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U.S. Military To Revamp Response To Sexual Assault

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Yesterday, December 26th, President Obama signeda defense bill that puts greater restrictions on the power commanders have to determine responses to sexual assault.  
According to the Washington Post:

Commanders will no longer be permitted to overturn jury convictions for sexual assault. The law also requires a civilian review when commanders decline to prosecute, requires dishonorable discharge or dismissal for those convicted, eliminate the statute of limitations for court[sic]-martial in rape and sexual assault cases and criminalizes retaliation against victims who report an assault.

In another effort to combat sexual violence, President Obama ordered military leaders to look at their efforts to prevent and respond to sexual assault in a year-long review.  

We are pleased to hear this news, but cautious about the process for civilian reviews and the burden of proof required to convict.  Another proposal that victims of sexual assault would be entitled to their own attorney does not see…

How To Help Someone You Suspect Is Being Abused--Domestic Violence

Throughout the holiday season, family and friends gather at each other's homes, and you may have suspicions that someone you know may be the victim of domestic violence.  We would like to take this opportunity to share some information to help you.


An abusive person may exhibit the following attitudes and behaviors: ·Extreme jealousy;
·Maintaining strict control over finances or appearance;
·Setting limitations on partner’s ability to work, go to school, or have contact with friends and family;
·Restricting the use of car or phone;
·Putting partner down with insults and criticisms.
Victims of abuse may: ·Have unexplained injuries;
·Have fear or anxiety about pleasing their partner;
·Check in often with their partner to report where they are and what they are doing;
·Receive frequent, harassing phones calls or text messages from their partner;
·Talk about their partner’s temper, jealousy, or possessiveness;
·Have very low self-esteem, even if they used to be confident.

Origins Of an Advocate

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A photo of me in college
When I was in college, majoring in Urban Studies and Sociology, one of my friends asked me what I wanted to do.  I replied with “help people.”  She asked again, but more specifically, what do you want to do.  And I remember saying that I wanted to work at a place like Women in Transition, apparently sealing my own fate!
When I was about 13-14, my parents received a call requesting their presence at my grandparents’ house.  Being the curious and helpful person I am, I, of course, went along.  At my grandparents’ house were my aunt and her two small children.  Her husband had kicked and pushed her, and this wasn’t the first time.  Being as young as I was, I don’t remember a lot of the details, but I do know that he did some time in jail and she got a PFA.
While in college, I was interested in HIV/AIDS activism and got in contact with a local needle exchange, Prevention Point Pittsburgh.  They provided services to active intravenous drug users, including clean syrin…

Revenge Porn Covered in Local New Outlet

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Local news outlet, Newswatch 16, covered the phenomenon of revenge porn, that we recently posted about.
We appreciate their coverage of an important topic, and their respect for victims' privacy by not sharing the names of any websites.  PCADV's Ellen Kramer put it best when she said the practice is used solely to smear and intimidate women. 
We hope that increased coverage and awareness of this type of behavior, specifically revenge porn and forwarding sexts to bully others, makes people more cautious of both taking and sharing these types of pictures. 

The Impact of Domestic Violence on EMS providers

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How does domestic violence impact our communities?Often people put a financial meaning behind this such as: court costs, housing inmates, taxes and property destruction.
I’ve been a paid and volunteer Emergency Medical Technician for 12 years.I will tell you how domestic violence impacted me as a pre-hospital care provider in the community. This is a true story that took place in Pennsylvania.
About 10 years ago, I was dispatched to assist the state police at a crime scene. The company I worked for at the time also did coroner transports.We were given no additional information except for the name of the road.I knew the exact road due to living by the southern piece of the county; and I knew very well that there were no homes located on it.I assumed it was a car accident.
Arriving at the scene there were numerous state police cars and vans. I got out of the ambulance and walked towards the troopers.The sun had set and it was dark except for the police car lights. The rain was pouring do…

Transitions Will Provide Free Shoes to Kids in Need through the Payless Gives Shoes for Kids Program

