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Perspective matters…and YOU get to decide which perspective you will choose

Here’s what we know… Although there seems to be improvements related to the prevalence of bullying in the most recent years (Waasdorp et al 2018), peer mistreatment is still a very serious concern for far too many students. So what can we do? We know that bullying prevention is not just about doing ‘one thing’—and in fact, there is no silver bullet. But, we also know that how we approach bullying prevention does matter. What we focus on does determine our course of action, and ultimately, our effectiveness. The importance of the lens – Think about what lenses do for us. For some of us, they correct our stigmatism, for others they add color and/or depth. In short, lenses allow us to see thin

Mothers, Ashtrays, and Haircuts: The Cost of Coming Out at Work

"I wouldn't steal that ashtray over there because I know it's wrong," said my mother, a heavy smoker, on Thanksgiving right after I came out as being gay to my family. I had been privately dating my first girlfriend for seven years; we were breaking up, and she was moving out of our college apartment. I felt like I had to tell my family and explain why my "friend" was leaving abruptly. My family expressed their love for me; however, my parents really struggled with their own religious beliefs versus my gayness. Our conversations grew sparse as it took my parents a few years to bounce back from the news. My biggest fear in coming out was not being able to see my young nieces and nephews

Sexual Assault Kits and Revictimization

Over the past year, I’ve talked to everyone involved in the collection, processing, and use in court of an adult sexual assault kit in my home state of South Dakota. These are all the people, seen and unseen by the survivor, involved with all aspects of a sexual assault kit (SAK) – from payment, to transport, to analysis, to prosecution. From this research I’ve discovered two important universal truths. The first: That everyone really does want what is best for the survivor. The second: That lack of clarity, misunderstanding, and general ignorance of the legislation around SAKs frequently results in mistakes or choices that result in a violation of the first truth. And while some of these mi

Human Trafficking: The Silent Secret

We hear stories of people in far away places or in times long ago, people who were taken from their homes. Kidnapped, these stolen victims are forced into service, into manual labor or the sex trade. We hear the stories, but it often feels so distant, so removed from our local community. Yet the reality is that human trafficking is very real, very present, and right in our backdoor. Recently a news story “Selling Innocence: Human Trafficking Along the I-90 Corridor” identified how Erie is a prime location for traffickers, and a constant battle for law enforcement agencies and community organizations trying to save victims from modern day slavery. Human trafficking has been defined by the Dep

Coming Out Queer: Applying a Trauma Informed Lens to National Coming Out Day

(reposted with permission by the author from Psychology Today) "You have some queer friends Dorothy,” she said. “The queerness doesn’t matter so long as they’re friends,” was the answer. - The Road to Oz (1909) Although these words were published 110 years ago and the meaning of queerness is different, many still struggle to accept Dorothy Gale’s worldview today. For lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) youth, navigating the world can pose more problems than simply finding a friend like Dorothy to embrace their “queerness.” Today is the 31st annual National Coming Out Day. It is a day intended for LGBTQ+ people to experience the freedom of expressing who they are and be ce

Building Relationships with Youth: A Pathway To Resiliency

According to data from the Pennsylvania Area Youth Survey (a comprehensive survey given to students across Pennsylvania in 6th, 8th, 10th, and 12th grade), youth in Erie County have a lower percentage of Neighborhood Attachment than the state average and their percent of Community Rewards for Pro-Social Involvement (recognition for participation in non-school related activities) is significantly lower than the state average. Two glaring pieces of data came from recent surveys: 48% of youth in Erie County have low Neighborhood Attachments and are at a higher risk of becoming involved with risky behaviors. The second data point was that only 38% of Erie County youth feel that that the Communit

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