Showing posts from 2012

A National Campaign about Sexual Violence, Please!

Today, I had the opportunity to read a very thoughtful article written by Anna Kegler, posted on Huffington Post: Sexual Violence Prevention: It's Time to Go Big.  I highly encourage you to read the article.  It discusses the lack of a national "public service" campaign to prevent sexual violence beyond communties on the internet.  As the other staff people at Transitions can tell you, I enjoy reading (and sharing!) news stories and other media that I see involving domestic violence, sexual assault and other topics that affect our clients.  However, I had never really thought about the fact that there is no national campaign for preventing sexual abuse.  The only media that I have recently seen about domestic violence or sexual abuse is on billboards.  In today's digital world, billboards are not enough.  Perhaps because domestic violence agencies and rape crisis centers are found in most communties, people think there is enough awareness.  Victims have a place to go…

Transitions Providing Free Shoes to Children Through Payless Gives Shoes 4 Kids

[Lewisburg, PA, December 6, 2012] —Transitions, formerly Susquehanna Valley Women in Transition, has been selected as an official partner ofPayless GivesTM Shoes 4 Kids, an annual giving program from Payless ShoeSource. Transitions was one of over 1,000charitable agency applicants representing all 50 states in the United States, as well as Canada, Puerto Rico and 11 Latin American countries. Transitions will be distributing merchandise certificates for children’s shoes to the families receiving services.
Transitions is a crisis center that provides advocacy, empowerment and education to victims, survivors, families and communities to end patterns of violence and abuse.Transitions serves victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and other serious crimes in Union, Snyder and Northumberland Counties.“We are thrilled to once again partner with Payless GivesTM Shoes 4 Kids to ensure that the children who we help receive a new, properly fitting pair of shoes this holiday season,” Acting …

New York Times Article Explores the Relationships Between Players and Coaches

The following article was published in The New York Times on November 19th in the print edition and November 18th online.  As the media covered the Jerry Sandusky scandal, Transitions received calls seeking services because they  could not block the abuse they suffered out of their minds.  The coverage was too pervasive.  We condemn the actions of all those involved, however are thankful that victims are seeking services and male victims are feeling less stigmatized.  This article continues exploring the relationships between players and coaches and the opportunities for sexual abuse to occur.  May each of us remain vigilant in protecting children of all genders.MaleSurvivor Conference Examines Sexual Abuse in SportsByERIC V. COPAGE
Published: November 18, 2012It was the summer before high school, and Christopher Gavagan, then 13, was preparing to leave the safe familiarity of the friends he had known during his boyhood. With a plan to excel at ice hockey, he began training on inline s…

International Forensic Nurses Week

November 12th through the 16th is International Forensic Nurses Week
We would like to take this opportunity to both express our gratitude and highlight the wonderful SANE nurses we have at Evangelical Hospital.
Lindsay, Rachel, and Hannah are the trained SANE nurses at Evangelical Hospital.  They are on call in a rotation and must still work their regular shifts.  Their patience and skill are an example to all nurses and we are very grateful that they have chosen this work. 
Evangelical Hospital continues to be the only hospital in Northumberland, Snyder, and Union Counties to employ SANE nurses.  Although there are other hospitals, their nurses and physicians may not be trained in evidence collection.  The chain of custody of said evidence may be broken in another medical facility.  Evangelical Hospital maintains an exam room, office, and bathroom in a suite to the rear of the Emergency Area specifically for SANE patients.  Their continued dedication to the comfort and treatment of sex…

Welcome to Our Americorps Volunteers!

Transitions is pleased to have received two volunteers through Americorps, continuing our relationship with this valuable program.  Disneyanna is providing direct services to child clients and Ethel is serving as a volunteer in our Education Department.  They started working in September and have been settling in nicely.  Please see the introductions they provided below.

My name is Ethel Friar.During the last fifteen years I have had many opportunities to travel throughout the U.S. and Asia.Although my first love is writing (and reading) fiction, I have volunteered extensively in the different places where I have lived – in orphanages, international schools, private tutoring, churches, and libraries.My favorite volunteer positions were teaching English to Chinese children in Hsinchu, Taiwan, and in the Montessori classroom at the Soong Ching Ling Kindergarten in Shanghai, China.With this in mind, I am greatly looking forward to the year ahead, working as an Education Outreach Specialis…

Domestic Violence and Bullying: The Connection

As many of you may know by now October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.When discussing domestic violence it is important to discuss the issue of bullying.Initially, bullying may not seem to be related to domestic violence.However, a number of studies and researchers have found a connection between bullying and domestic violence, and have suggested that by teaching students about bullying we may be able to prevent domestic violence in the future. In one study led by Harvard School of Public Health, researchers found that those who act abusively towards others are likely to do so through childhood even into adulthood.The study found a link between bullying others at school and domestic violence later in life.Those who are bullies and are abusive in their younger years do not always outgrow these abusive behaviors. This fact leads to the question what influences those who bully?One study by the Center for Disease control, found that those who bully and even those who are bullied are m…

How can the legal system help victims of domestic violence?

