Showing posts from 2017

Making Healthy Choices During the Holidays

During the holiday season, there is an especially overwhelming sense that everyone should be with family.  This can create a sense of guilt or a feeling that you may be inferior if you are not spending time with family.  Just because it’s December, that doesn’t mean people are automatically kinder or less abusive.  In fact, the stress of the season may make things worse. 
I would like to tell you that just because the media tells you that the only happy holiday is one where you are surrounded by family at a long, rectangular table filled with food, that doesn’t have to be the case. 
I am giving you permission to still live your best life, even during December.  Just because it’s the holiday season, that doesn’t mean you need to put yourself in unhealthy situations.  Maybe that means you may not go to the large family gathering where your relatives make fun of your life choices.  Maybe that means leaving an abusive partner.  Maybe that means changing your phone number so you don’t r…

Thank You to Our Donors

I cannot overstate how grateful I am to our donors.  Throughout the year, the money and items that we receive are put to use to serve our clients in a variety of ways.  We had a donor specifically give us money so that if someone needs to board their pets to come to the Safe House, we can pay for that.  A local clothing store gives us clothing and accessories so that clients and safe house guests can replace their wardrobe, which abusers often withhold.  Local thrift stores have allowed our clients to choose items free of charge.  Many people from the community have also adopted families to provide holiday gifts. 
I wish that each of you could see the joy on our clients’ faces when they receive these things.  Often, when asked what they would like, our clients and guests struggle to think of something that they want.  Throughout their lives, they may not have permitted to think that they deserve a gift.  Even after leaving an abusive situation, it can be difficult for clients to recog…

Domestic Violence and Children

In many instances, the individuals most affected by domestic violence are children. Exposure to violence at home can lead to issues with emotions, behavior, and development. They could exhibit aggression, feel anxious, have nightmares, struggle with concentration, fear separation, and worry about their safety. Often times, the issues that are developed can follow them through life.
            The Adverse Childhood Experiences Study (ACEs), one of the largest investigations of child abuse and neglect, found that childhood trauma, including exposure to domestic violence, can lead to disrupted neurodevelopment, social, emotional and cognitive impairment, adoption of risk behaviors, disease, and even early death. ACEs are strongly related to the development and prevalence of a wide range of health problems throughout a person’s life, including those associated with substance misuse.
ACEs Include: · Physical abuseSexual abuseEmotional abusePhysical neglectEmotional neglectIntima…

Gonna find out who’s naughty or nice…

The holiday season is looming, with parents and caregivers gearing up to manage children’s behavior with dire warnings about Santa’s omniscient gaze. Kids are encouraged to earn themselves a spot on the “nice” list, which typically means engaging in adult-pleasing pleasantries, like hugging visiting relatives, sharing toys with cousins, and playing quietly. Many well-meaning parents teach children that niceness is a virtue, and that pleasing others is a goal for which they should strive. Most parents admonish their children with phrases like, “Be nice,” “That’s not nice,” or “Nice little girls share with their friends.”  But, is “nice” really a trait that serves any person or relationship?
Children are naturally inclined to desire the praise of their caregivers. Their confidence is often derived from external sources, which can be problematic as they become adults who require healthy boundaries in order to have successful relationships. When we teach children that pleasing others is …

Transitions Announces 4th Annual Teen Dating Violence Video Contest

Transitions of PA is pleased to announce the Fourth Annual Teen Dating Violence Video Contest for high school students attending public or home schools in Northumberland, Snyder, or Union Counties.  Students are asked to create a brief video focused on teen dating violence awareness and ending dating abuse for a chance to win cash prizes.
The contest is hosted by Transition of PA.  Founded in 1975, Transitions provides an array of free and confidential services to victims of domestic violence, sexual abuse, and all other serious crimes. Offering awareness and prevention education, medical and legal advocacy as well as confidential individual, family or group counseling, and professional training sessions, Transitions knows that violence and abuse do not just affect women and girls.
It affects those who care about them, their families, their friends, their coworkers, and their communities. Teen Dating Violence is defined as physical, sexual, mental, verbal or emotional abuse in dating re…

