Awareness Months

Remember Their Names - October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

The YWCA Wise Options Program is a tireless source of hope, safety, encouragement and support for victims of domestic violence. This October, and every day, we remember those from Lycoming County who have lost their lives to domestic violence. We are truly dedicated helping all victims break the cycle of abuse to become survivors.

Dolores “Dee” Wilson - 1954-1996
Jenifer Marie Powell - 1976-1997
Jennifer Witmer - 1965-1998
Tramaine M. Glisson - 1978-1999
Miriam Zambie Illes - 1951-1999
Susan Yasipour - 1996-2001
Stephanie Sees - 1970-2002
Kalib Nash Blasé - 1997-2002
Traci L. Wertz - 1970-2004
Melanie Seitzer-Salgado - 1969-2004
Christine Montgomery - 1972-2005
Cherilyn Kephart - 1974-2013
Lynn Wright - 1960-2013
Kristina Pope - 1992-2015
Michelle Inch - 1984-2016


Why do we need DVAM?

  • More than 1,000 women men and children seek out the services of Wise Options every year. We know this is just a very small fraction of those who are suffering.
  • Domestic Violence knows no bounds. Victims are from every race, gender, economic status and geographic location.
  • One in four women has experienced violence at the hands of an intimate partner.
  • The health related costs or rape, assault, stalking and homicide by an intimate partner exceeds $5.8 billion dollars annually in America.
  • Victims of domestic violence pay an extra $5,000 in medical costs annually.
  • Victims of domestic violence lose 8 million paid days of work throughout the country each year. This is equal to 32,000 jobs and 5.6 million days of household productivity.
  • One of every three female homicide victims were murdered by a current or former intimate partner.
  • Up to 50% of elder abuse is committed by a former or current intimate partner. Less than 1% of women over the age of 55 seek the help of a shelter like Wise Options.
  • Witnessing violence between caretakers is the strongest risk factor for transmitting violent behavior from one generation to the next. More than 3 million children witness violence in their home annually.
  • The CDC estimates that as many as 40% of victims of severe, physical domestic violence are men. 



April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Please join us on Wednesday, April 26th at the Williamsport High School for a panel discussion relevant to today's sexual assault crisis.  Panelists include:


Dan Maneval - SPECTRUM Alliance member and LGBTQ Advocate
Derek Slaughter - WAHS Teacher & Girl’s Basketball Coach
Larry Smith - Juvenile Probation Officer
Sean Walker–  Area Track Coach &  Intervention Specialist
Larry Smith - Juvenile Probation Officer
Sean Walker–  Area Track Coach &  Intervention Specialist
Moderator: Brian Brooking, Board V.P. , PA Coalition Against Domestic Violence

At WAHS - please park in Lot B and go in the Fine Arts entance.  Any questions, call 570-322-4637, ext. 159.

During Sexual Assault Awareness Month, the National Sexual Violence Resource Center provides some tips for specific groups and members of our community to help increase respect and end sexual violence.

For Coaches:

- Teach athletes that derogatory jokes may seem harmless, but they create and maintain an atmosphere that promotes disrespect, and in some cases, violence. These comments can shape long-term attitudes that may lead members of your team to think it’s acceptable to hurt others.
- Set clear expectations for your players. For example, have a code of conduct that outlines consequences for catcalling or players using gender or sexual orientation as an insult.
- Address inappropriate behaviors and turn them into teachable moments.
- Encourage your team members to recognize and confront hurtful behavior, even if it comes from teammates.

Parents of young children
- It’s important to demonstrate healthy personal boundaries with your child early on. Age-appropriate lessons about boundaries and consent can help shape your child’s values.
- Respect your child’s right to make choices about their body. For example, don’t make them hug someone they don’t want to.
- Encourage your child to respect the choices of others. For example, tell them to ask their friends if it’s okay before giving hugs, holding hands, taking pictures, etc.
- Teach your child the correct names of all their body parts, including their genitals. This information empowers children to know their bodies and better understand development.

Parents of young adults

- As your son or daughter enters their teenage years, it’s important to discuss healthy sexuality. Help your teen develop healthy attitudes about sexuality.
- Talk openly about sexuality and development. Say things like, “It’s normal to have a lot of questions. It might feel uncomfortable at first to ask but I’d rather you hear information from me.”
- Practice how you could respond to questions that might make you uncomfortable. For example, what would you say if your child asked about birth control?
- Look for opportunities in pop culture to continue the conversation about healthy relationships. For example, when you’re watching TV together, point out examples of positive relationships.
- Talk frequently about consent. You can say, “Consent should be freely given. If you pressure someone, that isn’t consent – even if they haven’t said ‘no.’ That applies in real life, online, and in texts.”

For sorority and fraternity members:
- Use your leadership and resources to help prevent sexual violence on campus. When your organization promotes equality, respect, and accountability, it helps create a safer space for everyone.
- Support an equal and safe campus community by sponsoring campus-wide awareness events that focus on consent, healthy sexuality, and bystander intervention.
- Partner with other groups on campus or in the local community that support equality, such as LGBTQ organizations, your campus women’s center or the YWCA.
- Educate members about what enthusiastic, affirmative consent looks like.*
- Step in and speak up when you hear rape jokes, see sexual harassment, or observe situations where consent hasn’t been or cannot be given.

Online Communities

- Sexual violence undermines the values of strong communities. Online comments that blame victims contribute to a broader climate in which sexual violence is tolerated and not taken seriously.
- Help end rape culture by taking action online. Believe and support survivors. For example, thank survivors for sharing their stories in the comments.
- Respond to victim-blaming, rape jokes, or other problematic comments on social media. Post a response like, “Sexual assault is never the survivor’s fault.”
- Refocus accountability on the individual(s) who committed sexual abuse.
- Link to an educational resource about sexual violence prevention.



For faith leaders
Faith leaders set the tone for how your community responds to this issue. One of the most important things you can do is be prepared to address sexual violence in your congregation.
- Support survivors and prevent sexual violence. Believe survivors when they share their stories with you. Assure them it wasn’t their fault, no matter the circumstances.
- Train staff, volunteers, and congregants to model healthy behavior and boundaries with adults and children.
- Organize educational programs on topics like healthy relationships and healthy masculinity.
- Collaborate with and support the YWCA Wise Options program. For example post its contact information on bulletin boards.- Create a victim-centered policy around safe ways for people who commit sexual harm to remain part of your congregation.