Wellspring - Ending relationship and sexual abuse in Saratoga County

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Saratoga County, Say " I Care"

Do you care about domestic violence?

Few people would say, "No I don't care." or even "I don't have any opinion about it."  Some might say, "I don't know anyone who has experienced domestic violence." Surprisingly, time and time again people have told me that once they started talking about the issue, they were surprised how many people they knew who had experienced relationship abuse.

I've recently come across an awareness campaign in Vermont, #Icare, where people post their reasons why they care about domestic and sexual violence.

Here are just a few examples from our neighbors in Vermont.
"I care because even one victim of domestic or sexual violence is  one too many."
"I care because I want my daughter to grow up in a world where she feels safe and respected." 
"I care because domestic and sexual violence affects entire communities."

Our reasons for caring can be so very different. They may be intensely personal, other times professional, e.g. police officers who see these situations daily, and sometimes more global concerns for social justice or gender based equality.

Domestic violence thrives in silence and darkness. Victims or survivors of abuse, often aren't able to speak out about how the abuse affected them. Perhaps speaking out could be dangerous. Perhaps speaking out about what an abuser did to them could harm their children if that abuser also was called Daddy or Mommy. Solving  domestic violence isn't the responsibility of those who have experienced abuse; it rests with all of us.  Together we can end domestic violence, but first we need to know why this is so important. Do you care? If so, speak out. Visit the "I Care" post on Wellspring's facebook page. It takes just a few seconds to break the silence. Say "I care."


It Takes Just Seconds

I often think about causes and wish I had the time to assist. In fact, it's often easier to help out than I imagine. For Domestic Violence Awareness Month, many community partners are helping us to promote awareness in simple but effective ways. For example law enforcement agencies, including the Saratoga Springs Police Department, NYS Police, Saratoga County Sheriff, and Stillwater Police Department are promoting awareness by placing domestic violence awareness car magnets on their vehicles.
Saratoga Springs Police Department and Wellspring advocates collaborate to raise awareness
They've been doing it for several years now. When they first partnered with us, I was surprised by how many community members were impressed when they saw the ribbons on the police cars.
I heard from many clients of Wellspring that just by seeing the awareness ribbons on police cars they felt more reassured that if they called the police these officers would understand and help them. Wow. It takes just a few seconds to put a ribbon on a car, but that small gesture speaks volumes about their commitment and professionalism.

It’s About More Than Wearing Purple

Many of you recall that Domestic Violence Awareness Month has often been recognized by individuals and groups (including me) wearing purple to show that they care about this cause. I'm wearing less purple this month and instead am talking to people about taking action to raise awareness. Although because of  past awareness months, my closet resonates with purple, I'd much rather see people:
  • talking to their children during dinner about healthy and abusive relationships
  • learning about less obvious forms of power and control, so they can recognize abuse that isn't physical, or
  • bringing Wellspring's Workplace Domestic Violence Toolkit to their business so managers and supervisors are better informed about how the workplace can be impacted when abuse leaves home and comes to work. 
Today I spoke with Jesse Jackson of LookTV about being active in raising awareness this October. Jesse summed up the conversation quite memorably, "Do something". Click here to watch the video of our conversation.

So this October, wear purple if you'd like, but take action too.

Putting Awareness to Work

I often laugh that I can't keep up with all the days of recognition, "Today was National Bacon Day... Hug a Kitten Day...Organize Your Closet Day". I usually find out about these days of recognition, after the fact. You'd think it would be easier to keep up with the recognition months and their associated colors. Not always. In addition to being Breast Cancer Awareness Month (pink ribbons) and Domestic Violence Awareness Month (purple ribbons), October is also the month dedicated to awareness of: Physical Therapy , Eczema, Alzheimer's, Black History, Bullying Prevention, Cybersecurity, Disability Employment, Fire Prevention, Information Literacy, Italian American Heritage, Hispanic Heritage, Work and Family, Polish American Heritage, LGBTQ History, Raynaud's Awareness', Down Syndrome, Infant Loss and Miscarriage, Dwarfism,  Energy Awareness. Every one of these things is important and can be life-defining, but with such a  dizzying array does awareness become meaningless?

