Kodiak hosts community forum on domestic violence

Community forum in Best Western Kodiak Harbor Room. (Photo by Kayla Desroches / KMXT)

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

Members of the community touched on poverty, substance abuse, and other elements that may lead to domestic abuse at a community forum Friday.

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More than 20 people showed up at the Best Western Kodiak Harbor Room for the opportunity to speak with the state Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, which was in town for its quarterly meeting.

Some community members took the mic to share their stories and the situations that affect their lives. Elder Carlene McChesney said she lives in low-cost housing. She said, over the years, many of her neighbors have dealt drugs or been involved in other illegal activity.

“My latest incident has been this past month. The little girl who lives in number 2 – a lot of fighting. I feel like they’ve been downtown drinking or drugging. They bring taxi cabs home and then there’s fighting all night long, so I don’t sleep for two or three days.”

Among attendees were staff members from the Kodiak Women’s Resource and Crisis Center, which helped organize the event, and members of local mental health services and other outreach organizations. They talked about the existing resources for men and women, the necessity of funding, and areas of need in Kodiak.

Penny Lampl, who works at at KWRCC, spoke about the lack of drug rehabilitation services.

“One of the major things that we are missing overall is a detox center. That is probably the biggest thing that this town is missing overall. We don’t have a residential treatment facility, but even if we could detox them long enough to fly them off the island – would be helpful.”

A couple of clergymen also attended, including Russian Orthodox Deacon Irenaios Anderson. He credited KWRCC for building awareness in Kodiak.

“I have a great respect for the advocates, for those who work day in and day out work in this area, but I believe it needs to be something that the faith community gets involved in, and I have to say both Rebecca and Beth have been very influential in getting the churches involved in this area, opening our eyes to the need.”

During the council’s closing comments, Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Education and Early Development, Sana Efird, thanked the members of the public who shared such personal stories.

“Because that really is what will make a difference in our world and hopefully with the legislature.”

Its next meeting is scheduled to be in Juneau March 6 and 7.

Edit 12/05: A former version of this story misspelled Penny Lampl’s name as Penny Lampo.

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