Alaska’s Notorious Statistic: The Nation’s Highest Rape Rate

Its beautiful mountains, vast oceans, and fridgid tempertures are not the only things that Alaska is known for; Alaska, notoriously,  has the number one rape rate in all of the United states. Studies have shown that six in ten women in Alaska suffer from sexual or intimate partner violence, and 37% of women in Alaska experience rape or sexual assault. The question that remains to be answered is this: why are these rapes and assaults so prevelant in Alaska?

The answer is yet to be found; however, there are numerous elements that could play a role. One major role is alcohol abuse. Obviously alcohol is no excuse and does not redeem the fact that someone was raped, but 70% of all the rape cases were influenced by alcohol. A large number of rapists say that they grew up with some sort of alchoholic, abusive, or unstable environment, making their own behavior more prevelant.

Another major factor that is the long hours of darkness. Alaska experiences continuous sunlight throughout all of summer and continuous darkness throughout all of winter. Having it be dark outside for an extended amount of time apparently provides more possibilities and makes it easier for rapes too occur.

Along with the extended amount of darkness, Alaska has a small population and a lot of open space, making it easy for someone to be alone and cries for help not be heard.

Due to the increasing rate of rapes in the state, strong efforts are being made to reverse the statistic.  The efforts focus on two main concepts: community and forgiveness. There are meetings, social groups, and other programs specifically designed to not only help the victims who were raped, but also to help the rapists themselves. The community is hopeful for a safer, brighter, and more positive future.


-Megan Mulvaney


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