Wellspring - Ending relationship and sexual abuse in Saratoga County

News & Events

The Child Molester’s Playbook

Oprah's interview with Matthew Sandusky about his adoptive father's repeated sexual victimization and oppressive control, exposes many of the typical red flags of abuse. That such a public figure, who was honored and revered for his work with at risk youth, could be a serial child molester over a 15 year period with multiple boys before his abuse came to light is tragic. Like many sexual predators, Jerry Sandusky cultivated a persona that afforded him respect and access to children. His power and protection came from this cultivated public image. In Matthew Sandusky's words,
"It is hard to for people to believe
that he could do these things."

That's all part of the process of grooming. It's a calculated pattern of building  trust, gaining access, establishing power, controlling secrecy, and eroding the child's credibility. 85% of child molesters are known and trusted by the family and have regular access to the child. How do they get away with it? How is it that 1 in 6 boys  is sexually abused during childhood? As Matthew Sandusky says,
"It comes down to children and victims
 not being believed."

Here's what you need to know about how predators groom their victims, so you can keep your child safe. 

One Blue String

When we think about sexual victimization we most often think about women. Imagine how difficult it is to be a man who struggles with the trauma of having been sexually violated. The sexual violation alone is devastating, but the isolation and stigma linger even years after the victimization ends . In fact one is 6 boys is a victim of sexual abuse before age 18. While there certainly have been many high profile cases in recent years that have brought this issue more attention (scores of allegations of clergy sexual abuse, and Jerry Sandusky as notable examples) the public remains basically unaware of this issue.

The next time you're watching  a group of boys on the playground or a Little League team, count how many kids you see. Then think about that statistic- 1 in 6. The juxtaposition of watching innocent kids play and thinking that 1 in 6 will have his innocence and trust in the world shattered is chilling.

But musicians are doing something to increase awareness and reduce stigma. One Blue String hopes to build a community of encouragement and hope for men and their loved ones...and they're inviting you join them. Here's how to get the kit so you and your guitar can spread the word.

If you're concerned for a child who may have experienced sexual abuse, the Saratoga Center for the Family specializes in helping children and families recover from the effects of abuse, neglect and trauma. Their highly trained and compassionate staff can help.

Support DVRC at the Northshire Bookstore Saratoga’s 1 Year Anniversary

Support DVRC at the Northshire Bookstore Saratoga’s 1 Year Anniversary

On August 5 from 12 – 7, the Northshire Bookstore will be celebrating its 1-Year Anniversary in Saratoga Springs.  As part of their anniversary, and commitment to the Saratoga Community, the Store will raffle several gift baskets, with proceeds benefiting the Franklin Community Center, Shelters of Saratoga, and DVRC.  To learn more, visit the Northshire website, or visit their Facebook Page.

Charity Golf Tournament to Benefit DVRC

Charity Golf Tournament to Benefit DVRC

There will be a charity golf tournament to benefit DVRC on Friday, August 15 at the Fairways of Halfmoon.  The tournament will be a best ball scramble, with a 9:00 am tee off.  $100/Foursome includes lunch at the turn, frosty beverages, raffles and dinner.  For more information, please contact Howard Connors at Howard1.Connors@momentive.com, or 518-233-2372

In Her Shoes – July 28

On Monday July 28 form 6-8 PM. DVRC will be hosting ‘In Their Shoes,’ a program based on the real-life experiences of people with abusive partners.  Over a two hour period, attendees participate in a simulation that conveys the struggles of someone experiencing an abusive relationship, and the role of a community in addressing this issue.
Space for this program is limited to 15, with first preference given to DVRC Board Members and Volunteers on a first come, first serve basis.  If you’d like to participate, please email our Prevention Coordinator, Jamie Gandron.  Learn more about the program Here.

Prevention Education in the Community

Throughout the month of June DVRC partnered with local school districts to provide prevention education concerning date and acquaintance rape.  Over the span of several weeks, DVRC staff spent several hours each with over 200 high school students in Ballston Spa and South Glens Falls to present the ‘Rape or Regret’ program.   The program, produced by the Ballston Area Community Allies, presents in a very realistic way, how teenage sexual assault can happen.   Viewers hear testimony of Tonya (the complainant), Ryan (the defendant), their attorneys, and many witnesses as the case unfolds.  Following the showing, DVRC staff work with the viewers to help them better understand sexual assault and learn some prevention strategies.  Feedback from recent viewers: “it was very realistic” and “I liked how it took a situation that could very easily happen to kids our age and showed a very real consequence”.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, 44% of sexual assaults happen to women under the age of 18, 80% occur when a woman is under the age of 30, and ages 12 -34 are at the highest risk.

