It’s been a busy start to the year for Victims’ Intervention Program. January, February, and March saw us out and about promoting awareness for Stalking and Human Trafficking, Teen Dating Violence, and Women’s History respectively. We’ve held essay and art contests, received government proclamations, extolled the virtues of both local and historical women, and more, all before we roll into our big April events for Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
Our January focus looked to raise stalking awareness. Bedecked in yellow, staff visited the Pike County Commissioners to discuss the matter. This frequently unseen crime has affected roughly 15 percent of women and 6 percent of men in the United States. With recent clarifications in PA statute, we are hopeful law enforcement will have more tools with which to arrest offenders. Further aiding this end, we held and participated in a stalking training, given by Lois Fasnacht of the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence (PCADV). The training focused on trauma-informed practices involved in stalking cases, and was open to law enforcement and healthcare professionals in our community.
January also saw the onboarding of new staff member, David, who has taken on the role of Public Relations Manager. Amid myriad administrative tasks, he will work closely with our Outreach Team to spread our message throughout Wayne and Pike Counties, and beyond.
Throughout the month of February, our child counseling staff reached over 1,200 students throughout Wayne and Pike Counties, educating them on healthy and unhealthy relationship practices. They delivered presentations a class at a time, both doling out critical information, as well as correcting some myths the students raised in questioning. For their “What is Love?” art and essay contest, the child counseling team selected three winners from among the submissions to reward for their efforts.
In March, VIP celebrated women both in our community and throughout space and time. Following the 2023 theme of “Women Who Tell Our Stories,” each week our social media highlighted a prominent author, speaker, or other media advocate from throughout history whose contributions have shaped modern life for women in our country and the world over. We coupled this with brief introductions to local women in media so our clients and supporters could get a glimpse of who is telling their stories.
VIP also gave out its annual Badass Woman Award to local fitness instructor and all-around positive influence Kat McGowan of Glow Fitness. The Outreach Team surprised her on International Women’s Day, March 8, during her Pound class with a certificate of appreciation and a mug full of goodies. Earlier that day, VIP was out and about our two counties giving flowers to unsung women whose job it is to keep our community running from behind the scenes. To further celebrate some hidden heroines, VIP asked elementary-aged students to submit an essay or art piece highlighting their choice of a woman who wowed the world. Two winners were chosen and gifted with goodies for their efforts.
March was also a monumental month for long-time staff. Two of our nine-year veteran staffers, Linda and Mary Anne, said goodbye as they announced their retirement and set out on the next phase of their lives. Amid this loss of two such talented individuals, VIP also celebrated the ten-year anniversary of Chief Programs Officer, Randi.