Let’s put kids before politics

  • Thursday, June 11, 2015 10:48am
  • News

For the second year in a row, it seems as if Erin’s Law, a bill implementing a prevention-oriented child sexual abuse program, is doomed to die in a tied-up legislature — again. Even despite support from our last two governors, senators like Kevin Meyer, Mike Dunleavy and Anna MacKinnon have led an effort to barricade the original text of the law from reaching Gov. Walker’s desk for its promised signature.

Specifically, our opponents of the bill’s original passage have decided that politics ought to take a more precedented role than the protection of survivors of child sexual assault. Erin’s Law is straightforward and implements an evidence-based curriculum to bring a voice to children who have been sexually assaulted; it has been passed in nearly half of U.S. states, and has received praise from schools and social workers all across the country. Rather than embrace its success, our senators have ignored the epidemic Erin’s Law addresses and instead created a political battle over it. 

That being said, I’d like to provide five simple facts about sexual assault among children to remind our senators how real the issue truly is. 

1. Every year, approximately 8,000 children in Alaska are physically or sexually abused. (Child Welfare League of America)

2. Adult retrospective studies show that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men were sexually abused before the age of 18. (CDC 2006)

3.  Alaska’s child sexual assault rate is six times the national average. (FBI Uniform Crime Report)

4. Only 1 in 10 sexually abused children tell someone. (Task Force on the Prevention of Sexual Abuse of Children 2012)

5. Every 6 minutes a child is sexually assaulted in the United States. (Erin Merryn) 

Contrary to our Legislature’s belief, Erin’s Law is not political. Erin’s Law is a bill that addresses a vastly underreported concern in this country. Erin’s Law gives children a voice that should not be undermined by the petty politics of our budget brawl. Passing this is a step forward in mitigating a severe crisis in Alaska, and rising above the fog of ugly congressional gridlock. 

Above all, I’d also like to personally call on the mentioned senators as well as others in the Legislature who believe playing politics is more important than protecting Alaska’s children. Sens. Meyer, Dunleavy and MacKinnon: please put Erin’s Law above the politics of this session’s legislative battle for the good of our state and our children’s futures. Help the Legislature put Alaska on the growing list of states protecting children from sexual assault. 

Robert Hockema

More in News

American flags fly on Sept. 11, 2020, in the park at the corner of Lake Street and the Homer Bypass Road in Homer, Alaska. Rotary Club of Homer Downtown places the flags every year to honor the people killed and injured in the events of Sept. 11, 2001. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
Remembering Sept. 11

Robert Purcell shares memories of the aftermath of 9/11 20 years later.

Homer High School. (Homer News file photo)
School announcements

School district risk level update and upcoming events

Visitors explore shops on the Homer Spit before the upcoming end of the season. (Photo by Sarah Knapp/Homer News)
Successful tourist season leaves businesses in need of rest

Many shops on the Spit close down after Labor Day.

A sign advertises free COVID-19 vaccines at the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport on July 13, 2021, in Anchorage, Alaska. The state announced a new initiative that gives newly vaccinated Alaskans an opportunity to win $49,000. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)
Newly vaccinated get chance to win cash

Incentive campaign to grant $49,000 cash and scholarship prizes to weekly winners

A sign flashing "Keep COVID down" also offers information on where to get testing and vaccines on Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021, on the Homer Spit in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
Homer schools go to universal masking

Increase in COVID-19 cases prompts Homer schools to require universal masking until at least Sept. 21.

A sign in front of Kenai Middle School is seen on Sept. 2, 2021, in Kenai, Alaska. The school was one of more than a dozen Kenai Peninsula Borough School District schools operating with universal indoor masking due to rising COVID-19 cases. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
More schools go to universal indoor masking

More than 200 students have tested positive for COVID-19 since Aug. 23.

Most Read