Study finds 44 percent of Kodiak women abused

KODIAK — Domestic and sexual violence is a big problem in Kodiak Island Borough, according to a new survey.

The survey conducted by the University of Alaska Anchorage Justice Center found that 38 percent of Kodiak women have experienced intimate partner violence and 23 percent have experienced sexual violence. Overall, 44 percent of Kodiak women reported either one or both forms of violence.

Andre Rosay, the study’s principal investigator, said the results might be conservative because the survey was only provided in English and it excluded women without homes or telephones — groups believed to suffer higher rates of violence.

The same survey has also been done in Bristol Bay, the Municipality of Anchorage, Fairbanks North Star Borough, the city of Fairbanks, Dillingham and the city and borough of Juneau. It’s impossible to compare regions because of different variables, Rosay said, but each result has been discouraging.

“In every survey we’ve done in Alaska, the rates have been astronomically high,” Rosay said. “We keep hoping to find a place where they aren’t. If we had a place that wasn’t, we’d be able to look at what they’re doing.”

The phone survey of 423 adult women was conducted between March and May. Participants were selected randomly by phone, including cellphones and landlines.

The women were asked a series of behaviorally specific questions about intimate partner violence and sexual violence in the past year and in their lifetime.

Police Chief T.C. Kamai told the Kodiak Daily Mirror the results are “pretty alarming,” and will be useful as the department works with victims of domestic violence.

“We’ve always assumed that for every report we receive about domestic violence or assault there are probably one or two that haven’t been reported,” Kamai said. “I think when you look at it that way it makes sense.”

Local counseling providers plan to use the information for comparative purposes, and hope to conduct another survey in 2017.

“We can see how well we’re doing, and see if five years from now we’ve reached more women,” said Rebecca Shields, executive director of the Kodiak Women’s Resource and Crisis Center.

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