Showing posts from 2018

When #MeToo Isn’t Enough: Why Domestic Violence Needs Its Own Hashtag

In late 2017, the #MeToo movement catalyzed a change in our national conversation about sexual assault and harassment. The movement began when actress Alyssa Milano shared accusations of sexual assault and harassment against producer Harvey Weinstein. As other Hollywood mega-stars began to come forward with similar stories, #MeToo went viral. Twitter confirmed to CBS News that over 1.7 million tweets included the hashtag "#MeToo," with 85 countries that had at least 1,000 #MeToo tweets. Long before it became a hashtag, we are also aware that Tarana Burke began the #MeToo campaign in 1997, and we applaud her for her activism, her voice, encouraging others, especially women of color, to use their voices. This movement is shining a necessary light on an issue that has always been present for centuries. Historically, some people who have come forward regarding the violence perpetrated against them have had their voices elevated higher than others, particularly wealthy whit

Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault on College Campuses

In light of October’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we wanted to focus on domestic violence and sexual assault on campuses. While sexual assault is a major issue on campus, many don’t realize that intimate partner violence (IPV) is a significant issue among college students. Women aged 16-24 experience the highest per capita rate of intimate partner violence in the United States. This is just one of the many eye-opening facts that demonstrate the severity of domestic violence among young people in this country. The following are more statistics showing the frequency of domestic violence and sexual assault, specifically on college campuses. •       21% of college students report having experienced dating violence by a current partner. 33% experience dating violence by a previous partner. •       13% of college women report they were forced to have sex by a dating partner. •       Over 13% of college women report they have been stalked. Of these, 42% were stalked by a

The Mary Kay Foundation℠ Awards Transitions of PA $20,000 Grant

In support of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, The Mary Kay Foundation SM announced it is awarding $3 million in grants to 150 domestic violence shelters across the country. Transitions of PA has received a $20,000 unrestricted grant to support local survivors of domestic violence in Union, Snyder, and Northumberland Counties.   This year’s grant contribution brings the Foundation’s total investment in its shelter grant program to $50 million.       The Mary Kay Foundation was established in 1996 with the overarching purpose of supporting issues impacting women. In 2000, The Foundation expanded to include ending domestic violence as part of its mission. The Foundation is committed to funding the life-saving work of women’s shelters and the annual shelter grant program has helped finance critical needs including emergency shelter, transitional housing, counseling and legal aid. All of these resources support women and children as they seek refuge and relief on their jour

Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Transitions is a crisis center that provides advocacy, empowerment, and education to victims, survivors, families and communities to end patterns of violence and abuse. We are looking to build safer families and communities by combating domestic violence, sexual assault, and other serious crimes. Our services are primarily focused in Union County as well as other surrounding areas. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been victims of some form of physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime. Our goal through this series of blog posts is to educate as well as bring awareness of the severity of these issues. These are some of the shocking nation-wide facts about how common domestic violence is. ·         Intimate partner violence accounts for 15% of all violent crimes ·         19% of domestic violence involves a weapon ·         Only 34% of people who are injured by intimate partners receive medical

Domestic Violence and Divorce

Navigating life is hard enough especially when you are doing so after moving on from an abusive relationship.  Often a survivor finds that the very last hold an abuser can claim is that of the bonds of matrimony.  Although divorce law has remained relatively true to the protection of property interests first, we have seen some evolution in the minimal requirements to break those marital ties when property is not at issue.  The two most often used grounds for divorce are the consensual divorce, where both parties agree to the dissolution of the marriage, and the separate and apart claim where both parties have lived their lives separated for a substantial period of time.  Both of these options come with caveats that often hinder a smooth transition into total freedom when one party refuses to agree just to be spiteful. Recently, an entirely new section was added to the divorce code which has proven to be uniquely essential to our clientele.  Section 3301(c)(2) of the divorce code w

The Lethality Assessment Program

The Bureau of Justice Statistics estimates that 3 women are killed by a current or former intimate partner every day. During the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (2001-2012), 6.488 American soldiers were killed. During that same time, 11,766 women were murdered by a current or former male partner. Since 2008, more than 100 people lost their lives as a result of domestic violence each year. Domestic violence is deadly – not just for those who are being abused. In fact, domestic calls are some of the most dangerous for law enforcement. A study by the National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund found that 22% of officer deaths that occur in the line of duty happen while responding to domestic violence calls. Those statistics are difficult to understand. With all we know about intimate partner violence, why can’t we stop these killings? Through the Lethality Assessment Program (LAP), the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence is hoping to do just that.  In 2012, PCADV began to i

Bright, Improbable Colors: A Retrospective

West Milton artist and Transitions Sexual Assault Counselor, Vivian Starr, created over 400 works throughout her life, primarily pastels and, in later years, watercolors. Only her family and close friends, however, saw more than the occasional quick sketch. On what would have been her 75th birthday, this retrospective show will celebrate Vivian Starr's artistic vision through a selection of her vivid, passionate works.

