Parnell Addresses Domestic Violence
Police, agencies, say men are overlooked victims
Alaska leads the nation when it comes to domestic violence rates. That is why Governor Sean Parnell addressed the issue in his third State of State address.
There is a part of the population though, that’s underserved, because victims are traditionally thought of as women. According to the Centers For Disease Control 1 in 7 men have experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner. But it's something that's rarely talked about or even reported for reasons like shame, embarrassment or simply because men don't know where to go to get help. “We will not rest until every Alaskan is safe from abuse and terror,” said Governor Sean Parnell on Wednesday in a call for Alaskans to stand up against domestic violence across the state.
“It’s about each of us honoring the dignity and value of every human being. Increasing public safety means shining the light of justice and a ray of hope in places where domestic violence and sexual assault have ruled.”
Parnell is putting his money where his mouth is by allocating $12 million to curb the statistics. Nearly 6 in 10 women in Alaska are abused at some point in her lifetime. But Anchorage police and Anchorage's primary domestic violence service provider, the Abused Women’s Aid In Crisis, say abuse is not just one sided. “That's emotional control, isolation, intimidation, threats,” said Suzi Pearson, the executive director, AWAIC. “Men are victims of domestic violence, just as well as women.”
“We see that a lot more often than I think people realize,” said APD spokesperson Lt. Dave Parker. “We'll find couples that are engaged in domestic violence and it goes both ways and sometimes one will get arrested, sometimes the other will get arrested.” Police say most men don't admit they've been abused or fear of being stigmatized and looking weak.
“When you think about a man being a victim of domestic violence there's a cultural intonations that men are shamed just like any other victim but there’s the shame that I am supposed to protect myself,” said Pearson. “For a man trying to protect himself, that is a real challenge because they often are stronger.”
But help is available for men.
“With the name ‘abused women's aid in crisis,’ you assume that it’s a women's agency but we serve domestic victims, men, women and children,” said Pearson. Services include placing them in shelters and giving them options to be safe. Options that can be as simple as running away from a dangerous situation. In the past year AWAIC has provided services to three men with one of them actually going to a shelter. Police say they are consistent in how they treat domestic violence cases to determine who the primary aggressor is to make an arrest. But if they are not involved it doesn't mean you still can't get help. AWAIC’s 24-7 crisis line number for men, women, and children or people who know someone getting abused is 272-0100.