When individuals recognize the abuse in their lives, they frequently reach out to others for help. Victims of abuse may appeal to friends, family, doctors, counselors, Children and Youth workers, Transitions, law enforcement, the courts, etc. or any combination thereof for assistance in ending the violence. Transitions regularly receives referrals from these various sources to provide one of our many services–Legal Advocacy. What does a Legal Advocate do? Simply put… ‘Trained staff provide clarification of the legal process and transactions, assist clients in filing Protection From Abuse (PFA) Orders and accompany victims to court hearings’ (Transitions, 2011). In reality legal advocates provide multiple services in addition to explaining legal options, assisting with paperwork and accompanying to hearings. We also talk about the violence, discuss safety planning with victims, and make referrals to other agencies, which can provide services specific to individuals needs e.g. a safe pla…

The Clothesline Project

Imagine getting physically abused or even raped by someone you thought you trusted. The mere idea of it is enough to send chills down someone’s spine. Yet statistics depict a grave situation where frequencies of such events keep increasing at a staggering rate.
The Clothesline Project, established in 1990 by a coalition of women who had suffered some form of domestic abuse, has become one of the many prolific means of relating stories of survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. With 500 projects in 41 states and 51 countries, the Project involves survivors to write messages on shirts regarding their experience with domestic violence or sexual abuse and hang them on a clothesline. Supporters of survivors can also write encouraging messages to boost self-esteem of survivors and also to commemorate victims who had passed away because of domestic violence and assault. The uniqueness of the project lies in the fact that it provides freedom to anyone making the shirts in any way th…

Bully Screening at The Campus Theatre

We are pleased to annouce that the film BULLY will be shown at the Campus Theatre in Lewisburg.  This event is sponsored by Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Susquehanna Valley.  The film will be showing Friday, Sept. 21st at 8:30pm, Saturday, Sept. 22nd at 8:00pm, Sunday, Sept. 23rd at 2:00 and 5:30 pm. 

"Over 13 million American kids will be bullied this year, making it the most common form of violence experienced by young people in the nation. The new documentary film BULLY, directed by Sundance and Emmy-award winning filmmaker, Lee Hirsch, brings human scale to this startling statistic, offering an intimate, unflinching look at how bullying has touched five kids and their families."

You may remember in late February, there was outcry when this film received a NC-17 rating, then it was downgraded to R, and currently has a PG-13 rating.  Critics were upset because part of the intended audience (high and middle sc…

Unexpected Column in The Daily Item Covers Military Sexual Trauma

Thank you to John Deppen, who took the opportunity to address Military Sexual Trauma in his column in The Daily Item this Sunday.  His column typically covers Civil War, history, reenactment information, and other Veterans' causes.  Our sincerest gratitude goes to John Deppen, who took the opportunity to cover an unpopular topic.  If you cannot read the above, please see the text of the column below.

Sexual trauma is hidden danger for today's servicewomen

Your daughter is a soldier in the United States Army.  You know that, as a volunteer in the military, she may be in danger, especially in a time of war.  After all, 140 American service-women have died as a result of enemy action in Iraq and Afghanistan. 
What you may not know is that the more likely danger to your daughter comes not from enemy action, but from a more indifious and cruel enemy, an enemy that has a name--Military Sexual Trauma.
Military Sexual Trauma is defined by U.S. Code 1720D of Title 28 as "psychologica…

Rape Is Rape

We would be remiss if Transitions didn't include some mention of Representative Todd Akin's comments in our blog.  In case you have not heard, Rep. Akin (R-Mo.), while being interviewed on KTVI-TV, was asked if he supports abortion in cases of rape.  His response included the following statements:  “It seems to be, first of all, from what I understand from doctors, it’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut the whole thing down.”

Herein sparks the outrage.

There have been many articles and statements about the comments, what they mean, what consequences there may be for both Rep. Akin and the Republican Party, as well as general outcry about the words he chose and what he's saying. 