Supporting Survivors Through Domestic Violence

Throughout the past couple years working with survivors, a few times I have heard clients say that someone in their support system stopped talking to them because they chose to go back to their abuser. Sometimes the person can’t handle seeing their loved one go through continued abuse, and sometimes they deem the act as “tough love,” hoping if they cut ties, their loved one will choose to leave and stay away from their abuser.
I am saddened when I hear this from my clients. In some cases, these loved ones have good intentions, but often with bad results. I understand the notion of tough love, but I don’t think cycles of violence and abuse are the place for tough love. There are an endless amount of reasons that survivors may return to their abuser, especially when kids are involved. Most of all, enduring abuse is psychological and traumatic. Experiencing trauma at the hands of an abuser creates trauma bonds in the survivor where they become psychologically bonded with their perpetrat…

The Outpouring of Sexual Assault Cases

I'm disheartened to see so many cases of sexual assault by people in power, though I'm not surprised one bit. Harvey Weinstein, Ben Affleck, Dr. Larry Nassar, Bill O’Reilly, Steven Seagal, R. Kelly, and even former president George H. W. Bush, along with several others, have recently been accused of sexual assault or harassment. This is our society; it is so deeply rooted in us. We let rape jokes slide, demean and dehumanize women, don’t hold perpetrators accountable, and blame victims for their assault. We teach people how not to get assaulted/raped, but we don't teach people to not rape.
(Here’s a video put together by Huffington Post about many of the allegations that have come out following the allegations against Harvey Weinstein:
Sexual assault and harassment are about power and control, and when perpetrators have additional power due to their position in society or industry, it is bound to be a breeding ground…

Honoring Evangelical Hospital's Forensic Nursing Team

Many young people have aspirations to have a career in nursing, but few specifically dream about becoming a forensic nurse. Most forensic nurses decide to take on the additional training and education after witnessing heartbreaking assaults and recognizing the need for forensic nursing as an important piece of the justice process. Others realize after years of a traditional nursing career, that they have a special talent for providing compassion and dignity to traumatized patients while maintaining an irreproachable level of excellence in technical skills. Transitions is grateful to honor the forensic nurses at Evangelical Community Hospital who make the SANE program a place of healing and restoration.
When Transitions is called to the bedside of a survivor of sexual assault, we provide support and reassurance. There are many unknowns, and advocates can’t promise that the journey to justice will be without additional trauma. Victims often ask about what the experience will be like wh…

How Men Can Fight Domestic Violence

Recently, the #metoo campaign has received a great deal of online attention. Women share their stories of harassment or assault to bring attention to the widespread nature of sexual harassment and sexual violence. In response, some men have been using the hashtag #HowIWillChange to speak out about ways they will contribute to ending harassment and sexual assault.
Much like sexual violence, domestic violence disproportionately affects women. And like sexual violence, domestic violence against women is influenced by institutional sexism, cultural misogyny, and widespread acceptance of subjugation of women. Men are also victims of domestic violence, rape, and harassment, but crimes against men have wildly different causes, solutions, and societal response. While violence against men is influenced by expectations of gender roles, violence against women is overwhelmingly a gender-based issue. Long-held cultural, societal, and religious traditions provide protection and reinforcement for …


Battling the Domestic Violence blues?  October is a classic 'down' month for people in our field of work.  All year long we address issues that surround domestic violence – we hear about people hurting one another in the place that is supposed to be, meant to be, the safest place on earth.  It is a kind of work that no matter how zealous you may be about getting our positive messages out, and responding to crisis situations, sooner or later it becomes a drain and all of us are susceptible to burnout.
In October, with the long, dark nights of winter soon coming, this kind of violence may present itself more prominently, and our work may start to feel overwhelming.  It is only to be expected that as a team, we all start to lose our mojo just a little bit!
So, what can we do about it?  Here are seven things that help keep me committed to prevention education and the work we do.  Consider how these may impact your work.  I encourage everybody to make a list of your own to share with…

