abuse and child sexual assault in the state. At a time when many of these small villages are struggling to stay alive and keep their population in place, young women especially flee from them to escape the endless cycle of violence that they have been exposed to ... and are often a victim of ... from childhood. Those who can't flee stay and live lives of quiet despair while raising another generation of damaged adults."

Get the Story:
Elise Patkotak: Parnell rightly addresses sexual abuse (The Anchorage Daily News 12/9)

Also Today:
Shelter for victims of domestic violence opens in Bethel (AP 12/9)

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Opinion: Breaking cycle of Alaska Native abuse (06/10)
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Opinion: A classic dilemma for Alaska Native villages (3/25)