Wellspring - Ending relationship and sexual abuse in Saratoga County

News & Events

NFL Game Changer

Jane McManus was an early and outspoken voice on the NFL's handling of domestic violence among their players. In the most recent case involving Greg Hardy, McManus, who has often been highly critical of the NFL's response praises their actions in bringing experts in the domestic violence field to the table as these decisions are made. These experts can quickly note the nuances that others may overlook, e.g., the injuries on Hardy's victim's neck indicating 'she had been choked'; domestic violence advocates know that strangulation is a key indicator of increased lethality risk.

McManus acknowledges there were several factors that resulted in the suspension 'being at the high end', including  the presence of guns and not one abusive incident, but in fact 4 different assaults. McManus notes that while the NFL has put in place strategies to help players address abusive behaviors and patterns, these are only effective if the player is receptive, " If Hardy really believes he did nothing wrong... it will be difficult to see how therapy will be effective." With this 10 game suspension, it's clear a new era has dawned for the NFL, "This decision puts the NFL on notice. If you want to take a risk on somebody like Greg Hardy, go ahead, but you may not have him for ten games... and that is a significantly larger risk."

It takes such immense talent, perseverance and dedication to become one of the elite athletes of the NFL... with this shift in the NFL's response they've upped their game-- players may need to add 'law abiding' and 'of good character' to the resume.


Volunteers are not paid --
not because they are worthless,
but because they are priceless. Erma Bombeck

Job opportunity:
Extensive training commitment
Sincere patience, compassion and resilience
You will be exposed to frequent stories of grief, despair, fear, violation and inhumanity, which you'll use as the basis for building a path to safety, healing and transcendence.

Nights and weekends and may often involve  being awakened from deepest slumber with the expectation of being immediately ready to provide 110% caring and focused response, sometimes to someone in crisis... sometimes to someone who is just finally ready to talk.
Other tasks may involve speaking to groups of people about topics they generally prefer to avoid thinking about.

Pay Scale:
Priceless-- with everything you do, you may help to save a family... or  a life.

Last year Wellspring volunteers provided 25,705 hours of service, though hotline, speakers bureau, ambassadors, general assistance and legal clinics. And that's not counting the contributions of our board leaders.

Truly, Wellspring could not provide 24/7 services to help survivors as well as prevention and outreach to all  communities in Saratoga County without the dedication of our volunteers. And yet they never want thanks.... in fact, they often thank us for the opportunity:

I am not sure who benefits more—me or the caller.
I could be that caller or it could be my daughter or son.  
I know the time I volunteer can really impact the lives of families. This is the best part of my week!

To all our volunteers... thank you for sharing in our mission.
Together we can end relationship and sexual abuse.


The miracle is this-
the more we share, the more we have. 
--Leonard Nimoy 

Weather or Wisdom?

We all talk about the weather, seemingly endlessly. Most of the time it's  banal commentary. But today I'm reminded of two women's stories about the weather that reflected far greater wisdom about life .

Not  too long ago I was at Saratoga Hospital with someone who was going through a very difficult time. A wise and compassionate nurse there asked her what at first seemed like an odd question for someone who was so clearly suffering, "What's your favorite season?" The patient replied with a season that couldn't be more different than the one we were in. The nurse said, "Over the years I've learned that no matter how things seem right now, the seasons always change and suddenly my favorite season comes again. We just have to hang on and soon this will seem like a distant memory." Yes, to everything there is a season. It's been a long winter, but it's over.

Was it yesterday or today? That magnificent day when we shrug off our sweaters and jackets and it feels like we can finally forget winter and luxuriate in the sun's radiant warmth. Each year on that glorious day, I remember with gratitude the words of a woman. She gave meaning to the work we do at Wellspring. So as my skin is warmed, my soul also basks in gratitude- for her words, for the staff and volunteers who are there day and night to help survivors like her, and for the hope that spring brings each year.


Rape… a Nation-Wide Hunting Ground

Like a cat toying with a mouse , John Stewart's "Fact~ish" comedy segment analyzed Rolling Stone's response to their journalistic fact-checking sloppiness in their explosive story about an alleged rape at the University of Virginia. Stewart feigned being amused, confused and bemused before his final pounce that laid bare the chilling truth of this whole debacle,
 "Campus rapes happen with shocking frequency; victims need support... 
but somehow in  a sea of verifiable assaults, 
you [Rolling Stone] managed to Where's Waldo 
the only rape story 
 that not only would fail to get your point across but 
set the cause back."
That's the biggest tragedy here; every future story about sexual assault  will live in the shadow of doubt cast by that Rolling Stone article.

