Murkowski Brings “Choose Respect” Movement to Senate Floor

Domestic Violence, Sexual Abuse “Rips at the Heart of Who We Are”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Lisa Murkowski took to the U.S. Senate floor today and shared the “Choose Respect” message with her Senate colleagues and all those watching proceedings from the gallery.

Immediately following the Choose Respect rally outside the U.S. Capitol, Murkowski spent a few moments telling the Senate and the national viewing audience about the fight that all Alaskans are engaged in against domestic abuse and sexual assault.

(Click box to watch)

An excerpt from her floor speech:

“In a state like Alaska where we have an unparalleled beauty we also have an ugly side to our state that is manifested in statistics that we see in violence against women and particularly in violence against native women. Violence against native women has reached epidemic proportions. We are at a point where native women experience domestic violence and sexual assault two and a half times higher than other races.  In the lower 48 women on reservations are nearly ten times more likely to be murdered. Systematic legal barriers and ineffectual law enforcement mechanisms result in women, children, and families living in fear.

“In Alaska, nearly 1 in 2 women have experienced partner violence, close to 1 in 3 have experienced sexual violence and overall nearly 6 in 10 Alaska women have been a victim of sexual assault or domestic violence.  This is absolutely unacceptable and this is the reality we are living with as a state now. It is absolutely unacceptable. Alaska’s rate of forcible rape between 2003 and 2009 was 2.6 times higher than the national rate. Tragically we see about 9 percent of Alaskan mothers who reported physical abuse from their husband or their partner during pregnancy or in the 12 months prior to pregnancy.  These are horrifying statistics … It is an issue we know rips at the heart of who we are.”