Alaska is America's rape capital


#1

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#2

Are there any Russian separatists still left in Alaska?? I suppose we still need the oil… and fish…


#3

I guess frontiers have always attracted freaks and anti-social types.


#4

Plus, the scenery up there is absurdly beautiful.

Maybe the state should use some of that oil money they’re so proud of to build a police force that can effectively patrol a state that has almost no roads, and put effort into educating communities about the problem so crimes actually get reported.

That’s really the only way to fix it.


#5

I don’t think many Alaskans want this problem fixed. One of the biggest reasons to live in Alaska is to get away from society, and if you start talking about effective policing and social justice then you’re going to take that away. They’re living up there explicitly to get away from people telling them that they can’t rape their cousins or shoot endangered animals from helicopters or chop down acres of forest.

Also, I have been told that Fairbanks (Squarebanks) is not part of Alaska. It’s just where they stick all of the busybodies so they don’t mess up the rest of the state.


#6

The two people I know that moved to and stayed in Alaska were both kinda messed up.


#7

The fact that Alaskans are paid by the government to live there has always struck me as contrary to that spirit of independence. On the other hand I wouldn’t turn down free money either.


#8

I would argue that people who’ve ben raped would disagree with you. Reasonable people might disagree about how best to “fix” this “problem” (change these habits).


#9

Not to put words in someone else’s mouth, but I think jandrese’s point is that many Alaskans aren’t “reasonable people”. Hence the violent sexual assault problem.


#10

Why isn’t the FBI up there in snow boots arresting people? Alaska might not have law enforcement funds but Washington sure does.


#11

This is a libertarian paradise we’re talking about here, so it’s not rape culture, it’s a “deregulated sex market” and these are just market failures, which are totally natural and will self correct! These are all rational actors, so the power of “reputation economies” and consumer and shareholder pressure will eventually sort out undesired behaviors. In the mean time, the women and children will figure out a way to get what they want out of the system, and if they don’t it’s because the meddling of the state (or their own natural propensity to victomhood) made them too lazy to innovate ways out of being raped.


#12

Jeebus - did any of you READ the article ?

It is not about
-Russian separatists
-oil and fish
-frontiers
-freaks and anti-social types
-beautiful scenery

  • FBI or police states
  • a “libertarian paradise”
  • a “deregulated sex market”

If the reported statistics - and sexual assaults are generally under reported - state that over 50% of the women and children have been sexually assaulted/molested, and that over 50% of the women have experienced domestic violence the discussion at hand is not about a social anomaly. This IS the dominant culture.

A greater/larger/more widespread police force is not going to help. There is a much higher rate of domestic violence within law enforcement personnel - how is an abuser with a gun who abuses his own spouse/family going to legitimately assist an assaulted victim ? Who works in a culture of entitlement with other abusers ? Not to mention the racism that is prevalent in many police forces (see: Ferguson). How will a racist abuser officer assist an aboriginal girl or woman who has been assaulted by her family member ? In an isolated where there is no 911, and the nearest detachment is literally hours away ?

http://womenandpolicing.com/violencefs.asp

So if the FBI (as if the FBI deals with domestic violence !) marched right on up there in their “snow boots” and arrested every single abuser, rapist and molester - then what ? Do they get locked away for life ? Where ? What happens to the families that are left where the breadwinner/abuser has been removed ? Who pays for lawyers for the victims ?

The article touches on the underpinnings of why this is happening - the lingering stain of the Catholic residential schools that were essentially genocide, whose unwilling students were abused in every way possible, sexually assaulted and even murdered. No survivor came out of that social/cultural destruction unscathed (see: testimony and findings from the Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission. While this is not Alaska, the mode of destruction was identical). Add colonial and corporate speculators to the mix for the last 150 years or so, extreme physical isolation, poverty, with some “wild Alaska” mythology for goons from the south seeking their “libertarian paradise”. How do you fix this ?

Only the children are brave enough to speak up about this - then there is literally no solution that is not a bandaid.


#13

The Catholic residential schools tragedy here in Canada explains a lot. But not everything, including the casual acceptance of rape two generations later.

A treaty aboriginal relative of mine was convicted a few years ago of internet luring a minor. Two years after that, at age 50, he was convicted of raping his girlfriend’s 16 year old niece. His defense, that the 16yo girl raped HIM, made the papers.

But even before his first conviction he was known for a history of raping young women. “Well, ___ gets drunk sometimes and rapes someone, and one day it’ll get him in trouble. But he’s a good guy.” And even knowing this, I was the one who offended people when I wouldn’t let him stay at my house. When I wasn’t home, but my teenage daughter was.

