Showing posts from 2014

Domestic Violence and Police Shootings

The end of 2014 has been traumatic.  Too many people are losing their lives to violence in general, and books can, and probably will, be written about this time in history.  What I would like to focus on in this post is specifically the shootings of law enforcement officers and the connection to domestic violence.

On December 20th, two NYPD officers were shot and killed in their patrol car by Ismaaiyl Brinsley, it is believed that he traveled to New York City after allegedly shooting his girlfriend in Baltimore.

A Flagstaff, Arizona officer was shot and killed on December 28th while interviewing a suspect relating to a domestic violence case.

I write this blog post not to solve the problem, or offer solutions on how to prevent law enforcement officers from being killed.  I am not nearly qualified enough to offer such advice or information.  I write this blog post to bring attention to the connection.

Domestic violence abusers seek power and control.  When this power and control is threate…

PCADV Provides Safety Tips During this Holiday Season


Welcome to our ranks, Missy!

We are pleased to introduce you to one of our Americorps volunteers, Missy!

My name is Missy H. and I am a current Americorps Volunteer at Transitions. I graduated from Bloomsburg University in December 2013, after completing an internship with Transitions. I graduated with my Bachelor's degree in Social Work along with a minor in Psychology and a concentration in Family, Children, and Youth. After graduation I spent a few months working as a waitress full-time, followed by 2 months spent on a mission trip living among the people of the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation of southeastern Montana.  This past summer I came on board at Transitions again to do a paid internship for 12 weeks and in September, I started in the Americorps position. I have a side job as a waitress at Applebee's in Selinsgrove, where I have been employed for 4 years, but I am slowly working my way out of that job, thankfully.  I also attend Millersville University part-time where I am a year and a half…


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 more than 700 charitable agencies representing all 50 states in the United States.  Transitions will distribute 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 happy 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 seventh year of the Payless GivesTM Shoes 4 Kids program. Although studies show that properly fitting shoes are im…

Rewriting a Well-Written Article

Yesterday, The New York Times published an expose about the relationships that NFL teams have with local law enforcement and how these relationships may leave domestic violence victims without adequate protection.  I highly recommend reading this article.  It examines on e such case in Florida where the abuser/player was allowed to exit through a rear door to avoid reporters, was given a ride from the station, to the team training complex, then to his (and the victim's) residence to gather some belongings.  All this while being escorted by an off-duty law enforcement officer, still in uniform, and operating an unmarked car, which could have been property of the officer or the department.  

One of the exercises that bloggers can utilize is to re-write an insensitive or offensive article in the manner you wish the author would have.  I obviously do not believe myself to be a superior writer to Steve Eder, of The New York Times, but I would like to take this opportunity to rewrite thi…

Economic Empowerment Course for Survivors of Domestic Violence


National Hotline Statistics Released

Every year, Transitions participates in the National Domestic Violence Hotline survey, in which we report back the volume and content (in topic only) of the hotline calls we receive.  Below are the finding of that survey, both nationally and in Pennsylvania.  

To view the content larger, feel free to press the control button and the plus sign, found on your numerical pad or to the left of the backspace button, at the same time.  To return your screen to its original size, press control and the zero button at the same time.

Transitions recognizes Evangelical Community Hospital SANE Program during Forensic Nurse Week

November 11, 2014 -Transitions joins in the celebration of Forensic Nurses week, along with the International Association of Forensic Nurses—a nursing association representing more than 3,300 registered nurses and other professionals in 22 countries—that organizes Forensic Nurses Week to celebrate the accomplishments and dedication of professionals in the field as well as raise awareness about the importance of their work.
Forensic Nurses Week, celebrated this year from Nov. 10 to 14, has a theme of “Leadership. Care. Expertise.” The week is celebrated internationally though awareness events in local communities and education efforts to teach colleagues about the forensic nursing practice. Forensic nurses all over the world wear lilac (the designated color of forensic nursing) to mark the week.
Forensic nurses provide specialized care for patients who are victims of sexual assault. These healthcare professionals are nurses first, but have knowledge of the legal system and expertise in f…

Best Practices In Notifying College Students

Colleges and universities in the United States are required to disclose information about crimes committed on and around campus, as pursuant to Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act.  

One of our staff members received the following message from Millersville University.

