Commissioner of Public Safety has this to say about 'The Stalker' column - Must Read Alaska
Connect with:
Tuesday, November 12, 2019
HomeThe SocialCommissioner of Public Safety has this to say about ‘The Stalker’ column

Commissioner of Public Safety has this to say about ‘The Stalker’ column

IT NORMALIZES STALKING, AND THAT’S NOT GOOD, SHE SAYS

The commissioner of Public Safety has asked the Anchorage Daily News to reconsider the name of one of its recently added features, called “The Stalker.” The column, written by Allison Hovanec, is meant to be a light-hearted poke a the parade of social media antics and foibles in Alaska, especially those involving public figures. Politicians particularly provide Hovanec with a trove of material.

DPS Commissioner Amanda Price, who is the first female Public Safety commissioner in Alaska, thinks the column needs a new name, however.

In a letter to ADN executive editor Dave Hulen, Price wrote that stalking in Alaska is a real problem, and those who are stalked are real victims. Making light of their situation is an editorial misjudgment, she believes, since one in three Alaska women have been stalked at some point in their lives.

Must Read Alaska obtained a copy of that letter. Here it is in its entirety, so readers can read the context in which the commissioner makes her point:

“Changing the culture of acceptance in Alaska means every business, government, department, community, neighborhood, and individual be accountable and responsible to taking action to support the change. Alaska needs to be a state in which we do not normalize behaviors such as domestic violence, including stalking.

“Recently, your publication printed the following (excerpt): “We all have a duty to be part of the solution within our own communities. That means not looking the other way when we see abusive behavior among our friends and relations. It means speaking up for what we know is right instead of staying quiet to avoid difficult conversations. It means raising our sons to know that violence in a relationship is never acceptable. Emotional abuse is never acceptable. Sex without consent is never acceptable. And it means making sure their friends and partners know it too.

We won’t collectively choose respect until we’re willing to confront the problems of domestic violence and sexual assault — and their precursors — whenever and wherever we see them. That’s a fight we can’t afford to lose. If women in Alaska can’t feel safe in their homes and communities, how can we pretend we’re succeeding as a state in any capacity?”

“I applaud your editorial board for highlighting the need for change. At your encouragement, I am speaking up. The Anchorage Daily News prints a column called The Alaska Stalker. Stalking is defined in Alaska Statutes (AS 11.41.260 and AS 11.41.270) as “knowingly engage in a course of conduct that recklessly places another person in fear of death or physical injury, or in fear of the death or physical injury of a family member.” Stalking in the first degree is a felony in Alaska.

“The 2015 Alaska Victimization Survey tells us that one in three Alaskan women have been stalked in their lifetime. Stalking is a form of domestic violence. Abusers use stalking to control their victims, to place them in fear of death or physical injury. When the largest news publication in the state of Alaska participates in the normalization of a term that depicts damaging and traumatic, not to mention criminal, behavior directly related to intimate partner violence, how are your readers to feel safe?”

“Among lifetime victims of intimate partner violence or sexual violence, more than 66,800 Alaskan women were also victims of stalking. I cannot imagine how these Alaskan women might feel looking at their trusted local news source to see a “lighthearted” column titled The Alaska Stalker. Actions, such as normalizing and making light of terms that describe troubling, criminal behavior, serve to only reinforce that our state is not unified causing the much need societal shift.

“Certainly, I am not assuming or asserting that either your publication or the author of The Alaska Stalker intended any harm, but I am putting forward the optic that this portrays as we discuss the critical topic of changing societal norms.

“I’m sure many readers enjoy the column and its contents – I ask that your editorial board reconsider the name of the column, and if you indeed agree and look to change the name, perhaps make a statement to Alaska regarding why you may have done so. I believe it could be a powerful statement, reflecting that your publication is tuned in to the realities and intricacies of interpersonal violence and are willing to do your part.

“I thank you very much for your consideration, and for continuing to work to bring these topics to the forefront of Alaskans thoughts.”

Donations Welcome

Share

Written by

Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • Stalking is also, was originally, & still is primarily, defined as “to walk or steal along furtively” & “to approach game stealthily.” When are we going to stop this PC abuse of language, changing &/or limiting words & their original uses, because someone either doesn’t know their definitions or chooses to impose only their usage on all others?

  • From a college campus near you straight into a Republican administration. This NPC nonsense has jumped the party divide.

  • The ADN editorial board is doing something tone deaf and irresponsible?

    Say it ain’t so..

    The more things change, the more they stay the same.

  • “”A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”, William Shakespeare. This woman is making much ado about nothing. Get past it, Lady, and worry about something that actually matters. We don’t need your PC baloney. “Stalker” isn’t a bad word. The action of stalking someone with intent to do harm IS bad. Don’t turn something innocent into something bad because you don’t like a word.

  • I don’t have a problem with it. In today’s climate, stalking pretty much means following someone covertly and quite often is an invasion of privacy and in the mind of a perp who is up to no good, potentially breaking the law. Pull your big boy panties back on and get over it because some sicko just might not be motivated to stalk someone and if he doesn’t read the trigger word.

  • Yet another word-fearing individual in a public office. I’m sorry but everyone in this country has a First Amendment right. And for you to use your verbal billy club to attack a person’s First Amendment is an abuse of office. Alaska law defines a person’s actions. It does not pertain to a printed word. How will a victim ever get over the incident if it’s never talked about. You’re enabling victims to stay in their proverbial cocoons.

  • Here are several things that Amanda Price could have done instead of pen this really weird admission that she doesn’t understand metaphor:

    1. Reach out to a victim of actual stalking to provide support
    2. Volunteer at a shelter for women or victims of abuse
    3. Donate to an organization that provides legal help to victims of domestic abuse
    4. Actually do her job

    Amanda Price is the freaking Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety. You have A LOT on your plate, Amanda! Instead, of all the things threatening public safety in Alaska, you wasted your time on this????? Unbelievable.

    • Somehow it occurs to me that there is nothing that a member of a Republican administration could do, write, or say that you would approve of.

      • Republican you say? She looks like she got a little overdone on campus.

  • When my kids say they’re out “stalking” moose, are they “normalizing” the violent stalking of women? Any halfwit knows that CONTEXT MATTERS with words. If Amanda’s partner tells her he’s “dead tired,” does Amanda choke back tears and start planning the funeral?

  • I am not familiar with social media slang, but I though it was ‘trolls’ that engaged in the practice the ADN is monitoring, so it seems more appropriate to refer to the practice as ‘trolling.’

  • A bridge too far…

  • The only reason I ever bought Pravda, excuse me, The Daily News when I was in government was to read “The Ear” to see if I or anybody I knew was in it. Maybe they’re trying to get that readership back with “The Stalker.”

  • Priceless.

  • Any of you commenting here ever been stalked by a human? Who meant to do you harm? If you had, you wouldn’t feel so bad about the changing of a title of a column called “The Stalker”. Ya, it’s just a title, a name, but to poke fun at such a sociopathic crime such as stalking really does minimize the actual act. Rename it to “The Creeper” or “The Follower”. It’s not a snowflake thing, it really does have an effect you don’t see.

leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: