Women Helping Women Honors Five Individuals at Annual Meeting

November 30th, 2015  |  Published in News

Women Helping Women Honors 2015 Annual Award Winners

Women Helping Women Honors Five for Volunteer Efforts and Support

 Cincinnati – Women Helping Women is proud to recognize the five individuals honored during the 2015 Women Helping Women (WHW) Annual Meeting November 12 at The Cincinnati Woman’s Club. Each year, WHW selects those who have made significant contributions to the agency’s mission and recognizes them at this yearly event attended by staff, board members, volunteers and community supporters.

This year’s honorees include:

  •  K. Kendall Fisher, Maria C. Blake Community Service Award Recipient

Kendall Fisher has been a longtime champion for WHW and for survivors of abuse. Her passion for supporting survivors started even prior to her involvement with WHW. She began her career in 1988 as a volunteer Advocate and went on to serve as the director of several programs including a domestic violence shelter, an offender treatment program and a teenage dating violence prevention program. From 1997 – 2000 she served as WHW’s Associate Director and then returned to the agency as the Executive Director from 2008 – 2015. During her time with WHW, she strengthened the collaborative model programs to place WHW advocates within the Cincinnati Police Department’s Personal Crimes Unit, the Cincinnati Police Districts, the City Prosecutor’s Office and the Legal Aid Society. Kendall’s passion for educating the community about WHW’s mission is evidenced by numerous teaching awards and the expansion of WHW’s prevention programming during her tenure.

When she learned in 2012 that Butler County’s Rape Crisis Program was going to have to shut its doors within just a few short weeks, she didn’t hesitate to get involved. She worked diligently to enlist community support, and WHW was able to expand sexual assault programming to Butler County and preserve critical survivor services.

 In June of 2015, Kendall became the Director of Advancement at Northern Kentucky University’s College of Informatics, but her passion for the issue and WHW’s mission is something that she will always carry with her.

  • George Wile, Janet S. Klaine Philanthropy Award Recipient –

George Wile and his late wife, Elizabeth, have played a major role in the philanthropic life of our city. WHW is very fortunate that when the need arose to expand our sexual assault services into Butler County in 2012, Mr. Wile provided funds to make the expansion possible. Through this involvement he learned that the agency was in need of a new server and more efficient systems. Not only did he provide the funds to purchase the server, he provided his expertise and that of his friend, Mark Rosenblum, to assist in the transition. WHW is now better able to provide the services so vital to our survivors and partners. Once again this year, Mr. Wile has stepped up and helped at a time of need. With great gratitude we present this award recognizing the role his philanthropy has played in the life of WHW.

  •  Police Officer Kelly Best, Thomas R. Oberschmidt Award Recipient

Police Officer Kelly Best was appointed to the Cincinnati Police Department in 2002 and was transferred to the Personal Crimes Unit (PCU) in 2007. She was assigned to the Child Advocacy Center at Children’s Hospital, but has successfully investigated cases involving both juveniles and adults. Since being assigned to PCU she has averaged 98 cases per year. She has had a number of accomplishments in her role with PCU, one of which is securing a forty count indictment for human trafficking against two individuals. Officer Best’s colleagues describe her as someone who always displays sensitivity, understanding, and compassion in working with survivors of sexual assault. She is dedicated to duty and persistent in her pursuit of criminal justice. Because of her attention to detail and professionalism, she is often sought out by her peers for advice on case investigations. She is extremely dedicated to her job and makes herself available day or night. She has worked a number of high profile, heinous cases and brought them to a successful resolution.

Officer Best is a United States Marine Corps veteran. She is currently working in the Cincinnati Police Department’s Military Liaison Group which provides services for veterans inside the criminal justice system. Officer Best also volunteers for numerous other community events through her church. While serving her community, she is also a single parent to her daughter and son.

  •  Ashley Couch, Butler County Founder’s Volunteer Award Recipient

Ashley Couch has been an amazing and compassionate volunteer advocate for WHW since the spring of 2014. Ashley consistently goes above and beyond the typical volunteer duties and is on call three to four times a month to cover hospital accompaniment calls and provide advocacy for survivors. Ashley has also stepped in to help in the days surrounding many holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, the Fourth of July and Valentine’s Day in the year and a half that she has been a volunteer.

Ashley has continued to volunteer with us after graduating from her undergraduate program, and while she has started her Masters of Social Work program at Miami University. She currently works as a Chemical Dependency Counselor for Community Behavioral Health.

  •  Brandi Patchan, Hamilton County Founder’s Volunteer Award Recipient

Brandi Patchan completed volunteer training in March of 2014 and has been a dedicated volunteer ever since. In the time since her training, Brandi has provided WHW with over 278 volunteer hours. She has spent many of these hours accompanying survivors at arraignment court or in civil protection order hearings. Brandi has also lent her time to data entry, answering the hotline and representing the agency at community events. Brandi is described by WHW staff as being such a positive presence at the agency and someone who is always up for helping out in whatever way she can.

Brandi was born in Miami, FL but has been a Cincinnatian for over 18 years. She is married and has one son. She is an avid nature lover and enjoys outdoor adventures, especially hiking and whitewater rafting, with her family. Brandi has always held a huge desire to help others, which is what led her to massage school. She was a massage therapist for over 10 years, working on both humans and animals, before moving onto other work adventures with her husband. She has always held an endless fascination with learning and doing new things. Her deepest hope is that the more she is able to grow, the more she will be able to offer and share with the world.

Women Helping Women Announces $373,000 Grant from Victims of Crime Act

October 9th, 2015  |  Published in News

Cincinnati – October 9, 2015 - Women Helping Women (WHW) is pleased to announce that the agency has been awarded more than $373,000 in funding for 12 months to support survivors in its two-county region in southwestern Ohio.

On Wednesday, October 7, Attorney General Mike DeWine announced a new statewide initiative to expand crime victim services in Ohio, with more than $51 million in Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) grants distributed to assist victims of crime in the state and to enable survivors to receive critical services.

The Attorney General’s office challenged victim service providers to be bold and creative in their grant applications. WHW responded with a bold and creative proposal and was granted 100 percent of its requested funding, which represents a 94 percent increase in VOCA funding for WHW as compared to the previous years. This significant grant will be transformational for the agency, allowing it to expand its operations to serve many more survivors of gender-based violence in Hamilton and Butler Counties. One important example of the impact the increased funding will have on the community is that WHW will now be empowered to increase its advocacy and support to Greater Cincinnati’s growing Hispanic and Latino community.

Annually, WHW has served approximately 10,000 survivors. With the new funding allocation, WHW will increase its staff by 35 percent as it strives to comprehensively respond to a growing number of survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. Through its highly-trained staff and volunteer advocates, WHW meets survivors where they are: hospitals, court rooms, campuses, police stations, community support groups, and through the agency’s 24-hour hotline (513.381.5610).

“As Domestic Violence Awareness Month is launched on October, WHW has cause to honor this month through increased advocacy and service to all survivors,” said WHW’s Executive Director, Kristin Smith Shrimplin. She continued, “WHW is built on the values of empowerment, a focus on survivors, and a strong belief in diversity and inclusion so that all survivors are served. WHW is grateful to the Ohio Attorney General’s office for believing so strongly in the work that we do.”


Kristin Shrimplin Shares Information About Ohio’s Mandated Dating Violence Prevention Courses

October 1st, 2015  |  Published in News

Channel 5 – John London

NEWPORT —It has been a mighty hard fall in the past week for the leader of a Northern Kentucky school system.

Facing a criminal charge of domestic violence, Campbell County Superintendent Glen Miller, 53, has decided to retire.

Watch this story

In a statement from Janis Winbigler, the board chairwoman, Miller indicated the effective date of his retirement will be Nov. 1.

“Please be assured the Board of Education will be moving forward to quickly address this situation and ensure continuity of leadership,” Winbigler said.

Miller has been the superintendent of Campbell County schools since the summer of 2011.

According to Erlanger police, Miller’s daughter called 911 on the night of Sept. 23 and said that her father had struck her mother in the face and neck.

An officer met with the daughter and mother at a nearby church on Turkeyfoot Road.

The police report indicated the officer observed the injury, verified it was made when Miller struck her and proceeded with the investigation.

Police said Miller, “advised the contact was accidental.” The officer determined the injury “was not consistent with accidental” and charged Miller with domestic violence assault.

Since Miller, by virtue of his position in the school district, is considered a role model for students, those on the front lines of violence against women are reacting in ways they hope will bring about greater awareness and greater protection.

“Domestic violence happens and it doesn’t matter whether you’re educated or uneducated, whether you’re rich, you’re poor, your religion,” Marsha Croxton said, who is the executive director of the Northern Kentucky Women’s Crisis Center. “It’s out there and people don’t believe that it’s happening. We are a victim-blaming society.”

She has no way of knowing how Campbell County students are processing their superintendent’s arrest, but she sports a green dot pin that speaks to a five-year intervention effort involving 26 Kentucky schools, including Simon Kenton.

They participated in Green Dot, which teaches students how to recognize potential relationship violence and the appropriate way to react.

“The unpublished report showed that by teaching students how to be active bystanders, to either directly confront something, to distract an individual from doing something or to delegate, go find somebody that can help, they actually reduced instances of interpersonal violence in their school.”

At Women Helping Women, Kristin Shrimplin said statistics that show one out of every three teens experiences violence in the home or in relationships and that 57 percent know someone who has experienced that type of violence.

Ohio mandates all seventh through 12th grade students take a teen dating violence prevention course.

It grows out of Tina’s Law, named for Tina Croucher, who was murdered by her boyfriend.

The mandate is something Kentucky has yet to require in its public schools.

“So, we know we can have these pro-active, prevention-focused conversations and these type of conversations were not really happening seven, eight, ten years ago,” said Shrimplin.

There is a 24-hour crisis line at Women Helping Women.

“It’s anonymous, it’s confidential, they can talk about their situation, they can get a safety plan that’s customized for them,” Shrimplin said.

If reaching out to a service provider is not an option for someone and they choose instead to confide in a family member or a friend, experts said it’s critical to offer reassurance.

“I believe you, it’s not your fault,” Shrimplin said are the phrases someone caught in domestic violence needs to hear.

Part of what can keep the victim of abuse isolated is the false belief that she has caused the violent behavior, that it’s her fault.

The crisis line number at Women Helping Women is 513-381-5610.

P&G Alumni Give Back

September 30th, 2015  |  Published in News

Sue Baggott, WHW’s Board President, is someone who cares deeply about the mission of WHW and understands the importance of the agency in the community. See the great article about Sue’s involvement in the P&G Alumni Network Impact Edition – 2015

Purple Light Walk Raises Awareness for Domestic Violence

September 30th, 2015  |  Published in News

For Good

Purple Light Walk raises domestic violence awareness


The Purple Light Walk asks the community to talk about something that’s really difficult to discuss: domestic violence. A countless number of women are forced into sex and/or beaten and abused throughout their lifetimes, and that number is rising every day.

This year’s Purple Light Walk will take place Oct. 2 at Washington Park beginning at 7 p.m. and will loop through downtown Cincinnati. The annual event, which takes place every October during Domestic Violence Awareness Month, is returning for its third year.

“The Purple Light Walk is one of many ways that Women Helping Women strives to support survivors of abuse,” says event co-chair and Women Helping Womenlaw enforcement advocate Ellen Newman.

The walk was created by Women Helping Women to help raise awareness and empower domestic violence survivors. The organization provides crisis intervention services for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking.

The Purple Light Walk is a collaboration between Women Helping Women, YWCA of Greater CincinnatiCincinnati Police DepartmentKeyBank and Zonta Club of Cincinnati.

There will be a raffle, food and music prior to the walk as well as a program beginning at 6:30 p.m. emceed by Officer Princess Davis, who coordinatesCitizens on Patrol at Cincinnati Police District 1.

Registration for the Purple Light Walk is free. The first 100 participants will receive a free 2015 Purple Light Walk event T-shirt, and everyone who walks will receive a purple glow stick to carry during the walk, Newman says.

Do Good:

• Walk for someone you know or a stranger who has been a victim of domestic violence. Registration is free.

• Follow the Purple Light Walk page on Facebook.

• Contact Ellen Newman for more information.

Cincinnati Task Force to Reduce Campus Gender-Based Violence

September 16th, 2015  |  Published in News

Councilmember PG Sittenfeld, Area Universities, Women Helping Women, Law Enforcement Unveil

Cincinnati Task Force to Reduce Gender-Based Violence

CINCINNATI – City Councilmember PG Sittenfeld, leadership from area Universities, Women Helping Women, and Law Enforcement announced on September 15 the creation of a task force to reduce campus gender-based violence in the City of Cincinnati.

“To date, the voice and leadership of local governments across the nation has been in the background at best and silent at worst. As we see an increase in the number of sexual assaults and other gender-based violence being reported across the state and here in our city, this task force will strive to ensure our city is addressing these issues proactively with collaborative solutions,” said Sittenfeld.

The following institutions, organizations, and government entities are participating in and represented on the task force:

The City of Cincinnati; the Cincinnati Police Department (CPD); the University of Cincinnati; Xavier University; Cincinnati Christian University; Cincinnati State; the Norwood Police Department; Women Helping Women; SANE: Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (Butler County); GCCCU: Greater Cincinnati Consortium of Colleges and Universities; the Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office; Cincinnati Public Schools; and the United Way of Greater Cincinnati. The Task Force, which is being co-chaired by Kristin Shrimplin, Executive Director of Women Helping Women and Kate Lawson, Title IX Coordinator at Xavier University, also said any other community stakeholders are welcome to participate.

The group will convene for the next 8 months, during which time it will launch a city-wide awareness campaign; create a centralized portal for victim services; reform policies and procedures; and issue a report of best practices. Task Force subcommittees have been established in the following areas: 1)Awareness & Prevention 2)Survivor Access & Support and 3)Policies & Protocol.

In collaboration with the national It’s On Us campaign launched by the White House last fall, the task force will also launch a campaign called It’s On Us – Cincinnati.

Said co-chair Kristin Shrimplin:

“Our message is that gender-based violence is far too common, complex, and consequential to be addressed, eliminate, or prevented by any one program or by any one community partner. Instead, like any other public health epidemic, it requires a collaborative response to create a culture change. Our campuses, our community, our friends, our family members, all of us deserve to live and thrive in a community that is free of gender-based violence and free of the acceptance of such violence.

You can email to get involved.

Opinion: Loss of UC Rape Survivor Program Troubling

August 31st, 2015  |  Published in News

Kristin Smith Shrimplin is the executive director for Women Helping Women, a community-based agency whose mission is to empower survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence and stalking by providing advocacy, support and options for safety.

One merely has to glance at the front page of a newspaper or catch the top of a news broadcast to understand the critical need for all educational institutions to have effective, comprehensive, campus-based responses to gender-based violence.

My colleagues and I at Women Helping Women are deeply concerned that the University of Cincinnati currently does not have a functional campus-based peer survivor advocacy program in place. RECLAIM, the program that has served UC sexual assault survivors for more than a decade and has received national acclaim from the White House for its efficacy, is unable to provide services due to the fact that the program’s required and extensive 40-hour training was halted, leaving UC students without a clear path to sexual assault survivor services.

WHW supports RECLAIM as an important part of the University of Cincinnati’s options for survivor advocacy. We also support the UC administrators who have pledged to promptly meet with peer advocates to reschedule training and ensure RECLAIM student advocates are fully prepared to effectively support student survivors of sexual assault.

It is important that as students begin their academic year ‒ statistically the time of year that college students are at highest risk for sexual assault ‒ a comprehensive service offering is readily available to assist and support survivors. In fact, it’s an integral element of students’ rights to safety and to receiving an education.

While WHW serves survivors of sexual assault in Hamilton and Butler counties, we best serve college student survivors by working in close cooperation and collaboration with each of the campus-based peer survivor advocacy programs in our region. College student survivors have unique and critical needs, such as navigating campus-specific options and pursuing a pathway to healing, that can be expertly met by trained, on-campus peer advocates. WHW has collaborated with RECLAIM for more than a decade as RECLAIM has provided essential advocacy services for student survivors.

Unfortunately, gender-based violence is a public health epidemic that disproportionately impacts young women who are of college age. According to a report led by Bonnie Fisher, it’s estimated that:

•20-25 percent of women in higher educational institutions experience sexual assault, including rape, over the course of their college careers.

•For every 1,000 women attending a college or university, there are 35 incidents of rape each academic year.

These statistics are staggering. Sexual assault is far too common, complex and consequential for any one entity to address. It is an epidemic that requires a comprehensive and immediate response.

It is critical that students at UC have a direct and clear path to immediate services for sexual assault survivors. UC reports that it had 23,716 women students enrolled in the 2014-15 academic year. If the statistics above hold true, and assuming level enrollment, there could be more than 4,700 UC student survivors of sexual assaults, of which 830 of those will be rape survivors, in this year alone. There is no time to waste in getting the RECLAIM program fully operational now.

WHW believes in our caring community of Greater Cincinnati and our power to collectively address and end gender-based violence.

Teach kids early about healthy relationships

March 9th, 2015  |  Published in News

Kendra Massey is education and outreach supervisor at Women Helping Women.

One case of dating violence is too many.

Yet research indicates that one in three adolescents in the U.S. experiences abuse from a dating partner. It’s vital to empower our young people to recognize healthy and unhealthy relationships and understand ways we can support the youth in our lives.

Women Helping Women’s dating violence prevention program arms young people with the knowledge and tools needed to recognize red flags or warning signs in relationships – in their own and in the relationships of friends. We teach youth what they can do to prevent dating violence in their communities as well as resources available when violence does occur.

One message we give youth is the importance of modeling healthy relationships by respecting their partner’s feelings and wishes in a relationship, paying attention to their body language, and stopping any physical advances if their partner says no or is unsure.

We teach youth that they can influence the way that their friends treat their dating partners as a method to prevent abuse. This can be done by telling a friend very clearly that abusive behavior is unacceptable and not making light of inappropriate behavior.

Sometimes youth don’t feel comfortable or safe handling a situation alone, so we encourage them to involve others when needed. They can alert staff at their school, call the police if they witness violence, or talk to a parent, teacher or other adult for advice.

Most importantly, we teach the importance of being able to talk about dating violence – whether it’s to parents, friends or someone they trust. It’s a difficult topic to discuss, so it’s vital that we all, as community members, take time to listen when youth come to us for support. We also have a responsibility to initiate conversations about dating with the teens in our lives.

It’s necessary that we recognize some red flags associated with an unhealthy relationship, including controlling behavior, threats of suicide or self-harm from a dating partner, extreme jealousy, put-downs and isolation from loved ones.

Common barriers to teens getting help include fear that others won’t understand, not knowing where to get help and fear of being judged. Therefore, it’s important when offering support that we listen without judgment, believe what is said, and offer information on resources such as Women Helping Women’s anonymous hotline.

It’s up to each of us to arm our young people with the knowledge they need to navigate relationships while they’re young. It’s up to us to get involved as a community to prevent dating violence and abusive behavior in all its forms.

If you know would like more support on how to talk with the youth in your life about healthy relationships or would like more information about Women Helping Women’s education and prevention programs, please give us a call at (513) 381-5610.

27th Annual She Screams Without Sound Candlelight Vigil Local 12 Story

October 8th, 2014  |  Published in News

Vigil to Recognize Domestic Violence Victims

Updated: Tuesday, October 7 2014, 08:21 AM EDT CINCINNATI, Ohio (Adam Clements) — Victims of domestic violence will be recognized tonight with a special candlelight vigil at the Hamilton County courthouse.. One of the biggest points the folks participating in tonight’s vigil are hoping to get across is that domestic violence is everywhere. Just because someone doesn’t come right out and say it, doesn’t mean they may not be a victim of some sort of physical or verbal abuse. In Hamilton County in the past year, four women have lost their lives as a result of domestic violence related issues. For organizers of Tuesday’s event, that is four too many. They are expecting upwards of 100 people at tonight’s vigil. The YWCA is partnering once again with women helping women. They serve around 12,000 people in Hamilton County. This is the 27th annual domestic violence awareness vigil. In the scene is expected to be a powerful one. It’s about remembering the lives that of been lost, and working to help other victims who can still be saved. Executive Director of Women Helping Women, Kendall Fisher said, “I think it’s critical that it doesn’t get lost in the shuffle. This is a really really important issue that impacts.. We serve twelve thousand people right here in Hamilton county. So it affects too many people to let it get swept under the carpet or overshadowed by something else.” In addition to candles being lit, they also plan to have several guest speakers, including Hamilton County coroner Dr. Lakshmi Sammarco, as well as family members of victims who have lost their lives to domestic violence. Follow Adam Clements on Twitter @aclementswkrc and LIKE him on Facebook.

Read More at:

Opinion: What survivors of Domestic Violence Really Need

October 6th, 2014  |  Published in News

The Cincinnati Enquirer published an editorial from Women Helping Women’s Executive Director, Kendall Fisher. Read below…

Opinion: What victims of domestic violence really


Ray Rice and wife


Kendall Fisher 12:05 a.m. EDT October 5, 2014


(Photo: File photo )

Kendall Fisher is executive director of Women Helping Women.

Recently, we’ve seen the national and local headlines about high-profile domestic violence cases, and we’ve heard the public asking, “Why did she stay?”

As we begin a month of events to mark October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month, I write this letter to the women and men in abusive relationships, and also to those attempting to support survivors or understand why a survivor stays.

To the survivors: You and I both know why survivors stay. For you, and hundreds of other people in similar situations across the Tri-state, the answer isn’t an easy one. You and I know that sometimes a person’s decision to leave saved her or his life. And we also know that sometimes, the decision to stay is what’s kept her or him alive. You and I know that everyone is quick to denounce domestic violence, but many are also quick to judge the woman or man who stays.

What you may not know is no matter what decision you make, the dedicated staff and volunteers at Women Helping Women are here to help you and other women, men, and families suffering from domestic violence. We know that there is no one right answer. We know that your decision to stay or leave is yours alone.

Women Helping Women advocates assist survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking in Hamilton County. But if you’re in Butler, Warren, Clermont, Kenton, Boone, or Campbell County, our staff can connect you to the right agency in your area. These groups will partner with you to do all they can to keep you safe, and help you make the right decision for you.

To those struggling to help someone suffering from abuse, or to those struggling to understand why a domestic violence survivor stays: What these women, men and children need are friends, family and a community that does not judge them, question why they stay or attempt to persuade them to leave.

Survivors need for you to believe them – to believe IN them. They need you to let them know that the abuse they suffer is not their fault and they don’t deserve it. They need you to provide resources to help them develop a safety plan, whether they stay in their relationship or leave.

Survivors need for you to educate yourself and others about domestic violence. Women Helping Women’s Community Outreach educators are happy to meet with your school, work, church or other group to provide information on recognizing the signs of domestic violence, responding appropriately to survivors and taking a stand in your community.

Volunteer for Women Helping Women, the YWCA, Women’s Crisis Center or another domestic violence agency in your community. Agencies such as these need compassionate, dedicated volunteers to assist survivors, promote understanding and make a positive difference in their communities.

Attend awareness events this month throughout the Tri-state. The Candlelight Vigil on October 7 remembers the domestic violence homicide victims in our community, and Bark Out Against Battering Pet Fest on October 25 increases awareness and understanding of the links between pet abuse and domestic violence.

And most importantly, domestic violence survivors need you to respect their choices. Understand that staying is sometimes the safest choice, and each and every survivor of domestic violence has a unique situation that should not be judged at first glance. Stand by them and respect them enough to help them get in touch with the right resources.

If you know someone suffering from physical, sexual, emotional, economic or psychological abuse – or if that’s you – please call us day or night at (513) 381-5610. Women Helping Women is here to help you, support you, and give you the resources you need.