Wellspring - Ending relationship and sexual abuse in Saratoga County


News & Events

What Choices Would You Make?

On Monday July 28 DVRC hosted another of our powerful ‘In Her Shoes’ program. Almost a dozen participants, including judges, lawyers, and local community leaders, spent several hours at the DVRC Office, facing the difficult decisions someone experiencing an abusive relationship must make, as well as the ramifications of those decisions.  The program gave the participants a glimpse into the struggles of someone experiencing an abusive relationship, and the role of a community in addressing this issue.

The scenarios in In Her Shoes are based on true stories―the real-life experiences of women with abusive partners. At DVRC we are aware that these same experiences also happen to men although they are not featured in the program.  In Her Shoes is a simulation to help participants understand, in a very compressed period of time, the ups and downs that victims of domestic violence experience over the course of many years.

The goals of the program are to increase awareness of the struggles that victims with abusive partners face; to illustrate that domestic violence is a community tragedy, not a private problem; to show that we all have a role in the movement to end domestic violence. Many social workers, politicians, and police are already familiar with their role. In Her Shoes illustrates that there’s a role, as well, for office workers, hairdressers, church-goers, and relatives, in understanding and solving this issue. We hope the program will encourage participants to think creatively about the ways we can work to end domestic violence.

Victims of domestic violence constantly try to keep safe, but many institutions, systems and people make it difficult. By the end of the program we hope that everyone who attends will have a better understanding of the struggle that victims face daily and will join us in our mission to end domestic violence in Saratoga County.

 

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Study This Before Heading to College

College begins in just a few week. While it's not time to hit the books yet, here's a few facts to study before school starts:
Students experience some of the highest rates of sexual assault
  • Between 20% and 25% of women will experience a completed and/or attempted rape during their college career. US Dep't  of Justice
  • College freshmen and sophomore are at greater risk of  sexual assault. 84% of the women who reported sexually coercive experiences  the incident occurred during their first four semesters on campus (An Examination of Sexual Violence Against College Women)
  • 90% of women know the person who sexually assaulted or raped them. US Dep't  of Justice 2000
  • 90% of acquaintance rapes involve alcohol (National Collegiate Date and Acquaintance Rape Statistics)
  • The majority of rapes occur in residences.

The key things to remember:
  • Sexual assault is very prevalent in college.
  • The victim usually knows the assailant.
  • Alcohol is often a key factor.
  • If someone is too intoxicated to give consent... it's rape.
  • If you have been sexually assaulted, you are not alone and you are not to blame. There is help both on campus and through your local rape crisis agency.
If you or someone you know is raped:
  • The decisions are yours to make:
    • You do not have to report to law enforcement to get help.
    • You can have a sexual assault forensic exam (SAFE exam) to collect the evidence now, but don't have to make  any decisions about reporting. The evidence will be kept safe while you think about your decision.
    • To preserve the evidence, avoid showering, urinating, brushing you teeth, eating or drinking.
You are not to blame for the assault.
A rape crisis advocate can help you to understand your options and begin the healing process.


In Saratoga County call
DVRC's 24 hour hotline at
518-584-8188.



    I’m Glad They Made the Connection

    The Princeton Review listed Syracuse University as the nation's #1 party school this year. Every year these decidedly unscientific rankings cause a buzz of attention, some welcome, and some cringe-worthy. These rankings can be a momentary PR nightmare, but can also be the impetus for  taking a serious look at  college  life beyond academics.


    An editorial in response to Syracuse's ignominious recognition, notes Chancellor Syverud's admonition to faculty and staff to take seriously activities that derail student success, with high risk alcohol and drug use being the priority concern. Even more importantly, the editorial draws the link between alcohol us and sexual victimization,
    "It would be easier to laugh off the party school ranking
    if not for another troubling crosscurrent on U.S. campuses -
    the issue of how colleges and universities handle reports of sexual assault.
    A White House task force recently said
    one in five women are sexually abused while at college,
    and that the abuse often occurs while women were incapacitated due to alcohol or drug use.
    While excessive drinking is never an excuse
    for perpetrator to commit rape
    or a reason to blame a victim of rape
    - no always means no --
     its role in sexual assault cannot be ignored."

    I'm glad they're taking this conversation to a higher plateau than whether the school is a party school to making the connection of a culture of alcohol excess and it link to sexual victimization. It's an issue that's increasingly of concern on college campuses. The summer vacation is winding to an end and many families are preparing to pack the car and take their son or daughter to college (some for the first time away from home), so this week's blog posts will focus on issues relating to college, safety and campus sexual assault. With all the new experiences college affords, sexual assault shouldn't be one. Before you pack up the car packing up the car, set aside time to have an open and honest talk about how to stay safe.