I don't think so. I know
that as someone sees an article about domestic violence, or an awareness ribbon on a car that he/she will realize they're not alone and may reach out for help. Just picking up the phone is the first step to changing their life (and perhaps even saving their life). I know that as we talk to a community group about our mission, someone will gain a better understanding of the obstacles to leaving abuse. Domestic violence is a silent and mostly invisible epidemic in our country.

Throughout the month, I'll be offering ways you can raise awareness, highlighting innovative partnerships, and discussing domestic violence in more depth to increase understanding .  Domestic violence advocates alone cannot end domestic violence. We need our whole community supporting us in that mission, not just in October, but throughout the year... but October is a good place to start. So learn about domestic violence, talk about it, notice it... awareness is the first step to ending it.

Are You Aware?

October 1st is the start of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Some may ask why we need a month to raise awareness of domestic violence. We’ve all heard of it, right? Yes… and no. Most people in Saratoga County aren’t aware that domestic violence is the #2 violent crime in our county. Most aren’t aware that domestic violence in the primary cause of family homelessness. And people are continually shocked to learn that domestic violence is a primary cause of homicide in Saratoga County (in fact 100% of homicides from 2010-2013 were due to domestic violence).
"[Wellspring’s] services made me realize that although things are rough, you do what’s best for your children and everything works out. DV counseling and shelter saved my life and my children."

Many people continue to think of domestic violence as primarily physical abuse. Often a caller to our hotline will start with, “A friend told me to call, but I’m not sure I should be calling you… I’ve never been hit.” In fact, many highly abusive relationships may have little or no physical abuse. However, living each day with psychological abuse, financial control, social isolation, threats and intimidation or sexual victimization can be far more devastating than the black eye we so often see on a poster about domestic violence. learn more about the various forms of domestic violence.

Most people are surprised to hear about the prevalence of domestic violence. During their lifetime,  1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men are affected by domestic violence. Wellspring's hotline responds to an average of 1,400 calls/year and we assist ~1,000 survivors of abuse each year with free and confidential services ranging from legal advocacy, counseling and crisis intervention, to employment assistance, financial literacy, case management, a Safe Pet program and even a supportive housing program.   Sometimes the biggest barriers to leaving abuse involve fears about being able to provide food on the table and a roof overhead for the family. Wellspring helps people overcome these barriers so they can live free from fear… but also have housing and economic stability.  

[Wellspring] supported me and helped me when I was going through a very tough moment in my life. They were there for me when I needed someone to talk, to advise me how to get help, supporting me during the court days.

The staff were also always nice and helpful with my son. They made our stay as easy as possible. They supported us with summer camp for day care when I could not afford it so I could keep working. 

When someone is living in an abusive home, it can be hard to imagine how to break free. It can be hard to believe that life can be different. Each day we see the courage and strength… and relief… as we work with survivors to create a new future.
If you or someone you know has experienced an abusive relationship, you are not alone. Call our hotline at 518.584.8188.
For more information about Wellspring's services visit www.wellspringcares.org 

Girls Night Fundraiser

Join Wellspring for

Girlfriends Helping Girlfriends,

A Girls’ Night Out

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Longfellow’s Hotel, Restaura
nt and Conference Center

6:00 PM

Proceeds to benefit Wellspring (formerly DVRC)

dreamstime_11247812 [Converted]Join us for a girls’ night out complete with couture, pampering, great food and drink, and shopping.   The evening will include a fashion show featuring local vendors Violet’s of Saratoga, Spoken Boutique, Encounter, Lifestyles of Saratoga, and Frivolous.  The proceeds will support the work of Wellspring with the survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.