Paws in Court

               Have you ever had to walk into a courtroom, get onto the witness stand, swear to tell the truth, and then sit down and tell a judge or jury details about something bad that happened to you?  Was it a scary experience? Sure it was!  Now imagine having to go through that as a young child. Most people who have ever had to live through such an experience will tell you that it was one of the most nerve-wracking experiences of their lives.  Child abuse victims are often frightened and intimidated if they have to testify about their experience in front of a judge or jury. Fortunately, many jurisdictions now have the assistance of what is a growing practice in courthouses across the U.S. – the use of a “comfort dog.”   While most of us think of the term “working dogs” as service animals for the disabled, police dogs, or military working dogs, dogs can also be trained to be “courthouse” or “comfort” dogs. These canines aid in the investigation of crimes involving young or vuln

Pride Month

The end of June signaled the end of Pride Month; however, we want the community to know we welcome and support victims in the LGBTQ+ community all year round. Pride Month celebrations started to commemorate the riots that broke out as a result of a police raid at the Stonewall Inn, targeting the LGBTQ+ community. Two trans women of color, Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, are most notable for resisting the police on that day in 1969. From there, celebrating these protests became a yearly event, which has evolved into what Pride Month is today. Pride parades, marches, and celebrations are held all month long, throughout the country, to remember those who have fought for the progress that has been made and the rights and protections that the community is still fighting for. It has also become a time for those in the community to celebrate proudly who they are. ( )

When Love Hurts

I know there is a saying about how love doesn’t hurt, but I disagree…let me explain. I am a witness and a survivor of domestic violence, so I am speaking from my heart, my experiences. When you love someone, it hurts to know that the person you love so much has hurt you. In a domestic capacity, it could be your spouse, sibling, parent or even your child. These are people you love deeply and are supposed to feel the same about you. I got married at age 18 because I had two children with the guy I had been dating for 3 years. The relationship was abuse in its rarest form; I was 15 and pregnant and he was 18 right out of high school. It hurt my family to see me in such a manipulative and emotionally abusive situation with the father of my unborn child because they loved me. After our child was born the abuse didn’t stop. I got pregnant again; sadly, we brought a second child into what was already a bad situation. As the children got older they started to see and unde

Update on PA Alliance Against the Trafficking of Humans

In December 2014, the Comprehensive Human Trafficking bill (Act 105) was passed and signed into law.  Until that time, PA was ranked 49 th of our 50 states in its response to human trafficking in the Commonwealth. In January 2015, the individuals representing interested groups throughout PA met at the Capitol to plan Act 105's implementation.  Among the groups represented were a large contingent of Philadelphia groups that included Dawn’s Place, the Philadelphia Anti-trafficking Coalition, and Covenant House.  The PA Coalition Against Rape (PCAR) had been providing education and outreach for several years, and several of committed Victim Services Organizations were represented (Transitions of PA, YWCA of Greater Harrisburg, YWCA of York, and NOVA Bucks).  The PA Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) has responsibility to implement the law, but no funding was provided. At this meeting, Shea Rhodes, the new Director of Villanova University Law School’s Center to Address Co

17th Annual Women’s Film Festival Coming to Lewisburg as part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month

LUNAFEST®, the fundraising film festival dedicated to promoting awareness about women's issues, highlighting women filmmakers, and bringing women together in their communities, will be hosted by Transitions of PA at The Campus Theatre in Lewisburg on April 25, 2018.    This unique film festival highlights women as leaders in society, illustrated through nine short films by women filmmakers. The films range from animation to fictional drama and cover topics such as women’s health, body image, relationships, cultural diversity, and breaking barriers. All proceeds from LUNAFEST will benefit Transitions of PA and Chicken & Egg Pictures, a nonprofit organization that supports women nonfiction filmmakers whose artful and innovative storytelling catalyzes social change. Thus far, LUNAFEST, which is created and funded by LUNA®, The Whole Nutrition Bar for Women®, has raised more than $3 Million for nonprofit organizations across the US and Canada. The event begins a

Verizon HopeLine Phone Program

Transitions and many other centers in the United States have been working with Verizon for several years.  Verizon has provided centers with cell phones for victim’s of domestic violence through their HopeLine Phone Program. Each cell phone has fifty hours of talk time and three thousand text messages available.  In the middle of February, we were informed the program will be ending on December 31, 2018, because of a decrease in phone donations, and phone trade-ins.  The HopeLine Phone numbers will be disconnected, and the phones will be deactivated. Verizon will still continue to support and create awareness for Domestic Violence victims/survivors. If anyone would like to recycle a cell phone, The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence has a program to recycle up to three phones or electronics at a time to help keep electronics out of the landfill.  Their website is: and click on Donate tab. Written By: Alesha L., Group Facilitation Specialist

An Open Letter to Parents

Dear Mom and Dad: Stopping child sexual abuse before it happens is one of the best responses to child sexual abuse, but it is also one of the most difficult conversations to have with parents.  As a prevention educator, I puzzle over why some parents unwittingly fail their children in regards to taking the necessary measures to protect them from child sexual abuse.  Admittedly, child sexual abuse makes us feel sick inside.  It fills our hearts with dread and our minds with confusion.  It is downright scary to contemplate that one of our friends or trusted family members may be a potential predator.  It is all too easy to tell ourselves that this happens to other people and in other families since nobody in our circles would dream of doing such a thing.  If only this were true.  A father told me last week that he did not want to destroy his first-grader’s innocence.  “Why does she need to know about such things?  I do not want her to be afraid of people.  She is already shy