Celtic Diva's Blue Oasis: What I fear...a focus on rural substance abuse to the detriment of focusing on DV/sexual assault

Friday, July 18, 2008

What I fear...a focus on rural substance abuse to the detriment of focusing on DV/sexual assault

Lauren Rice, Legislative Liaison/Special Assistant to the Commissioner has been asked to leave her position at the Department of Public Safety.

Per Andrew Halcro's Blog:
I have been asked to leave my post as the Legislative Liaison for DPS and I will do so sadly. I thoroughly enjoyed my time both with DPS and Commission Walt Monegan who exemplifies everything DPS represents.

Working with you has been an adventure and I have enjoyed it. I will miss it.

Next in her email comes a section that I have been afraid of since I first heard Walt Monegan was fired:
As you know, Alaska has long held the distinction of being number one in the nation for sexual violence (both sexual assault and sexual abuse of minors) and domestic violence. Many of you have been advocates for victims with both your voices and your actions. I have been inspired many times by that advocacy. The prevalence of this violence is seen in our communities, emergency shelters, hospitals, schools and streets. We see it in our neighbors’ eyes and in the lines for substance abuse treatment. It is a scar on our state.

The State of Alaska, and more specifically DPS, needs tools to fight this epidemic. They have proposals and ideas on how to better protect Alaska’s residents, but DPS will need your support in order to carry out any of those plans. I have attached a brief report from the University of Alaska on the correlation between violence and substance abuse among victims. I also encourage you to review the study below titled “Descriptive Analysis of Sexual Assault Incidents Reported to Alaska State Troopers: 2003-2004”.


I spoke to Walt Monegan the day after he was fired. When I say "I spoke to Walt Monegan" I mean that I did most of the speaking. He wouldn't go on the record with much at that point and I admit, I know almost nothing about being a good interviewer.

However, the way I got him to call me was through my email to him, which talked about how I was afraid of what may happen to the focus on alleviating DV and sexual assault in Rural Alaska. I mentioned the Governor's emphasis on her "new direction" and focus on substance abuse. I also mentioned that concerned me because of the above-mentioned report, which shows a lack of correlation between being under-the-influence and acts of DV/sexual assault in Rural Alaska...on the part of the victim or the perpetrator. One of the few things he said was a strong acknowledgement of the findings in that report. At the time, I had wondered if that was "code."

I think this is starting to go beyond "code."

It seems to me that there are a bunch of folks who thought that DPS was finally on the right track. Now, they are not so sure...they are afraid that the gains they were making will be lost.

I'm wondering how far this puzzling DPS "housecleaning" is going to go?

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