Ticket Prices
Prior to the Event: $50
At the Door: $75

Buy Your Tickets Online HERE, or call the office at 518-583-0280.


Summer Camps

Wellspring Uses Summer Camps and Recreation to Support Both Children and Parents

In a given year, as many as 50 children and teens will be residents in either Wellspring’s domestic violence shelter or supportive housing program, NewView. Children and teens are affected by domestic violence and relationship abuse as much as adults. Just witnessing violence in the home can have lasting effects on children and teenagers. As with any abusive relationship, survivors can experience confusion, anger, and depression, which makes specialized approaches to younger survivors paramount.

To help the youth in such situations, Wellspring staff work to provide a small level of comfort, familiarity, and fun thanks in large part to the support of local donors and the Hawley Foundation.  Over the course of the 2015 summer, Wellspring staff worked with clients to send their children to a summer camp or recreational program as well as providing youth outings to local recreational services, and in some instances, daycare.  The staff were able to provide over 8 weeks of camp and 15 outings to 10 children.

Beyond providing a summer of fun, these programs are also a benefit to the parents, as they work to break free of domestic violence.  With this support, the parents are given a greater opportunity to become financially stable, to advance in their jobs so they can attain a living wage.  This livelihood is what provides the stability that keeps the family from returning to abuse—allowing them to build loving homes where children no longer live in fear.


About Wellspring

Wellspring provides hotline, emergency counseling, legal advocacy, comprehensive case management, support, information, and accompaniment during sexual assault forensic exams, and other service to more than 1,000 victims of domestic violence and sexual assault each year.  At Wellspring we believe that the best approach to ending interpersonal violence is prevention.  To help address this need, we invest in volunteers, prevention programs, and community outreach.  For more information, please contact our office at 518.583.0280.

Paws for Peace

This is my loveable boy Andy. He's hoping you and your pooch will join him for a walk on Saturday, September 26th in Saratoga Springs' Congress Park to raise awareness about Wellspring's Safe Pet Partnership. It's a family friendly event. Beginning at 10 am we'll have demonstrations about:

  • Walking your dog (rather than him walking you)
  • Lyme Disease
  • Holistic veterinary treatments
  • Doggie agility course
  • Search and rescue dog demonstrations
  • Blessing of the pets
... and $5 pawdicures (nail clipping).
At 11 am, pooches and humans will get a little exercise with a walk around the park (~1 mile).

Big and small... bring them all

The event is free to humans and $5 for pooches (they'll get some goodies for attending.) The proceeds benefit Wellspring's services to help all victims of domestic violence... including our furry, feathered and finned family members.

If you're sad because you don't have a pooch to accompany you, the Saratoga County Animal Shelter will be there with some pups  looking for their forever homes.

5th Annual Pooch Parade

Calling all pooches!!

Join us for the 5th Annual Pooch Parade
Saturday, September 269d27eb95-7130-40c5-97bf-09668b8b2508
Congress Park, Saratoga Springs
(We Will Gather by the War Memorial)
10:00 registration opens and activities start
11:00 blessing and walk start
$5/pooch (people are free)Events will include a blessing, photographer, agility course,
‘pawdicures’ (nail clippings), a dog behaviorist, and more!

Help us raise awareness of the connection between pet and family violence and support Wellspring’s (formerly DVRC) Safe Pet Partnership Program.

The Safe Pet Partnership Program assists victims of relationship violence who remain in their abusive environments because they don’t want to leave their pets behind. We do this by providing a resource network of kennels, rescue groups, farmers, and pet “foster homes” for safe, temporary placement.

Proceeds of the Pooch Parade support the Safe Pet Partnership – providing safe and loving homes for pets of those who need time to heal.

Register online Here.

 For more information, or to learn about how you can participate in Safe Pet Partnership, please contact our office by phone (583-0280) or email: info@wellspringcares.org