Paul H. Olson, Grand Forks
Every society has problems. That has been and will always be part of the human experience. In the United States and North Dakota in particular there are numerous issues that are divisive and complicated, but one problem that everyone should be equally committed to eliminating is violence.
Why do our communities in North Dakota have such a high rate of domestic abuse and sexual assault? North Dakota is considered the best run state in the country. Overall our children do better than average on many national measures. We now can boast of a very diverse economy and other states are jealous of our economic opportunities. We are still a state with a high percentage of church-goers which many would say translates into a high degree of morality. Nevertheless, the problem of violence is rampant. It is not just a problem in the Bakken. This problem occurs statewide and goes back generations.
I would never attempt to simplify this issue; the causes are complicated and the actions to stop this vicious cycle are obviously complicated. I do contend that every man needs to take a greater role in speaking up and acting to stop violence especially violence toward children and women.
If you are not speaking up when you hear trash talk about girls and women-you are part of the problem. If you are not reporting what appears to be abuse to law enforcement or social services-you are part of the problem. If you are not supporting organizations that work to prevent violence and support victims-you are part of the problem.
Please talk about this issue with your families and friends and figure out what you can do in your community to make a difference. Make this your mission!