Officials and citizens in Nome, Alaska, a remote city in western Alaska's Bering Strait region, are reckoning with a crisis of sexual violence against women. For years, Alaska Native women have urged officials to address the fact that reported rape is twice the national average throughout the state, and the overwhelming majority of victims are Alaksa Native. Rape survivors and their supporters say the city's police department has failed to take sexual violence cases seriously, especially when assaults are reported by Alaska Native residents and visitors.
Some progress has been made to reconcile the history of strain between Nome's overwhelmingly white police force and the community, which is majority Inupiaq and Yupik heritage. Local police have new leadership, and the police department announced it would be re-examining hundreds of old sexual assault cases. But what will it take to fully address the impact of these wounds on the community?
[Photographs by Maye-e Wong]