As we read that story it was horrifying, but it wasn't unbelievable. Why not? Because rapes like that happen far too often on college campuses. Tonight I watched the screening of The Hunting Ground at the Spectrum Theater.  It's a look at the epidemic of sexual violence on college campuses and the injustice victims often face when they rely on their college for support and justice. These stories of victimization and transcendence are a place to start the discussion on how to change a system that's not working. 

The Hunting Ground is showing again Friday, April 10th at the Spectrum; make the time to see it. Our sons and daughters deserve an education without fear; let's figure out how we can give that to them.

1 in 5

Soroptimist International works to improve the lives of women and girls globally, nationally, and right here in our community. During Sexual Assault Awareness month they're advocating for policies to reduce  sexual violence on college campuses, afford survivors  support and access to justice  and increase accountability. With just a click of the mouse you can let Congress know that reducing sexual violence on college campuses is important to you.


Maggie, research shows that campus sexual assault is epidemic.
So what are colleges doing to address this problem?
Not enough.
Urge Congress to support the Campus Accountability and Safety Act, which will better protect students and increase accountability and transparency on college campuses.
Use your voice now to help women learn in the safe and supportive environment they deserve.Sign your name!
Thank you for your commitment to helping women and girls live their dreams!

What Would You Do?

Be an Ally

See Something- Say Something

Don't Do Nothing
Bystander intervention-- it's the hot  topic today but it's not a new issue. Way back in 1964 we began pondering why people choose to intervene or not when news headlines reported that 30+ neighbors looked on without intervening as Kitty Genovese was brutally stabbed to death.

It's a fact though, that one person noticing and taking action can deter an assault.  You don't have to be an authority figure; anyone can make a difference. In  this video a sexual assault could be prevented by some small action by: a best friend, a bartender, apartment mate or even a stranger. Seeing an evening on the town spiraling toward a probable rape is troubling,  but seeing the many  opportunities to intervene... and how simple it is to help out is inspiring.

Even more, watching a short video like this and thinking about it prepares us for how we could help someone if ever we are faced with that split second decision.

And of course there's one more person who wasn't identified who could prevent the rape... the rapist, by choosing not to commit the sexual assault. 

Men’s Issue? Women’s Issues? Who is Going to Solve it?

The closing line of an article in USA Today ends with a quote  from a former NFL athlete,
"Money cannot buy the women we love
everyday security, which men take for granted. So, it's going to take strong, accountable men to educate young boys
and influence other men
to deal with women respectfully, honorably and fairly at all times."

Unfortunately these inspirational words ring discordantly when contrasted with Darren Sharper's behavior. He accepted a plea bargain in connection with 9 rape charges against him in four states. We need to do more than pay lip service to respect and fairness.

Domestic violence and sexual assault have too long been seen as women's issues. In an engaging and  thought-provoking Ted Talk longtime advocate Jackson Katz challenges us to look at these  as men's issues and leadership issues.  Listen to the video --  what's your role in solving this? 

Here’s the map… and a someone to guide you too

I was just reading  Michael James' blog post Essential Survival Guide for Victims of Domestic Violence. This quick read is a comprehensive checklist for how to increase safety while in the abusive relationship, when leaving and afterwards--basically a roadmap to help you get from wherever you're starting to where you want to be safely.

What really struck me was the sheer number of factors a domestic violence survivor has to think about... and how each of  these steps can emotionally charged, and temporarily upend normal daily life. Michael ended with the assurance "never think you are alone" and gave resources to help a survivor. I'd say read the guide, and call your local domestic violence agency right away. The advocates there can help you think through your choices, your safety plan, and your feelings. Even with the map in front of you, it's comforting to have an experienced guide on your journey.

In Saratoga County, if  you or someone you know
is experiencing relationship or sexual abuse
call us M-F at (518)583-0280, or
our 24-hour hotline at (518)584-8188.

We can help.
All services are free and confidential. 

Saratoga Reads… Fiction that’s Real and Relevant Today

This year's Saratoga Reads book is The Round House. If you haven't read it yet, rush to the nearest  bookstore and buy a copy. It's a riveting, coming-of-age story that gives a glimpse into Native American life. I'm reminded of the book this week as this week tribes will be able to claim jurisdiction when non-native persons commit violence against women on tribal lands. Why is this so important?

Relationship and  sexual assault are serious problems on reservations.  Three out of five Native women have been assaulted in their lifetimes, and 34 percent will be raped, according to the National Congress of American Indians.

While any time is a great time to curl up with Louise Erdrich's suspenseful and profound exploration of manhood, honor, violation and recovery, the book is so relevant today as it gives  insights into why the new provisions in the Violence Against Women Act are so important to for Native American women.