Alaska Governor Sean Parnell deserves national name-recognition for taking on one of the most important issues today.
He’s trying to get Alaska to talk about the “resident evil” of rape.
“It’s culturally permissible to be silent about it,” and that must change, Parnell told CNN’s John Sutter in a recent interview at the governor’s office in Juneau.
Sutter and CNN have been working since then to empower women and encourage them to not only report but prevent future rapes, as part of its Change the List project.
Highest Rate of Rape
Alaska has nearly 80 rapes per 100,000 residents, which is three times the national average. South Dakota is a close second at about 70 rape reports per 100,000, according to the FBI’s 2012 Uniform Crime Report. The nexthighest is Michigan with 46 per 100,000.
Two possible causes are Alaska’s high population of Native Americansand its remoteness.
Parnell called this an ‘epidemic,’ one that must be highlighted to prevent spreading.
“I can’t wave a wand and solve alcoholism, I can’t wave a wand and solve domestic violence, but I can work to create a climate where it’s culturally permissible to speak about these things with our family and friends, get people to help who cross our paths, to stand up for those who are being abused and hurt,” he said.
“To me that’s a win in the end.”