Raising Awareness about Domestic Violence

I have been a major fan of football ever since I can remember.  I watched all the “greats” of the game with my Dad when I was little.  Over recent years, I have been seriously shocked with some players regarding their abusive actions and hoped the league and NFL Commissioner would hold them accountable.  The almost weekly accounts of abuse from some players prompted Commissioner Roger Goodell to take a serious look at the issues of domestic violence in the NFL and inspired conversations to bring some much-needed education and awareness to intimate partner violence.  Yet, with all the bad, comes some good.  I was never more impressed with a player than in the 2015 season when I saw William Gay wear those now famous purple shoes.  Finally, someone was taking a stand for anti-violence.  You see, when William was 8 years old, he lost his mother when she was fatally shot three times by his step-father before he killed himself. He said his mother “didn’t know she was in an abusive relations…

Family Systems Coordinator

Transitions is proud to introduce Rose Weir as our new Family Systems Coordinator.  In her role, Rose will be guiding the provision of counseling to children, adolescents, and adults who are victims and survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking and other serious crimes.  Ms. Weir also will supervise our new Rapid Re-Housing Program for victims utilizing HUD funding through the Continuum of Care.  She will direct the expansion of our no-cost Trauma-Focused Counseling Program, in particular, services conducted by our Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapist (TFCBT).  She brings a wealth of experience and education to this expanded role ensuring that victims, siblings, and non-offending parents receive the care and support they need.

Prior to joining Transitions, Ms. Weir was the Administrator for Snyder County Children and Youth for 12 years where she also held supervisory and staff positions there for an additional 21 years.  With Children and Youth, she pro…

Annual STOP Training during Domestic Violence Awareness Month

The Office of Violence Against Women awards financial support to Pennsylvania to assist communities in improving their response to violence against women.  One of the ways they do this is through the STOP Violence Against Women Formula Grant Program.  STOP is an acronym that stands for Services, Training, Officers, and Prosecutors.  Transitions has been honored to have received this funding for at least one of the counties we serve for over 16 years.  One of the ways Transitions uses this money is to host an annual training event for law enforcement officers and prosecutors. 
Transitions hosted their annual STOP Training on October 4th and 5th at the Union County Government Center.  The training was geared towards law enforcement officers and topics included civil protection orders available to victims of crime, Pennsylvania’s strangulation law, moving forward in criminal cases without the victim, and using the neurobiology of trauma to inform interviews and investigations.  Thirtee…


“Heels Up” were the words spoken just before the men, women, and children of Transitions’ 2nd Annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event stepped off to march around the town of Lewisburg in high heels.  The annual march raises awareness and critical funds for domestic and sexual violence programs in Union, Snyder, and Northumberland Counties. This year’s event was held on Sunday, October 1 at Hufnagle Park in Lewisburg.  Participants came from as far away as New Jersey to show their support for this great cause.  The walk was made possible by the support of many local businesses and foundations, including The John Family Foundation, BB&T Bank, The Lewisburg Studios, A-1 Lock and Key, and Bison Beverage.  The day will filled with people enjoying good food, fun, and even trophies were handed out to several walkers who raised the most money, decorated their shoes, was the youngest to walk, the vintage walker, and a team category. The Walk a Mile in Her Shoes was originally created to ask…

Charlottesville: Why it matters to us

Many of you know of the recent events that occurred in Charlottesville, VA. The one where white supremacists and Neo-Nazis and the KKK had a rally shouting things like “Jews will not replace us,” “White lives matter,” and “Blood and soil.” During this rally a terrorist used his car to plow into a crowd of people, killing one and injuring many others.
You can watch a 20-minute documentary from VICE on the events here:
This event was abhorrent.
Why am I addressing a racist event on a blog for a domestic violence, sexual assault, and other crimes? Because all forms of injustice intersect somewhere. People of color experience sexual assault, and other abuse at higher rates. When we allow racism to abound, we allow the continued oppression of people of color in many forms, including sexual violence, domestic violence, and other crimes.
Racism is about seeing one people group or race as superior to a…