Groups push for Alaskans to take action during sexual assault awareness month

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) Sexual violence impacts 3 in 10 Alaska women in their life time, according to the most recent statewide victimization survey by University of Alaska Anchorage.

While violence against women is on a downward trend in the state, the Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assaults said there is still a lot of work ahead to bring those numbers even lower.

The month of April is known as Sexual Assault awareness Month and several groups are working to shed light on a dark issue.

CDVSA, Green Dot Alaska and other programs are working to get more Alaskans to take action this month.

Green Dot Alaska is part of a national program that encourages intervention and establishing a comfort level of where bystanders feel they should get involved.

CDVSA's incoming executive director, Diane Casto said involvement could include either calling 911 or by pulling a friend out of a situation they think holds some danger.

Green Dot Alaska's website has a list of ways those interested can get involved.

According to a 2015 Alaska Victimization Survey by UAA, violence toward women has been decreasing since 2010.

33 in 100 women in Alaska experience sexual violence in their life time, which is down from 37 percent in 2010.

Results show alcohol and drug related sexual assaults are also down from 5 years ago by 4 percent.

Forcible sexual assaults dropped by 2 percent in the same time period.

While the numbers are showing some positive results, CDVSA said it's an issue the state still needs to focus on.

"What we need to make sure that we don't do is to say 'oh great we're making progress so we can take this off of our high priority list,'" Casto said. "Absolutely not, this is an issue that is of utmost priority all of us in the state of Alaska need to be paying attention to it."

House Bill 31 passed in the Alaska House of Representatives on Friday.

HB 31 was designed to address problems with the state's processing of sexual examination kits and creates three options for reporting sexual assaults.

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