Kodiak is recognizing October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month, starting with a proclamation from the borough at a meeting a few weeks ago.
Ellamy Tiller and Amber Frederick, outreach advocates from the Kodiak Women’s Resource and Crisis Center came by for Talk of the Rock this week to discuss the prevalance of domestic violence and what resources are available to combat it.
“Here in Kodiak 38% of women report having experienced intimate partner violence,” said Frederick. Tiller continued, “which means that at least one in three women in Kodiak have had this experience. In almost any group of people, you are in or around, there are people who have been hurt, and people have been scared.”
In the United States, Alaska ranks third highest in rates of intimate partner violence against women, according to the Center for Disease Control. Half of English-speaking adult women in Alaska experience intimate partner violence, and that number is even higher for Native women. 84 percent of Alaska Native women experience violence during their lifetimes, according to the National Institute of Justice.
According to Frederick, for women in rural areas where law enforcement can be minimal, getting help is particularly difficult.
“It’s really hard for people to get the support they need,” she said. “Victims of domestic and sexual violence have to come to town to report and to attend any court proceedings, if there’s evidence that needs to collected that has to be done here in town, which can be more traumatic for people.”
Frederick argued that part of combating domestic violence is normalizing the conversation around it. “I think that people need to be freer to talk about what they’ve experienced,” she said. “There aren’t many places where people feel safe to talk about what they’ve lived through. And the more times somebody shies away or jumps back when you start to talk about your trauma, the less likely you are to ever bring it up again. People just continue to carry it by themselves.”
Tiller and Frederick said that the Women’s Resource and Crisis Center strives to make the process as easy as possible for victims, providing everything from a safe place to stay, to new clothes, to advocacy in the legal system.
“We do a lot of work helping people with legal proceedings,” Tiller said. “We can help them get hooked up with whatever services they need for that, and support them emotionally through that process, because it’s pretty hard.”
KWRCC partners with many other organizations including KANA, Sun’aq Tribe, Kodiak Community Health Center and others to provide people with care. They’re located at 422 Hillside Drive and you can reach them at 486-6171.
Tonight at St. James The Fisherman Church, KWRCC is hosting a prayer vigil to remember Alaskans killed by domestic violence or sexual assault, followed by a dinner and their annual meeting. Everything is open to the public, the vigil starts at 5:30 pm.
Listen to the full Talk of the Rock interview here: