Thursday, 5 March 2009
Oil or the safety of women and children?
Former Alaska Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan speaks out about sexual violence:
"Alaska's forcible rape rates are 2.5 times the national average. Our children are abused at six times the national average. We are number one in the nation for spousal and partner murder. Alaska holds the distinction of suffering higher rates of interpersonal violence than any other state in the nation. Our children, women and men endure this epidemic of violence daily.
As a police officer, chief of police and the commissioner of the Alaska Department of Public Safety, I witnessed the lasting damage interpersonal violence creates. I have seen little ones suffer unimaginable cruelty from those responsible for caring for them. I have investigated crime scenes, viewed pictures and learned details that continue to haunt me today. So have the men and women I worked beside. I've determined that this epidemic must be met with an equally strong charge against violence. We cannot expect change while allowing the resources and attention paid to these crimes to remain stagnant."
When Sarah Palin fired Walt Monegan last July and later Troopergate started interfering with her VP campaign, one of the justifications for the firing was that Monegan had made an unauthorised trip to Washington DC to seek federal money for investigating and prosecuting sexual assault cases.
"The governor hadn't agreed the money should be sought, and the request was out of sequence with other appropriations requests and could put a strain on the evolving relationship between the Governor and Sen. Stevens." (from an e-mail sent by her special counsel at the time)
Monegan wasn't fired because he refused to dismiss Sarah Palin's former brother-in-law, state trooper Mike Wooten, it was because he tried to address the problem of sexual violence in Alaska against the Governor's wishes!
Sarah Palin has not addressed the rampant sexual abuse, rape, domestic violence and murder that make Alaska one of the most dangerous places in the country for women and children. Despite the Governor's pro-family image, public safety experts and advocates for women and children struggled when asked to explain how Palin's leadership has helped address the crisis.
"She's really done a lot of work on oil and gas, but when it comes to violence against women and children . . . we haven't been on her radar as a priority," said Peggy Brown, executive director of the Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault.
When it comes to allocating resources or offering support, Sarah Palin appears to have only one priority.
Yes, you've guessed it.
Further reading here and here.