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Transitions is pleased to announce that we have been selected as an official partner of Payless GivesTM Shoes 4 Kids, an annual giving program from Payless ShoeSource. Transitions is one of 750 charitable agencies representing all 50 states in the United States and will be distributing merchandise certificates for children’s shoes to the families that they serve.
Transitions is a comprehensive victim services center that provides advocacy, empowerment and education to victims, survivors, families and communities to end domestic violence, sexual assault and other serious crimes in Union, Snyder and Northumberland Counties.  “We are pleased to partner with Payless GivesTM Shoes 4 Kids again this year to ensure that the children who we help receive a new, properly fitting pair of shoes this holiday season,” Chief Executive Officer, Susan Mathias said.
This is the sixth year of the Payless GivesTM Shoes 4 Kids program. Although studies show that properly fitting shoes are important for ch…

Human Trafficking Definitions and Red Flags

Truckers Against Trafficking (28:11) from iEmpathize on Vimeo.

Human trafficking is the sale or commodification of a person and/or their labor for the benefit of another through methods of force, coercion, fraud, or if the victim is a minor.  Here's a further explanation from The Polaris Project.

As defined under U.S. federal law, victims of human trafficking include children involved in the sex trade, adults age 18 or over who are coerced or deceived into commercial sex acts, and anyone forced into different forms of "labor or services," such as domestic workers held in a home, or farm-workers forced to labor against their will. The factors that each of these situations have in common are elements of force, fraud, or coercion that are used to control people.  Then, that control is tied to inducing someone into commercial sex acts, or labor or services. 

Many of the outreach and prevention efforts are centered around children, but they are not the only victims of human tra…

Anti Rape Undergarments Cannot Stop Sexual Violence

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ARWEAR from ARWEAR on Vimeo.


I would like to think that all of us want to solve the problem of sexual violence.It impacts 1 in 6 women and 1 in 33 men.  It can have negative lasting effects on someone’s life.We want to think of solutions, to be part of a solution, and yet there is only so much that we can do.Well, someone has tried to do something; two women created ARWEAR and they are looking for funding.I understand their purpose in trying to prevent sexual violence.  However, this is not going to solve the sexual violence problem for a variety of reasons.
This product perpetuates the stereotype that sexual assault happens at night, by strangers or people you barely know (1st date) and that something the victim did could have prevented the sexual assault.This is not the case, as 73% of sexual assaults were committed by a non-stranger.Even if they didn’t include that information in the pitch for funding, I don’t think the average person is going to wear anti-rape undergarments every da…

Transitions Receives $7,500 Grant From the Allstate Foundation

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Lewisburg, PA (November 1, 2013) – The Allstate® Foundation has awarded $7,500 to Transitions for economic empowerment programs for domestic violence victims to be conducted in 2014.
Transitions is a comprehensive crime victims services center that provides education programs and direct services to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and other serious crimes in Union, Snyder, and Northumberland counties.  Transitions operates two domestic violence shelters and houses 110 adult and child victims annually.  Last year, Transitions provide services to almost 2,700 individuals.
Transitions will utilize funds from the Allstate® Foundation Grant to reduce barriers for domestic violence survivors by offering Allstate’s Moving Ahead through Financial Empowerment program in Union, Snyder, and Northumberland counties, Pennsylvania.  Providing financial management training to those living in poverty will assist victims and survivors of domestic violence develop the tools necessary to surv…

The Purple Hands Project

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The Purple Hands Project developed a pledge that states, "I will not use hands or my words for hurting myself or others."  Many people have taken the pledge by stamping their hand print on a poster board, with purple paint, to signify that they are making a stand against domestic violence and a commitment to not take part in any domestic violence themselves.  I first saw this done a few years ago in a church in Montana, where they proudly displayed their pledge to end violence.  Their pledge is still hanging in the church to this day, to serve as a reminder.  On October 23, I presented some members of my church with information and education about domestic violence.  First, we played a game of Jeopardy to see how much they knew about domestic violence.  Then, I gave them information on the services that Transitions provides and then we took a look at different warning signs of an abusive relationship, ways to safety plan, and what they could do if they, or someone they know,…

