Wellspring - Ending relationship and sexual abuse in Saratoga County


News & Events

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

Knocked Out By a Pro Football Player

I've been reading the recent press about  the NFL's response to a brutal domestic violence incident  Ray Rice committed against his then fiancée, now wife. Surveillance video shows him dragging her, seemingly unconscious, out of an elevator. There's  a positive note (miniscule but not insignificant); his violent and criminal conduct in his personal life was deemed a violation of the NFL's personal conduct policy (decades ago this would have been brushed aside as a private matter.)


I usually am reticent to read comments after articles, but this time I think the observations really key into some core issues related to domestic violence. Jane McManus commented, "Last month I interviewed NFL head of HR. He  told me we simply don't tolerate instances of domestic violence."  Sounds like a solid organization values right? But numerous people observed that their actions don't seem to uphold that value.


 Josh Gordon facing a year long suspension for smoking pot.
Ray Rice gets 2 games for beating up his wife. Unreal.
Michael David Smith
 
Apparently you get suspended longer in the NFL
 for beating a dog than beating a woman.
Jane McManus
Knock a woman unconscious; 2 game suspension.
Smoke marihjuana: 4 game suspension.
Alicia Jessop


Even though we longer tacitly condone domestic violence with the words, 'that's a private matter', I do think when we hear the words 'domestic violence' we still unconsciously reclassify these assaults as less criminal. Punching someone in the face and knocking them unconscious is a brutal act of violence; the brutality is in no way diminished by the fact that this is someone you love.


I wonder if NFL Commish would have been so lenient
 if it had been his daughter or sister
laying unconscious outside that elevator.
Jim Trotter

While many, echo Paul Kuharsky 's sentiments that the  NFL's response as appallingly inadequate,
"Rice suspension is insufficient
 and sends a terrible message about violence against women
 and where it stands in the NFL pecking order of trouble," 

but the NFL is not alone in this messaging.  In fact an  insightful comment by ESPN's Mike Sando, has been haunting me since I read it,
"The NFL's 2 game suspension of Ray Rice
is harsher than the penalty society leveled against him
in the domestic violence case."

Our justice system enabled him to avoid standing trail if he agreed to a diversion program. Perhaps that's  the real crime.

 







Knocked Out By a Pro Football Player

I've been reading the recent press about  the NFL's response to a brutal domestic violence incident  Ray Rice committed against his then fiancée, now wife. Surveillance video shows him dragging her, seemingly unconscious, out of an elevator. There's  a positive note (miniscule but not insignificant); his violent and criminal conduct in his personal life was deemed a violation of the NFL's personal conduct policy (decades ago this would have been brushed aside as a private matter.)


I usually am reticent to read comments after articles, but this time I think the observations really key into some core issues related to domestic violence. Jane McManus commented, "Last month I interviewed NFL head of HR. He  told me we simply don't tolerate instances of domestic violence."  Sounds like a solid organization values right? But numerous people observed that their actions don't seem to uphold that value.


 Josh Gordon facing a year long suspension for smoking pot.
Ray Rice gets 2 games for beating up his wife. Unreal.
Michael David Smith
 
Apparently you get suspended longer in the NFL
 for beating a dog than beating a woman.
Jane McManus
Knock a woman unconscious; 2 game suspension.
Smoke marihjuana: 4 game suspension.
Alicia Jessop


Even though we longer tacitly condone domestic violence with the words, 'that's a private matter', I do think when we hear the words 'domestic violence' we still unconsciously reclassify these assaults as less criminal. Punching someone in the face and knocking them unconscious is a brutal act of violence; the brutality is in no way diminished by the fact that this is someone you love.


I wonder if NFL Commish would have been so lenient
 if it had been his daughter or sister
laying unconscious outside that elevator.
Jim Trotter

While many, echo Paul Kuharsky 's sentiments that the  NFL's response as appallingly inadequate,
"Rice suspension is insufficient
 and sends a terrible message about violence against women
 and where it stands in the NFL pecking order of trouble," 

but the NFL is not alone in this messaging.  In fact an  insightful comment by ESPN's Mike Sando, has been haunting me since I read it,
"The NFL's 2 game suspension of Ray Rice
is harsher than the penalty society leveled against him
in the domestic violence case."

Our justice system enabled him to avoid standing trail if he agreed to a diversion program. Perhaps that's  the real crime.

 








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