"It is estimated that nationwide 20 percent of women and six percent of college men experience sexual assault or attempted sexual assault during their college years.  Data reveal nearly 50 percent of transgender people experience sexual violence.  No matter the demographic, the most common type of sexual assault is not committed by a stranger but by someone known to the victim, typically a date or other acquaintance.

There are risk factors associated with sexual assault, about which it may be useful to be aware, but being at risk in no way shifts responsibility for sexual assault to a victim/survivor. 
Studies of sexual assault show a high correlation between acquaintance ra…

Consider supporting Transitions through AmazonSmile!

It's holiday shopping time already!  If you shop on Amazon, consider supporting Transitions. Go and select Transitions of PA. 0.5% of the price of eligible items purchased is donated to us. What a great way to help Transitions without any cost to you!

Overview of Domestic Violence Awareness Month Activities

We've had another eventful October, honoring domestic violence survivors by recognizing the month as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Hope you saw the displays at our local libraries:

Our display at the Headstart Health Fair:
Eckie is shown with a new haircut and two students at Empire Beauty School to celebrate their annual Cut It Out Event:
Our first Invinci-Bowl Event, held at Best Bowl in Selinsgrove: Getting ready to start bowling!
Susan speaking to the crowd
Tara, encouraging a patron to purchase hot dogs, chips, soda and/or cookies!
Susan, with the winning team, from Wood-Mode

We also participated in #PurpleThursday, created by the National Network to End Domestic Violence.  Here are the pictures submitted to us of people honoring this day.

Building & Keeping Trust with Your Children After Domestic Violence

Young children may not understand exactly what is going down between their parents and caregivers, but they do know when they are in danger and they are good at detecting strong negative emotion.  When there is an abusive parent who is doing or has done damage, it is important for them to know that there is still a parent that they can trust.  Let that parent be YOU!
In order to build and keep the trust your child has in you, it is important to keep close to your child physically.  Keep your children close to you at this time. Kiss and hug them, look in their eyes when you speak to them. Smile and laugh at their attempts to be cute or funny.  Make sure that they get their meals and snacks – take the time to eat with them and to talk about normal things.
It is also important that your children keep a normal bedtime and playtime, as well as a daily bath. Reading to your children is especially important during this time – it will give a child a sense of security and safety to hear your ca…

How Schools Can Help

Kids who flee their homes to avoid domestic violence will often end up homeless.  These children face many challenges.  Boys and girls who must leave violent homes are more likely than their peers to experience emotional and behavioral troubles.  They are more apt to engage in physical or emotional bullying, or conversely, be victimized by bullies.  Child victims of domestic violence lose much of their capacity to concentrate and thereby learn.  Their trust in adults has been damaged, and can take months, sometimes years to restore. 
On top of the immediate effects of homelessness due to violence, children face increased risk of developmental and physical impairment.  Limited nutrition and poor health care are just two of the many instances that are a direct result of homelessness.  It is a severely stressful situation for children to leave not only the abusive parent, but their homes, their pets, their belongings, and their familiar neighborhood where many of their friends live and co…

Generational Abuse It Happens and You Can Be the Change

Growing up in a small town with, how do they say,” a million dollar family”? A mother, father, brother and me, the girl.  My family was somewhat different for that time of life.  My mom worked outside the home in a factory where my father also worked.  They married young and had children right away. My father grew up in a very abusive family. His father was a truck driver and farmer and his mother kept the home fires burning.  My dad grew up very fast tending to the family farm before and after school. I have been told that the gentle man I knew as a grandfather was a tyrant in his younger years; he would beat my dad with his belt until his butt would be bleed.  There were also times that he physically punched my father and would knock him around until he couldn’t stand. It seemed that my grandfather did not lift a hand to correct my father’s older sister or a much younger brother, the focus of his abuse was my father.  My grandmother would not intervene to stop this type of punishment…

The Importance of October (For Mom)

The month of October is a special one for me and my family. Its not my birthday or a special family holiday. Its not an anniversary or anything like that.... October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Domestic violence is so common.... SO COMMON in fact that one in four women will experience it at some point in their lives. One in four- 25%!! That's outrageous!! And that doesnt include men. (In 2005 there were 78,180 reported cases of men who were abused by their partners- heterosexual and homosexual)

The reason why this month is so important to my family is because my mother (That beautiful woman you see above) lost her life to domestic violence.