    I’m Glad They Made the Connection

    The Princeton Review listed Syracuse University as the nation's #1 party school this year. Every year these decidedly unscientific rankings cause a buzz of attention, some welcome, and some cringe-worthy. These rankings can be a momentary PR nightmare, but can also be the impetus for  taking a serious look at  college  life beyond academics.


    An editorial in response to Syracuse's ignominious recognition, notes Chancellor Syverud's admonition to faculty and staff to take seriously activities that derail student success, with high risk alcohol and drug use being the priority concern. Even more importantly, the editorial draws the link between alcohol us and sexual victimization,
    "It would be easier to laugh off the party school ranking
    if not for another troubling crosscurrent on U.S. campuses -
    the issue of how colleges and universities handle reports of sexual assault.
    A White House task force recently said
    one in five women are sexually abused while at college,
    and that the abuse often occurs while women were incapacitated due to alcohol or drug use.
    While excessive drinking is never an excuse
    for perpetrator to commit rape
    or a reason to blame a victim of rape
    - no always means no --
     its role in sexual assault cannot be ignored."

    I'm glad they're taking this conversation to a higher plateau than whether the school is a party school to making the connection of a culture of alcohol excess and it link to sexual victimization. It's an issue that's increasingly of concern on college campuses. The summer vacation is winding to an end and many families are preparing to pack the car and take their son or daughter to college (some for the first time away from home), so this week's blog posts will focus on issues relating to college, safety and campus sexual assault. With all the new experiences college affords, sexual assault shouldn't be one. Before you pack up the car packing up the car, set aside time to have an open and honest talk about how to stay safe.

    Their Courage Helps Us Understand

    Tuesday is Good News Day


    Think quickly. Who do you know who  has experienced domestic violence or dating violence?

    You may think of a friend or relative. Perhaps you yourself have been (or are in) and abusive relationship. But many people will say, "I don't know anyone who has been a victim of  domestic violence.". For most, if not all of these folks, I think they do, and just don't know it.

    Many survivors of domestic violence, don't talk about it when they're in it... or when it's over.  So if they aren't telling us, how do we recognize them?   Might I suggest we look for :
    • someone who is a confident, intelligent college-educated beauty pageant winner, or perhaps
    • a young woman who is a talented professional singer, or
    • a charismatic, articulate CNN news anchor?
    I'd like to recognize the courage of three women who have told  their stories of being abused by a partner. I know how hard it is to tell anyone, even in hushed privacy, what it's like to be victimized by someone you  love. Yet these women have told their stories publicly so that we all can understand domestic violence... so that other women will recognize abuse and seek help... so that they can put a face on the social issue of domestic violence.

    So I'd like to applaud:

    Kira Kazantsev, 2014 Miss New York State who has tirelessly spoken out to raise awareness of domestic violence during her participation in the Miss America pageant, speaking out about the isolation, confusion and self-blame when she realized she was in an abusive relationship,
     " In college, I started dating a person who seemed great.  
    He made me feel special. 
    But six months later, when I looked around, I was isolated
    from my friends and family and he had become my whole world."


    Jasmine Villegas whose music video 'Didn't Mean It' reenacts  the violent physical and psychological abuse she  experienced in a dating relationship,
    "Fortunately for me, I was able to get out relatively early,
     and now I want to let other women know that
    you don’t have to feel ashamed or embarrassed
     about getting help"



    Carol Costello, who in speaking about  the Ray Rice incident, told about a college boyfriend who in "a jealous rage threw me against the wall knocking me out.
     I always thought I was a physically strong woman,
    but I could not defend myself against a man who outweighed me by 70 pounds."


    It's difficult to overcome the stigma, self-blame and humiliation of being abused by a romantic partner, but these three women have had the courage to speak out. Domestic violence is a crime that happens behind closed doors; with their courage we are bringing the issue out of the shadows.
    

    Singing It with Courage and Confidence

    The song title is Didn't Mean It but singer Jasmine Villega means every word she sings.

    You might think it's an odd choice for an entertainer to make a music video in which she's slapped, beaten and dragged, pleading for mercy. And you'd be even more surprised when she tells you this is her story. Now that's courage!

    Jasmine Villegas's message at the start of her music video offers hope to other young women who are experiencing dating violence, "Never feel embarrassed or ashamed of any trials you have endured. Grow from it and never look back. You are not alone."

    And those last words are so true. In fact, one in three teens is a victim of dating violence, but only about 1/3 of those teens ever report it. And, without support to overcome the abuse,  that experience can affect their future. According to the Center for Disease Control, "About 1 in 5 women and nearly 1 in 7 men who ever experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner first experienced some form of partner violence between 11 and 17 years of age."

