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Showing posts from April, 2017

Mock Sexual Assault Trial Held in Sunbury

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On April 18, 2017, Transitions hosted a mock sexual assault trial at the Northumberland County Courthouse. It was well-attended, with a full courtroom of approximately 100 people. This was a public event and invitations were distributed widely to high schools and colleges in the area as well as community organizations. The mock trial was created by the DC Street Law Clinic through Georgetown University. Actors were provided with statements given by their characters but otherwise improvised during the trial. The two attorneys spent the most time preparing for the trial. There was only one rehearsal prior to the event. 

This mock trial was created in 2009, but the issues it raises continue to be relevant. College students are at a higher risk of being victimized; statistics state 1 in 5 women and 1 in 16 men are sexually assaulted while in college. There has been a lot of discussion in the past few years about sexual violence on college campuses, including from then-President Bar…

Importance of Reporting Suspected Child Abuse

All too often, there are stories in the news or communities, and people wonder why no one knew or why nothing was done. Reporting suspected child abuse could ultimately save a child’s life or stop the harm they are experiencing. Children usually cannot report the abuse themselves for a variety of reasons including fear, a belief it is their “secret,” or intimidation. Children are raised to trust adults, and when they experience abuse, many children are confused by what they are feeling, or if it is their fault. Often, the abusers threaten consequences that makes the child fearful and apprehensive to report. As an adult, reporting suspected child abuse means serving as a voice for the child who cannot report the abuse on their own. Many adults are reluctant to report suspected abuse because they are not 100% certain if child abuse is happening, think it is not their business, or are worried about starting conflict and experiencing backlash if they are wrong.  
Reporting suspected child …

Legal Advocacy for Victims of Domestic Violence

Being a legal advocate for a domestic violence program can be so rewarding. I feel like I am providing a service to someone who truly needs my help to navigate the court process. Before working for Transitions, I worked in the court system. I tried to help people as much as possible, but I often felt as though there is more I could be doing. I made that change to try to do more.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t things that don’t frustrate me in my role as an advocate. Victims of domestic violence often times face an uphill battle in the court system. Often times judges only look at physical violence when they are deciding whether they will grant a Protection From Abuse (PFA) order or not. Unfortunately, many victims of domestic violence suffer from the effects of verbal and mental abuse long after the physical bruising is gone. Yet, the courts do not consider that for a PFA.
Many people lack understanding and empathy toward victims of domestic violence. On average, it takes a victim leavi…

The Harm of Shame

Individuals who experience domestic violence are diverse in socioeconomic status, personal traits, education, family status, history, and values. But nearly all share a common experience: their abusers exploit personal shame to exert control over their lives.
Few people reach adulthood without internalizing some sense of shame, whether derived from feelings of unworthiness, bullying during childhood, an unloving family of origin, cultural or religious beliefs, or even a particularly traumatic embarrassing moment. An abuser might utilize a victim’s private shame to diminish her belief in her ability to leave the relationship, her willingness to resist the abuse, or her ability to clearly articulate that she is undeserving of mistreatment.
Stigma and secrecy surrounding domestic abuse may compound feelings of shame in survivors. Otherwise supportive family, friends, and helping professionals can unwittingly contribute to feelings of shame with judgment, unhelpful suggestions, or a take…

Join Transitions for Denim Day

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April 26th, 2017 marks the 18th celebration of Peace Over Violence’s Denim Day.  If you are not already familiar with this event, Denim Day is the annual violence prevention day sponsored by a Los Angeles-based nonprofit, Peace Over Violence.  Over 11 million people across the country participated in 2016.  It is held in April every year as part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
The Denim Day campaign began after the Italian Supreme Court overturned a rape conviction because the victim was wearing tight jeans at the time of the assault, and the justices believed she must have helped her rapist remove them, thereby implying consent.  The following day, the women in the Italian Parliament came to work wearing jeans in solidarity with the victim. Peace Over Violence developed the Denim Day campaign in response to this case and the activism surrounding it. Since then, wearing jeans on Denim Day has become a symbol of protest against erroneous and destructive attitudes about sexual assault…

Priceless – The Movie; Spoiler Alert

Priceless is a faith-based movie about a story of sex trafficking, aimed to bring awareness to this tragedy. The main character agrees to make a delivery in a truck to earn some money, without knowing what See was delivering. He finds out there are two young women in the back of the truck and seeks to save them from being captured and sold.                I saw this movie when it aired at the Campus Theatre back in December, and I left with mixed feelings. I am super glad people are working to bring awareness to this tragic issue, and I hope it continues. The awareness surrounding human trafficking has increased tremendously over the last several years. For pure entertainment’s sake, it was a great movie. However, as a professional working in a victims’ service field with a special interest in human trafficking, I had a couple concerns.                My first concern deals with the portrayal of police. In the movie, the main character approaches a police officer for help, but the off…

My Experience at Transitions

I started my journey of career development at Transitions as a college student who was lucky enough to receive this internship opportunity. I had no idea what kind of career in social work I wanted, and I also had no experience with working in a crisis center. Of course, there were lots of things to learn as is with basically any job out there, but the skills I learned here will last me a lifetime. Not only have I found an appreciation for the work itself, but I also have a tremendous appreciation for the team of people here. Even though Transitions has different locations in the tri-county area, all departments would come together once a week for staff meetings, and I could feel the bond and passions of each person just by what they had to bring to the table.                Working in a crisis center can be challenging and exhausting. I had to learn more about self-care to be able to come into work and be up for the challenge every day. Some examples of self-care that…