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Hello, my name is Martina Kurzer from Sitkans Against Family Violence. The next time you are at the store, a restaurant, church, the post office or community event, take a moment and glance around. And then consider that 60 percent of Alaskan women have been physically assaulted or threatened by an intimate partner or sexually assaulted in their lifetime, according to a recent University of Alaska Anchorage Justice Center study.
These Alaskans are people you know – sisters, aunties, moms, daughters, friends or neighbors.
It takes courage and conviction to keep children and adults from being harmed and to bring these issues out into the open. In late 2009, Governor Parnell partnered with organizations and individuals across the state to launch the Choose Respect initiative. This was a direct response to crimes plaguing our state and tearing apart our communities and families. Our goal is to end the epidemic of domestic violence and sexual assault including child sexual abuse.
To do this, we must break the culture of silence and restore respect as a traditional value for all Alaskans.
No one said it was going to be easy, but if we are going to prevent violence in our communities, we must muster the courage to stand up and speak out. Let our actions be ones that protect our families and friends. Let our words be of comfort and openness to the victims who need a listening ear.
There will be a march and rally on March 29, noon from Totem Square to Crescent Harbor you might want to attend. Help us and send a message of hope and healing.
Each of us has the power to change a community. Each of us has the power to change a life.
To find out more about Choose Respect visit ChooseRespect.Alaska.gov or call SAFV at 747-3370.
This is Martina Kurzer with a message from SAFV and Governor Parnell.