For how many more generations can this bit of culture be blamed on outsiders?


#14

Well, I’ll answer for my own bullets up there, what I said about “deregulated sex markets” was an attempt at the darkest of sarcasm. I was drawing an interwoven metaphor that showed how euphemisms used to describe the vicious power imbalances in economics look so plainly heinous when mapped onto sexual assault, and also shows how calls for letting traditional authorities and closed societies to self-regulate can leave vulnerable people open to horrible abuse. The same people who call for ideals of self-sufficiency and reputation-based civil society in the economic realm are often in support of the same kind of “freedom from government meddling” in other realms as well.

You point out that a family loses it’s breadwinner when the abuser is put away.

a perpetrator is also “the one that chops wood, hauls the water, hunts
the caribou so there’s food in the house. So, it’s like, ‘Yeah, he
punched me, and yeah, I want this to stop, but I also need to survive.’”

This is a reality of places where people are forced to rely on their own family members and highly personal network to support them, and be their safety net, even though these are the same people who are tangled up in the patterns of abuse that are the problem. It is the kind of structure that leaves women and children with no better option that to stay with their abuser.

The suffocation of small, closed societies also allows these kinds of abuses to remain, and become “tradition” as they are referred to in the article, and as you said, part of the dominant culture.

She feared for her children, her family’s reputation, her affiliation
with the local church. “It was so shameful to me that I didn’t dare tell
anyone but the doctor,” she says. “I told the doctor and I got an
abortion. I thought if I told the cops, then everybody would know. What
would people think? So I just suffered with it.”

But as you said, trust in external authorities is really low, for good, historically-derived reasons:

The word for “trooper,” according to Lieutenant Andrew Merrill,
translates in nearly every Native language in Western Alaska as “‘he who
comes and takes away.’

But dominant culture and dominant beliefs are written by dominators. The narrative of what positive outcomes can come out of forming, or working with government bodies can be controlled and manipulated. The idea that any kind of authority will only result in bad outcomes benefits the locally powerful, and the abusers in this case. The 4-H club makes real strides toward forming a positive collective to think about what it means to bring in positive change through collective and representative action.

EDITED to add: I realize that my response seems completely ignorant and tone deaf to the really important point you (and the article) make about the discreet source of the substance and sexual abuse being the systematic violence done to young native children and that the pattern of substance and sexual abuse started there, and has spread like a self-replicating virus throughout families and across generations.


#15

Way to go with the erasure, RogerStrong.

Hmm, aboriginal guy, who no doubt had family and grandfamily in the residential school system(very extremely difficult for any aboriginal children to avoid as they were basically kidnapped by the authorities to be residential schooled for “their own good” - its not like they had a choice whether to go or not, or their family was consulted for their consent) - where sexual assault by STAFF was rampant. Several generations of family are profoundly damaged by this, with the legacy of trauma resulting in maladaptive behaviours - including the widespread belief in the dominant North American (non-aboriginal) culture that rape is no big deal unless the victim was the “correct” type of victim (ie religious daughter of upstanding white millionaire enrolled in a convent who fought for her life), and self medication resulting in things like alcoholism.

Yes, “for how many more generations can this bit of CULTURE (!!! WTF ?!RogerStrong) be blamed on outsiders?”


#16

The US national average is over 50% adults are female.

In Alaska, over 50% of adults are male.*

There aren’t enough women to go around, and in our culture the stereotypical male response to both romantic frustration and resource unavailability is violence. Seems like there might be a pattern here…

*Source: 2010 Census (.PDF here).


#17

That is so not the conclusion I drew. These are people who have been there for generations, not pioneers seeking frontier. This is what isolation, poverty, limited opportunity, and lack of accountability produce.


#18

If you actually read the article, this is specifically an issue within the tribal culture where presumably there’s something like gender parity.


#19

Why do you presume gender parity?


#20

Dude, you really need to read some literature* about domestic violence and sexual assault. Intimate partner abuse is NOT about “romantic frustration” or “resource unavailability”. It is about power and control. Rapists typically have more than one victim as well. Both of these behaviours have a predictable pattern, even when removed from social, cultural, ethnic, geographic and economic contexts. Abuse and sexual assault that frame of the victim as responsible/culpable are states of belief that occur universally in contexts where women are second class citizens - like say, North America !

*Literature as in articles from researchers in this field, not pop-psychology.