Help is not on the way: Communities need more support to protect Alaska Native women

Contrary to published statements on September 12, 2008 from Maria Comella, a McCain/Palin GOP campaign speakswoman following the revelation that under the administration of Wasilla Mayor Sarah Palin rape victims were charged for post-assault medical exams, it would appear that the high number of sexual assaults in Alaska is not a top priority for Governor Sarah Palin.  In an article published by the Anchorage Daily News on May 3, 2008, “violence against Native women in Alaska at an alarming rate.”  Further, “Alaska has had the highest rate of forcible rape in the nation for 10 years in a row.”

Women’s shelters face limited resources due to lack of government support.  One such shelter is the Emmonak Women’s Shelter in Emmonak, 200 miles by air from Bethel.  Funding for the shelter was cut by former Governor Frank Murkowski in 2005 and has not been reinstated by Governor Sarah Palin.  “To find refuge from abuse, the state said the women could fly to Bethel or Dillingham.” 

One of the most heartbreaking aspect of the story come from Lynn Hootch, the executive director of the women’s shelter, who states that when the Emmonak shelter closed, some of the abused “women and elders did not have a way to get to Bethel.  They huddled near the Emmonak shelter though it wasn’t open, because they felt it was a safe place.”

Under the Palin administration, the Emmonak Shelter still has not been returned to 24-hour service, with a federal grant to operate during daytime working hours only. 

~ Sarah Palin Truth Squad

Help is not on the way: Communities need more support to protect Alaska Native women

Emmonak Womens Shelter

Emmonak Womens Shelter

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