We wish to add our voice to all the other voices who are loudly saying that this is unacceptable.  We stand with President Obama and other organizations saying that rape is rape.  There is no qualifier.  All rape is forcible rape.  And NONE of it is okay.…

Payment of Expenses for Victims of Crime

Did you know that if you are the victim of a crime in Pennsylvania there is a program that may pay for your medical bills?
It is called the Victim's Compensation Assistance Program (VCAP).
Eligibility Requirements include:
Clients must be a victim of a crime that happened in Pennsylvania or a PA resident who was injured or killed in a foreign country that does not have a compensation program.
They must report the crime to authorities (law enforcement, hospital personnel, courthouse filing) or file a PFA within three days of the crime, as well as cooperate with these authorities and the Victim's Compensation Assistance Program.
The claim must be filed within 2 years of the crime.  The client filing must not have been involved in any illegal activity that may have caused the crime to occur.  Clients must also have an out of pocket expense of at least $100, unless they are older than 60 years old.

VCAP may be able to help reimburse victims of crime for medical bills, loss of earnings, …

Encouraging the STOP Act

This is Lavena Johnson; she was raped and murdered while serving with the United States Army in Iraq.

Many of the posts on this blog have centered on sexual assault within the military.It is not because assaults are suddenly happening more often, or more severely.Sexual assaults have been occurring in the military for a long time.The military has recently been in the news due to a Department of Defense report and subsequent hearings on the topic in Congress.Another reason military sexual assault is in the news is the allegations against superior officers at Lackland Air Force Base.
Representatives in the House have met with victims of military assault and are working toward the passage of the STOP (Sexual Assault Training Oversight and Prevention) Act.Representative Jackie Speier, D-Calif, introduced this legislation, which would eliminate the chain of command from having the authority to investigate sexual assault allegations within the military.The investigation would instead be perfo…

Transitions Hires Education Outreach Specialist

Transitions is pleased to welcome our new Education Outreach Specialist, Sara.

Sara was raised and currently reside in Milton.She recently graduated Suma Cum Laude from the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford, with a Bachelors degree in Sociology and a minor in psychology and counseling psychology.While at Pitt, she interned at Geisinger as a Research Assistant and at Mckean County Children and Youth Services.Throughout her time at Pitt, she has worked as a tutor and got the chance to help other students.  Sara loves working with children and cannot wait to begin working with children in the local area schools.She is very excited to be a part of Transitions!

Welcome, Sara!

A Reminder of What Budget Cuts Do...

I am sad to report that one of our sister agencies, Your Safe Haven, serving Bedford County, had to close the doors to its shelter this month.  Your Safe Haven was the only domestic violence organization providing shelter for Bedford County.  When cuts in funding are made at the state level, it greatly affects local organizations, and local people.  Your Safe Haven, like us, serves a largely rural population.  Can you imagine having to travel to another county for a safe place to stay?  What about work?  What about childcare?  What about transportation?  What if the client has never lived outside of her hometown?  These are scary thoughts for someone who is already scared enough to call a domestic violence hotline.  Our hearts and thoughts go out to Your Safe Haven and Bedford County for their loss.  Please, contact your legislator to ask them not to cut domestic violence or sexual assault funding any further.

Child Support 101

In order to start a child support case, you need to go to your county’s Domestic Relations Office.  To qualify for child support, the parents may not live together and your county may require you to have a custody order.
To start a case, you will need:
Your Social Security number Your child’s Social Security number
Your child’s birth certificate
Your address
The name and address of your health insurance company (if applicable)
Proof of your income (copies of pay stubs)
A copy of your divorce agreement (if applicable)
The other parent’s full name
The other parent’s current address
The other parent’s Social Security number
The other parent’s birthday
The name and address of his/her employer
The date of your marriage and the date of your separation/divorce (if applicable)

When filing, do not be afraid to ask questions, and make sure to tell the caseworker any relevant information, such as the existence of a Protection From Abuse (PFA) order, or if there has been violence in your…

Traumatic Brain Injury and Domestic Violence

The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence recently published a tip sheet in the Spring 2012 edition of PA Academy of Family Physicans Magazine, available on their website on pages 20-21.  They have presented other information about TBI and DV, and continue to be a useful resource.  It estimates that 36% of domestic violence survivors sustain injuries to the head, neck, or face.  The most severeTBI symptoms include post-traumatic amnesia beyond one week, open head injuries, intracranial contusions, lacerations, hematomas, hemorrhages, and diffuse axonal injuries.

Violence Against Women Act Update

The Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) has become embroiled in a contentious partisan debate about a variety of issues, including immigration, native rights, and rights of LGBTQ individuals.We are pleased that the Senate passed a new version of VAWA which includes increasing the number of visas available to victims of domestic violence who are undocumented immigrants, bans discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender victims of domestic violence, and gives Native American tribes more authority in prosecuting domestic violence offenses.It also restructures some grants and creates new funding for programs on college campuses.It has many positive changes, but it still excludes some individuals, including Alaskan Native tribes.
One of the issues that is left out of the House of Representatives’ version of the Violence Against Women Act is allowing Native American tribes more discretion in prosecuting domestic violence offenders.The Senate version allo…