This article was produced in partnership with the Anchorage Daily News, a member of the ProPublica Local Reporting Network.
By the numbers, sex crimes in Alaska occur at nearly three times the U.S. average. One in three communities in Alaska have no local law enforcement. That’s a tough combination. Alaskan communities that lack police and cannot be reached by road have nearly four times as many sex offenders, per capita, than the national average. In some Alaska Native communities, sex crime rates are double the statewide average.
At the crossroads of these statistics are generations of victims and survivors. Last year, more than 200 people confidentially shared their experiences with the Anchorage Daily News. Many described a system that discredited victims if they had been drinking before a sexual assault or in which detectives said a case couldn’t move forward unless the victim called her alleged rapist to obtain a confession.
Those who responded said they wanted to inspire others and create permanent change. We’re taking this seriously. The Anchorage Daily News and ProPublica have teamed up to listen. If you, too, have experienced sexual violence, we hope you’ll share your story with us. If you work with victims, in government or law enforcement, we need to hear from you, too.
You might be asking yourself: Why us? Why now? And to that, we’d say: We’re always happy to talk about who we are and why we’re doing these stories. Please reach out with questions. This is our mission statement. We believe great journalism and great impact is guided by those at the center of it. We don’t pretend to know how to prevent future harm. We think journalism can spur long-lasting change in policy and, we hope, the healing of communities.
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