I'm not going to put every detail here, that would take forever. But its extremely important for me to point out a few things here. At the risk of sounding preachy, I strongly urge you to read and take something from this. That's all I ask....

I never saw my mom get hit. Most people associate domestic violence with black eyes…

Domestic Violence in the NFL: A Growing Concern

Domestic Violence in the NFL is a growing concern. A USA Today database that tracks players from 2000 to today showed that there were 87 domestic violence arrests among 80 players. This number may seem low to some, however, an analysis shows that they account for 48% of the violent crimes committed by NFL players. Today there are 12 active players with domestic violence arrests. Over the past few months there had been many instances of domestic violence reports within the NFL. Since the increase of reported cases and criticism, the commissioner, Roger Goodell, has revamped the punishment that is handed down to the NFL personnel, but is it enough? In the past players were suspended for a game or two, and if the charges were reduced the severity of the punishment was reduced. If the charges were dropped, the player’s name was cleared. This surely was not enough, because even though the charges were reduced or dropped doesn’t mean the incident didn’t happen. The new revamped policy state…


#ThinkLikeGuy This is Guy.  He is 8 years old and he has some big ideas. 

Here are Guy’s thoughts about #Likeagirl.
Question: What does, “like a girl” mean? Guy:  It doesn’t mean really anything because everyone has a different way of doing things.
Question:  If someone says, “You throw like a girl!” What does that mean? Guy: Well nothing really because everyone throws different. There is no throwing like a boy or girl. Throwing is just throwing.
Question: If someone uses the phrase “like a girl,” is that ok to say?
Guy:  It really isn’t ok to say because we are all the same.  We all do things different. It’s wrong and could hurt someone’s feelings. Boys and girls can do the same things.

Asylum Can Be Used for Domestic Abuse

Among so much media coverage of poor responses to domestic violence, a beacon of light in the form of the U.S. government!  
On August 26, 2014, the Board of Immigration Appeals granted a Guatemalan woman asylum in the United States.  To be eligible for asylum, a person must have suffered persecution, or have a fear of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.  People argued for many years about whether victims of domestic violence made up a particular social group.  In the case of the woman who was recently awarded asylum, the argument was also made that the Guatemalan government did not protect her, as she asked for assistance from the police to stop the violence, but her cries went unanswered.  In their ruling, the Board of Immigration Appeals wrote that the woman suffered in silence due in part to a "culture of machismo and family violence."
This decision affirms what many immigrant women already know, …

Nothing New, Just Now Noticed

This past month or so, I have been asked my opinion more times than I can count about "this whole Ray Rice thing."  Well, what troubles me is, are they so different than anyone else?  I talk to maybe 8 to 10 people a week about leaving their abusive partner.  I work with law enforcement departments to try to encourage prosecution, if that's what the victim/survivor wants.  And I'm not the only one.  There are 15 people on staff here, and countless other programs to help victims.  

I understand, of course, that Ray Rice is a celebrity, just like Chris Brown was a celebrity and much has been said about their behavior and subsequent punishments, or lack thereof.  But the truth is, how we treat celebrity abusers is often reflected in how we treat all abusers.  If we don't hold abusers accountable at the local level, why would anything be different when it plays out on a national stage?  

Why do we keep thinking that domestic violence is between two people?   Why if one…

NFL Changes Punishment for Domestic Violence/Personal Conduct Policy Violations

This summer, much criticism, including our own, was hurled at the NFL for its lack of punishment for Ray Rice, who had criminal charges brought against him due to an act of domestic violence.  
On August 28, 2014, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell  sent a letter to all NFL owners stating what they have been doing to rectify the vast differences in punishment for infractions of their policies, particularly their personal conduct policies vs. their drug policies.  I am very thankful that they have listened to the outcry and are trying to make their organization a safer, more respectful place, but there are still many questions to answer.  At the link above, one of the commentators asks if the new punishment would be applied to players who have been charged, but the charges are later dropped.  We know that many domestic violence charges get dropped for a variety of reasons, so this is a very valid question.