    Learn how to recognize an abusive relationship at loveisrespect.org. They've got some great tools  like  a quick discussion on how to tell if those frequent text messages are about Checking In or Checking Up? and a quick quiz to see if you've been a good partner or perhaps have shown some abusive behaviors... and if so, what to do about it


    Another Tragic Homicide in Saratoga County

    On Thursday, Charles Wilkinson was indicted for the  death of his 65 year old wife.  Sadly, Saratoga County has seen too many domestic  homicides in  in recent years. Often after such a tragedy, friends, neighbors and family are shocked that the person they wave to  every morning could commit such violence against a partner.

    Increasingly, we're viewing  domestic violence not as a private matter to be politely ignored, but as something we all need to be concerned about. Domestic violence  impacts not  only the victim, but our workplaces, our neighborhoods, and the people in our lives. If  you're  concerned  about someone who may be  experiencing relationship violence, talk to them, It's a hard conversation to start, but your caring words may save their life.


    Thank You For Caring and Having the Courage to Start a Conversation!
    Starting a conversation is difficult, but if you think someone is in trouble, unsafe, being controlled, abused, or dominated, then speaking up is the right thing to do.

    What is Domestic Violence?
    Domestic Violence is a pattern of behavior used by one person in an intimate relationship to control another through one of the following:
    • emotional abuse/controlling behavior
    • verbal abuse
    • psychological abuse
    • sexual control or abuse
    • threatening behaviors
    • economic abuse
    • physical violence
    What are the Signs of Domestic Violence?
    • Is he/she nervous, jumpy, and walking on eggshells?
    • Does he/she seem afraid of their partner or overly anxious to please their partner?
    • Has he/she stopped seeing friends or family, doing the things they enjoy?
    • Has he/she stopped making decisions – leavings them all up to their partner?
    • Does he/she stay in constant contact with their partner throughout the day?
    • Has he/she become anxious or depressed, unusually quiet, and/or lost their confidence?
    • At work, is he/she often tardy, or miss work, get contacted all day by their partner, or have poor concentration?
    • Does he/she have any visible signs – bruises, broken bones, scratches, cuts, bite marks, other injuries (often with unlikely explanations)?
    Why People Stay in Abusive Relationships:
    Some of these reasons include:
    • Belief  that the abuser will change, that the abuse is their fault or that it is normal.
    • Fear of loneliness, economic hardship, losing custody of children or fear for safety.
    • Isolation from family, friends, community may leave the victim with no self esteem and/or feeling that she/he has no where to go.
    • Love and the desire to keep family together.
    How you can start the conversation:
    • Educate yourself about domestic violence – review DVRC’s website; call DVRC and talk with an advocate
    • Tell them you care about them and are concerned about them
    • Ask if they are safe
    • Refer them to DVRC
    • Do NOT judge their situation and their choices, blame them, give them advice or tell them what to do – it’s their choice.
      If you or someone you know is experiencing relationship abuse, call now… to talk about what is happening… to find out your options… to develop a safety plan. We can help.
      Domestic Violence and Rape Crisis Services
      of Saratoga County
      All services are free and confidential
      24-hour hotline 518-584-8188




    Ray Rice Called It By Name- Domestic Violence

    If nothing else the Ray Rice incident has gotten Americans talking about domestic violence. Today, as Rice held a press conference to talk about what her called the "worst mistake of his life", what he reports was a one time incident "that was inexcusable". He states that after he works on his own response, he'd like to become involved in helping others to end violence of all kinds.


    ESPN's Jane McManus has been outspoken about this incident and the NFL's response. When asked to comment  on Rice's press conference, her responses were cautious but hopeful, first citing that just by using the words domestic violence Rice "understands what he did in a bigger context." While she noted that the words are promising, waiting to see that Rice's actions in future months and years will show how sincere he is.


    McManus noted that the incident might even be a catalyst for greater change as, "the NFL and Ray Rice have tried to understand this issue and the dynamics of domestic violence."  She envisioned that the incident and public reaction might even result in changes to the Code of Conduct as well as disciplinary standards for acts of domestic violence.


    Let's hope and let's keep talking about how we can recognize relationship abuse and work together to end it.



    It’s not all bad news

    Tuesday is Good News Day
    
    When writing about current events related to relationship and sexual violence it's easy to  become disheartened; campus rapes, domestic homicides... it can all seem endless. Literally each day new clients walk through our door, telling their stories of abuse. With funding from the Violence Against Women  Act intimate partner violence has decreased 67%  from 1993-2010 and there are more services to assist victims. More victims are reporting domestic and sexual violence to police, and reports to police are resulting in more arrests. There's also a change in society's tolerance about relationship and sexual abuse; news articles about sexual assault in the military, campus response to rape and social commentary when a celebrity commits a domestic assault  capture these changing attitudes.

    Statistics indicate global violence attributed to war are also declining.There's no question that there's injustice, suffering, and violence...and that we need to work hard to address these issues locally and globally. But it's equally important to stop now and again to look at the progress we've made.

    And if you're looking to carry on with these positive thoughts tomorrow too, here's a chance to join others in a Moment of Peace

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