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Anchorage, Fairbanks among 'most dangerous cities for women'

Alaska's high rate of sexual assault is well-known in the state, and Forbes.com is the latest of the national media to take note. The site puts Anchorage at No. 2 and Fairbanks at No. 3 in its list of "Most Dangerous U.S. Cities for Women."

According to a 2011 survey, more than 37% of Alaskan women report that they've suffered some form of sexual assault in their lives. ... Anchorage suffers the highest violent crime rate in the state (812 reported for every 100,000 residents) in addition to a staggeringly high incidence of rape. According to numbers from the FBI Uniform Crime Report, more than 85 rapes are committed annually per 100,000 citizens, which makes Anchorage No. 2 on our list.

Scott Berkowitz, the president of RAINN (the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network), says that while data on reported incidences of rape is often unreliable, researchers and advocates have historically seen higher rates of sexual violence in Native communities. In Alaska, where nearly 15% of the population is American Indian or Alaskan Indian, Berkowitz says this could be a key factor.

Alaska's rate of sex attack is the focus of annual statewide "Choose Respect" events in March. Read more about the rankings and reaction from Alaskans at Alaska Dispatch.