‘It’s about Alaskans standing up for other Alaskans’ - Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman: Valley Life

default avatar
Welcome to the site! Login or Signup below.
Logout|My Dashboard

CHOOSE RESPECT ‘It’s about Alaskans standing up for other Alaskans’

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Saturday, February 23, 2013 10:47 pm

Gov. Sean Parnell counts himself lucky. Unlike many households in Alaska, he grew up in a home free from domestic violence and sexual abuse.

“I was blessed to be raised in a home where I did not know what domestic violence and sexual assault were,” he said. “It wasn’t until I was a state House member in the middle ’90s, early  ’90s, when I went on some ride-alongs with some police officers and troopers that I saw the carnage in our homes from domestic violence and sexual assault. I saw it across the economic span, from poor to rich. I saw it an all kinds of neighborhoods.”

That’s why, Parnell said, he sponsored and got passed the Domestic Violence Protection Act while in the Legislature, and why he’s taken up the fight again as governor with his Choose Respect campaign. He said down with the Frontiersman recently for an interview about the campaign and its goals in fighting a problem that has Alaska No. 1 per capita in the United States for domestic violence and sexual assault.

Being the governor of the state that leads the nation in that statistic “hurts,” Parnell said. “There’s no question that the epidemic numbers are killing Alaskans. We can talk and act to improve our economy, but if our people are hurting inside their homes, they can’t get a job or perform effectively in a job or be parents to their kids.”

This year, the Frontiersman and Alaska Family Services have expanded Parnell’s effort with the Valley Men Choose Respect initiative, where local men lend their voices to the fight against domestic violence.

“That’s exactly what this is about — Alaskans standing up for other Alaskans,” he said. “For men in particular to choose to be publically accountable for using their strength to protect and defend rather than to manipulate and control I think is awesome.”

Eliminating domestic violence and sexual assault from our homes is a cultural problem, not just a legal one, Parnell said, and it starts from birth by modeling behaviors that don’t use violence or assault as tools to an end.

“I think especially when you’re speaking about men and boys, for example, when a young boy learns to value another human being, like his mom, because of the way his dad treats his mom, I think that boy will model that behavior in his future relationships,” he said. “It’s also a bigger picture. It really is about replacing a culture of fear with one of respect and opportunity.”

Parnell said the words “Choose Respect” are powerful and meaningful. First, because acting on violent feelings in inappropriate ways is a choice. Second, respect is a word that all people and cultures can understand at a root level.

“It’s a word that transcends cultures, from the Alaska Native culture to the Samoan culture to the Caucasian culture and European cultures, it is a value embraced by all,” he said.

Rules of Conduct

  • 1 Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
  • 2 Don't Threaten or Abuse. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated. AND PLEASE TURN OFF CAPS LOCK.
  • 3 Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
  • 4 Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
  • 5 Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
  • 6 Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.

Welcome to the discussion.


  • Gfnc posted at 6:14 pm on Fri, Mar 1, 2013.

    Gfnc Posts: 39

    You acknowledge the need to respect women and condemn domestic violence while advocating killing unborn babies.. I will never understand liberal logic!

  • beenthere posted at 6:50 am on Thu, Feb 28, 2013.

    beenthere Posts: 256

    I too love the respect campaign. I just wish our governor would show the same "respect " for clean air and water, public education and a woman's right to choose.

  • perennialgma posted at 8:29 am on Tue, Feb 26, 2013.

    perennialgma Posts: 429

    I love the choose respect campaign. Alaska hs needed this for a long time. Alaska also needs a governor capable of overriding the decisions made at Office of Childrens Services. Wasilla wants the Covey children home where they belong. Government should never kidnap Alaskan children and take them out of state, away from the family and community that loves them.


Fourth of July Parade

A cowgirl leads a calf along the Fourth of July parade route in Wasilla Saturday. The best-dressed pair where part of 65 entries in this year’s parade. Summerfest fun continues from noon to 11 p.m., today at the Curtis D. Menard Center. The carnival is closed July 6-7, and resumes from 4 to 11 p.m., July 8-10 and from noon to 11 p.m., July 11-12.

9:36 pm | See more