I also have concerns about the following phrase:
"Effective immediately, violation…

Criminal Charges and School Codes of Conduct

It's August and many student athletes around the country are gearing up for fall sports.  Ma'Lik Richmond is one of them.  Ma'Lik Richmond was adjudicated delinquent in March of 2013 of raping a 16 year old girl in Steubenville, Ohio.  Maybe you've heard about it on television, radio, or the internet; basically there was outrage everywhere.  He played in a scrimmage Tuesday.  Is this right?  Is this fair?  That a Tier II sex offender, who must register every 6 months for the next 20 years is permitted to participate on a school district-sanctioned sports team?  

At what point does a student's right to an education include extracurricular activities?  When I attended Mifflinburg High School in the early 2000's, if a student violated the Code of Conduct, or refused to sign it, they relinquished their right to participate in extracurricular activities.  And, to be fair, Ma'Lik Richmond was barred from these activities for the balance of last school year, after …

Domestic Violence Homicide and Custody

Today, the The News Item published an article about Richard Curran seeking custody of his children.  In 2005, Curran murdered his ex-wife, also the mother of their children.  He was sentenced in 2008 to serve a life sentence and is currently incarcerated in SCI-Albion, Erie County.  He filed a petition asking for periods of partial physical custody of their two daughters, ages 16 and 12, which would include visits at the correctional institution where he is housed.
This may seem surprising, but Pennsylvania's laws allow for any person to file for almost anything through the court system and then at a hearing must assert their legal basis for filing that paperwork.

Currently, Pennsylvania's custody law states the following about parents convicted of murder in the first degree, as Richard Curran was.  

§ 5303. Award of custody, partial custody or visitation.(b.2) Parent convicted of murder.--No court shall award custody, partial custody or visitation to a parent who has been…

Pennsylvania, Institutional Sexual Assault, and Teacher "Impropriety"

Recently, a report was issued that the number of claims of inappropriate relationships, sexual abuse and misconduct filed against teachers in Pennsylvania is 2nd in the United States only to Texas.  This report supports the idea that abusers/rapists/sexual predators, whatever you want to call them, are not the scary guy who is already listed on Megan's Law.  They can be coaches, pillars of the community, or teachers.  Just because someone's criminal background check comes back clean does not mean s/he is not a predator.  It is important to have conversations with children and young adults about their bodies and boundaries.  Transitions is thankful to be able to provide educational programs in many local school districts to help children and teens navigate these issues and to feel safe disclosing abuse.  The high number of reports made could be  attributed to the increase in students feeling comfortable enough to report,which is a good thing.  It could also show that law enforc…

Bystander Intervention Success!

At a recent Keith Urban concert, a 17 year old was sexually assaulted.  This news alone has been far too common lately.  But, what I would like to highlight is the following from the article.  

The attack only allegedly came to an end when a woman asked the victim if the act was consensual. “Do you want this?” the woman was heard saying. According to a police report, the girl said, “no,” and then a witness “saw the female break free and run.”
This is what everyone, ourselves included, is talking about when we preach bystander intervention.  It is this easy!  Simply asking this young woman "do you want this?" showed her that she didn't have to continue, and it allowed the sexual assault to end.  Four words.  That powerful. Lots of people in the media talk about what we can do to end sexual assault.  THIS.  This is what we can do.  Men or women, when you see a situation that seems out of control or odd, if you feel safe and are able, simply ask the person are they okay?  Do the…

Misogyny in Sports--Domestic Violence

One of the Baltimore Ravens' star players, Ray Rice, was caught on camera dragging his seemingly unconscious then-fiance out of an elevator after he assaulted her.  He was indicted on aggravated assault charges earlier this year.  The National Football League decided to suspend Ray Rice for 2 games.  There has been outcry over this lack of punishment.  See the above rant from Keith Olbermann.  
Yes.  Outcry.  From a man, Keith Olbermann, who admits he has made comments that were inappropriate. Many feminist organizations say that men need to get involved in the fight to end violence against women.  Yes, men do need to get involved and this is exactly what we are talking about!  Would this type of rant have gotten the same attention if it was from a host on The View?  Or Rachel Maddow?  Probably not.  So, even though I am wholeheartedly grateful to Mr. Olbermann, I also have to question why his rant has garnered attention when so many other rants in light of continued violence again…