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Swipe Right for Safety: A Guest Blog

Swipe Right for Safety By: Christiana Paradis, Program Coordinator for DOJ OVW Grant, VIP Center
There are many ways that we can meet people and stay in touch through texting, Skype, Instagram, Snapchat and more! In the last few years we’ve seen changes in the ways that the internet has played a prominent role in dating practices. It’s a social norm to meet someone who has tried or is currently using a dating app. In fact, there are 40 million Americans using online dating sites—27% of that population is young adults (Pew Research Center, 2015). Dating app use on college campuses has grown and people are using dating apps for a variety of reasons. According to Tinder, 70% of college students have never met up with their matches and 45% say they use Tinder mostly for confidence boosting procrastination. In fact, 42% of Tinder users already have a partner (consensual open relationship: cool, cheating: not cool)! There are many positives and negatives to online dating. For some people, it’…

Self-Administered Rape Exams are NOT the Answer: A Guest Blog

Transitions' is pleased to have one of our colleagues and partners, Christiana Paradis of Susquehanna University, weigh in on a subject that has been gracing many headlines (and making many waves!) recently -- the announcement of a tech-startup championing "DIY rape kits." Christiana, who oversees the Department of Justice grant at Susquehanna, as well as the VIP Center for victims services on campus, spoke up about the issue -- and why 'DIY' and 'rape' should never go hand in hand.


About one month ago our University was contacted by the founder of the #MeTooKit, an organization promising to yield the “first ever sexual assault kit for at home use with immediate DNA lab processing.” At first glance, this sounds great! Something that can privately be administered so a survivor doesn’t have to go to the hospital offering more choice and privacy?! Immediate DNA lab processing so as to avoid the rape kit backlog that we’ve heard so much about across the Unite…

Fairl Family Justice Center to Open Soon

Transitions is committed to reducing trauma for children during divorce and separation of parents and we have seen how well the Child Access Center in Bellefonte works for families in Centre County. The Center has been a place for many safe custody exchanges and visitations over its seven years of operation, without incident.
The Child Access Center in Bellefonte came about in response to the murder-suicide involving Benjamin Barone and his estranged wife, Jodi. After a year of fights over custody of the couples’ 4-year old daughter, Benjamin lured Jodi to a Sheetz parking lot in what appears to be a planned custody exchange.Through a Protection from Abuse Order that Jodi had obtained in Centre County, Benjamin was supposed to have relinquished his guns but he was able to get a gun and killed Jodi and then, killed himself. CentreSafe, a sister agency of Transitions, recognized the need -- and we see a strong need, too.
In our three counties -- Union, Snyder, and Northumberland -- par…

RESPONSE Ability

I hope that you are well. I had the privilege to speak at a special event on Saturday. It was a “Walk for No More” event which is part of a national campaign to end domestic violence and sexual assault. I have a strong relationship with “Transitions” in Lewisburg and I thank Susan Mathias and Heather Shnyder for asking me to speak at the event.

I have always believed that everyone has a role in working to end domestic violence and sexual assault. I feel that events like this provide a means of education for all of us. We realize that it is an issue. Do we have the courage and conviction to take a stand to make a difference?
I have always approached this topic with the teams that I have been privileged to coach. The head coaches I worked with were open about the fact that we all have a role in taking care of each other. It goes beyond what we all think of when we consider these issues. It is a matter of humans watching out for and taking care of other humans.

In my upbringing my Father an…

Survivorship in Advocacy: Transitioning from Victim to Advocate

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I wish there was a light switch that made it clear when you were "done" being a victim and begin your work as an advocate. Alas, for many individuals who have "been there, done that," part of our journey involves joining the helpers: Becoming advocates ourselves.

If you look around the state -- even the nation -- at the local domestic violence, sexual assault and comprehensive crime centers -- a large chunk of staff will tell you that once upon a time, they may have been the ones that filled our shelter beds or counseling office chairs.

It's true. For many survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and other crimes, one of the biggest steps in healing is the act of paying it forward: giving back to the organization(s) that helped them heal, and using their experience (and expertise!) to ensure that they can help others escape.

At Transitions, when you ask around, almost every staff member -- even if they aren't personally former victims -- have a pull …

When #MeToo Isn’t Enough: Why Domestic Violence Needs Its Own Hashtag

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In late 2017, the #MeToo movement catalyzed a change in our national conversation about sexual assault and harassment. The movement began when actress Alyssa Milano shared accusations of sexual assault and harassment against producer Harvey Weinstein. As other Hollywood mega-stars began to come forward with similar stories, #MeToo went viral. Twitter confirmed to CBS News that over 1.7 million tweets included the hashtag "#MeToo," with 85 countries that had at least 1,000 #MeToo tweets. Long before it became a hashtag, we are also aware that Tarana Burke began the #MeToo campaign in 1997, and we applaud her for her activism, her voice, encouraging others, especially women of color, to use their voices. This movement is shining a necessary light on an issue that has always been present for centuries.

Historically, some people who have come forward regarding the violence perpetrated against them have had their voices elevated higher than others, particularly wealthy white celeb…

Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault on College Campuses

In light of October’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we wanted to focus on domestic violence and sexual assault on campuses. While sexual assault is a major issue on campus, many don’t realize that intimate partner violence (IPV) is a significant issue among college students. Women aged 16-24 experience the highest per capita rate of intimate partner violence in the United States. This is just one of the many eye-opening facts that demonstrate the severity of domestic violence among young people in this country. The following are more statistics showing the frequency of domestic violence and sexual assault, specifically on college campuses.

•21% of college students report having experienced dating violence by a current partner. 33% experience dating violence by a previous partner.
•13% of college women report they were forced to have sex by a dating partner.
•Over 13% of college women report they have been stalked. Of these, 42% were stalked by a boyfriend or ex-boyfriend.
•Nearly …