October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month BY GERAN TARR
One day, I want to wake up in an Alaska that doesn’t lead the nation in rates of domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse.I think we all share that desire for safety for all of our residents.Our high rates of interpersonal violence should be a call to action for all of us.That’s what makes October, Domestic Violence Awareness Month, so important. We come together every October with a mission of stopping domestic violence through education and prevention efforts.We offer support and healing to those who have experienced domestic violence.We ask our community and elected leaders to do more.
One local effort to join is the Abused Women’s Aid in Crisis (AWAIC) four-part community conversations series. The first on Wednesday, October 7th, Domestic Violence and Mental Health, focused on understanding the complex intersections of domestic violence and mental health. Next, on Thursday, October 15th, is Anchorage Daily News reporter Kyle Hopkins on his work with ProPublica and the two-year investigation into sexual violence and the criminal justice system in Alaska.Third is Community Conversation with Andrew Watson, Mental Health Clinician at McLaughlin Youth Center, about the “Man Box” and how men can step outside of it and live more authentically. Last in the series is Community Conversation with Joshua Medina, a Juvenile Justice Officer and Youth Counselor at McLaughlin Youth Center, on how to help boys reach a respectful manhood. Registration information can be found at http://www.awaic.org/events/community-events.
We need everyone to be part of this effort. Here are a couple more options. The Green Dot Program aims to train individuals for bystander intervention. These small and sometimes very subtle acts can diffuse a situation and prevent violence from occurring.Visit here to learn more: https://dps.alaska.gov/CDVSA/Prevention/Green-Dot-AK. This October, a Green Dot training is a great activity for your office, or with your friends, family, or church community.
If you’re more the athletic type, the Girls on the Run Program uses athletics to build strength and self-esteem in girls. Their mission is to “inspire girls to be joyful, healthy, and confident.” You can both have fun and do primary prevention work. It is a win-win! Join here: https://www.gotrsouthcentralak.org/.
Additional resources for domestic violence prevention include the Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (Network) and the Domestic Violence Prevention Initiative (DVPI). Funding from the state and federal government goes to the Network to support shelter programs statewide. This critical service ensures Alaskans living in a domestic violence situation can leave and have a safe place to go. Tragically, shelters are often full or over capacity. You can learn more here: https://andvsa.org/
The Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium sponsors the DVPI, a federal grant-funded program to prevent domestic violence and sexual assault among Alaska Native people. Find more here: https://anthc.org/what-we-do/behavioral-health/domestic-violence-prevention/ Whatever you do, let’s all commit to doing something to raise awareness about domestic violence prevention. No act is too small, and every effort is worth creating the Anchorage we all want, free of interpersonal violence.
PROUDLY POWERED BY SOL DE MEDIANOCHE CO. Sol de Medianoche is a monthly publication of the Latino community in Anchorage, Alaska