• Perspectives on sexual assault and domestic violence in rural Alaskan communities

      Hayden, Katheryn S.; Ehrlander, Mary F.; McCartney, Leslie; Charles, Walkie (2018-05)
      Alaska's rate of reported sexual assault is nearly three times the national average, and underreporting may be as high as 70 percent. In rural communities, the rates of both sexual and domestic violence are higher still. Through oral history methodology my research explores how survivors, elders, and professionals view the issues surrounding this violence in remote communities. My findings highlight the interconnectedness of social problems, and the conditions within rural Alaskan communities that hinder reducing these problems. The variables associated with sexual and domestic violence that my respondents highlighted include: alcohol abuse, multigenerational trauma, lack of funding for services, isolation, and normalization of sexual assault and domestic violence. Based on my analysis of the interviews, I have suggested recommendations that I believe are attainable for professional offices in rural Alaska, and that may help them provide better quality services to their communities. These recommendations include: 1) social abuse and crisis training for rural paraprofessionals; 2) socio-cultural training for frontline professional workers, to educate them not only on the history of the region in which they work, but also on the interconnected and long-lasting effects of sexual and domestic violence; and 3) improved communication between rural Alaskan communities and the state agencies that serve them, possibly via a cultural liaison. I also urge public and rural education initiatives, both in schools and to the public at large, regarding the long term, complex, and multigenerational effects of sexual and domestic violence and alcohol abuse.
    • Resilient spirits

      Apok, Charlene Renee; Brooks, Cathy; Carroll, Jennifer L. L.; Jones, Jenny Bell; Carothers, Courtney; Ramos, Judith (2016-05)
      The following is a report of a project, "Resilient Spirits", which took place in Nome, Alaska. This project aimed to highlight stories of healing through survivorship. This work focuses on the assets within Alaska Native culture, community, and people. Development of strategies to address violence need to include healing. The project selected a mixed methodology of talking circles and photovoice to highlight the themes of healing, strength, and resilience. These methods served to engage participants in a culturally appropriate manner, in a safe space, and could be utilized at their comfort level. The first phase of the project was the introductory talking circle. It was used to discuss the themes and set up the photo activity. The second phase, photovoice, was chosen as a project activity to assist in sharing stories. Participants used digital cameras in their everyday lives to represent what healing and strength looked like from their perspective. The final third phase was another talking circle. It was a time to reflect on the first talking circle and the process of photovoice. From the unique combination of talking circles and photovoice, stories emerged on healing where there is often silence. Photographs provided a rich illustration of a sense of holistic healing and strength. Knowledge on healing and strength can be found within our Alaska Native communities. Healing is a renewable resource and experienced inter-generationally.
    • Spiritual coping in counseling with trauma survivors

      Bronson, Damaris; Renes, Susan; Gifford, Valerie; Swisher, Kimberly (2016)
      Instances of past trauma are common in clients who are seeking help working through feelings of anxiety and depression. This research project will investigate the use of spiritual coping with clients who have experienced trauma involving intimate partner violence. The literature will identify areas that are important to consider when working with this population. Spirituality will be explored and along with Existentialism serve as the framework for working with trauma survivors. Due to the concentration of Alaska Native and American Indian individuals in Alaska, culture specific interventions are described. The application for this project, based on a review of the literature, is a training for master's level counseling students designed to educate future counselors about spiritual coping.