Flashback Feminist Friday--Sexual Assault Can Take Many Forms

Caution:Sexually explicit content
Currently, there is a controversysurrounding a recently released video of a young woman being sexually assaulted by a young man on the street.The controversy is whether this woman is a “real victim” or not.(There’s also additional controversy about the identity of the victim.)This conversation, about “real” rape, and “real” victims has gone on and on and although I will add my outcry and frustration, I cannot add a different perspective. Besides to say that rape is rape and victims are victims, until they become survivors.Do we really need to compare and rate levels of trauma and when abuse is “bad enough”?
Instead, I would like to comment on the outcries that this woman is not being sexually assaulted, and in my opinion, a lot of this comes from the fact that this sexual assault does not include vaginal intercourse through penetration by a penis.There is a notion that digital penetration (fingering) is not sexual assault and cunnilingus (oral sex) is n…

Remembering Pets During Domestic Violence Awareness Month

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They are the victims without voices.Some might bark, others meow or some tweet a song. They are the pets suffering due to domestic violence.


According to aspca.org, a study conducted by The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence reveled that 85.4 % of women and 63% of children reported incidents of pet abuse after arriving at domestic violence shelters.

Why do abusers target pets? To demonstrate power and control over the family
To isolate the victim and children
To enforce submission
To perpetuate an environment of fear
To prevent the victim from leaving or coerce her to return
To punish for leaving or showing independence
How can you help your local Domestic Violence center like Transitions assist victims and their pets?
Encourage victims to include their pets in their safety plan
Consider opening your home as a temporary foster home while a victim is in safe housing
Advocate with local boarding kennels, shelters or veterinary hospitals to offer reduced rates or free emergency boarding fo…

Fatality and Domestic Violence

Fatality and Domestic Violence
Domestic Violence is a life-threatening crime that affects millions of individuals regardless of age, economic status, race, religion or education.Nationwide, an average of three women are killed by a current or former partner every day.Advocates who work in the field of domestic violence know the high-risk stakes of the domestic violence situations that they encounter daily. At Transitions, the first step we take when speaking with a victim contacts us is to safety plan to make sure that the person is not in immediate danger.We must always be alert to the potential danger that may be present. This article will explore fatalities in the US and its effects on children; the deaths that have occurred in our service area (Union, Snyder and Northumberland Counties) over the last ten years; and what Transitions is doing to reduce fatalities.All but one of our deaths was caused by gunshot wounds. The 2012 Fatality Report issued by the Pennsylvania Coalition Agains…

Project Connect 2.0

Over the years Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault crisis centers, such as Transitions, have been focusing on helping victims and survivors of sexual and domestic violence.Through the years there has been specific focus on helping women and getting them into a safe place.We know that a staggering number of women are affected by domestic and sexual violence every year, but have recently begun to learn about the large number of adolescents and teens that are experiencing intimate partner violence, or dating violence, as well.
Every year in the U.S. at least 400,000 adolescents experience serious physical or sexual dating violence.As students get older, sexual violence and dating violence still occur at troubling rates. In fact, about 70% of college students say they have been sexually coerced.
Perhaps one of the most troubling things about dating violence among our youth is how underreported and unrecognized it can be.Many teens and adolescents in violent or dangerous relationships do n…

Flashback Feminist Friday--Housewives

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Today’s post is exactly the reason I feel that we need to continue to be aware of gender roles in marketing, education, and the media.
Pigeon-holing people into certain gender roles has been detrimental, and I believe that there is a swing to the other direction, with more trans and non-gender conforming individuals in the media, but we still live in a rural community, and these “traditions” are hard to break.
We have reality-TV celebrities encouraging women to provide in their homes a sanctuary for their husbands, where he does not have to cook, clean, change diapers, or ask for sex.Melissa Gorga, a Real Housewife of New Jersey, has written an advice book, Love Italian Style.In it, she and her husband, Joe Gorga, speak about their sex life, in which Joe says:
Every girl wants to get her hair pulled once in a while. If your wife says "no," turn her around, and rip her clothes off. She wants to be dominated.”
REALLY?!!This is exactly the type of attitude that has been called out…