Rape or Regret is a program offered by DVRC to groups in the Saratoga County Community.  If you are interested in learning more, or potentially hosting a showing and discussion, please contact us at 518-583-0280.

Click below to view a preview of the film.


Consent… Say It or Sing It… but Get It

Consent...we need to give the word more attention. Aretha took a word and gave it some great lyrics and an unforgettable melody... and made it memorable R-E-S-P-E-C-T. I wish someone would do the same for 'CONSENT'.

Some rapists quite knowingly sexually attack a victim against their will. Consent isn't even a consideration. But many sexual assaults aren't such blatant attacks. Instead they center on the issue of consent. Was one individual too incapacitated to give consent? Did she (or he) consent to certain acts, but not give consent to proceed further?  Was one individual not of an age to consent to sex?

You'd be surprised how often there's miscommunications... or no communications... about consent. Colleges have policies and trainings for students on obtaining consent as part of orientation... some even require partners to obtain written consent before sex. How is something that seems so basic so problematic?

 Today I watched a parenting video that talks about how even good parents can unwittingly teach their kids that consent isn't important. From simple things like tickling your kid even as they say no to expecting kids to hug relatives at family gatherings, in small ways we undermine their understanding of consent. Darcy Conway gives parents tips to encourage their children to be comfortable with saying no or yes... because practicing those skills when they're little will make giving consent more familiar when they're teens.

If you didn't get this message when you were 5 it's not too late. Here's a video of a young lad, with some entertaining and wise words about sex and consent. I love some of his words of wisdom, but what's even more fun is his honest engaging manner (so I wonder if he can sing?):

"Ask for consent.It kinda ruins the flow 
but it's the right thing to do"

"Just because someone says yes the first time 
doesn't automatically make it yes every time"

"Everybody always has a choice" 

Tuesday is Good News Day

I named this blog Shine a Light for 2 reasons: 1) to bring more awareness of the issues of relationship and sexual abuse, bringing them out of the shadows and into the light, and 2) to have a forum for the  positive things being done to create social change.

This weekend I was pondering what to post about this coming week, and said to my family, "I can't think of anything current to write about next week. My son said. "Seeing that you write about rape and domestic violence, it's a good thing  when you run out of things to write about, right?" A sage observation, that reminded me of the second goal of the blog-- shining a light  on the positive. I've often wished that the news was 50% of what we typically see on the news (the bad stuff)  and 50% about the good works being done. Why? Because I think when we're inundated with negative messages we become desensitized. Conversely, I also feel that if we were exposed more to all  the wonderful caring acts that are being doe very day we'd be  inspired to do good.

So in that light, I'm declaring Tuesday as Good News Day. So this week,  here's  a fun video of a Chicago  college student  who gives strangers' days a lift with 'drive by compliments'. And if you're thinking about how you might use compliments or praise to inspire, here's some info from  research  studies on how to use praise effectively with your kids (as well as what doesn't work  so well.) I found the cultural differences in valuing praise very interesting.

Your kid does this 3,339 times a month…

Nancy Lubin believes "it might be the only way to communicate with a kid."

Technology can change the way we interact with the world. I remember having a pen pal as a kid. I'd send her a letter and wait  weeks for a reply. At first, each day after school I'd  go to the mailbox expectantly, later I'd think about her once in a while, then just when I'd lost interest I'd get a letter out of the blue that started out, "Sorry it's taken me so long to write."  and went on telling me about her 3 weeks at horseback riding camp, the boring family vacation, and a new puppy (she'd send pictures of him after they finished the 36 exposure roll of film in the camera and had it developed. About 6 weeks later,  I'd start a letter back with the words "Sorry it's taken so long..."

Today my kid would send a friend a pic from her phone as she was jumping hurdles on her horse and a video of her puppy trying to climb the stairs to her bedroom that first night in his new home- heck they might even Skype and let the pups have an adorable bark fest.

Technology has opened up new ways of  finding information and communicating. Sometimes we complain about it, "Everyone in the house is plugged into some device.", but  the reason we use these devices is they work  for us. Here's one way that texting has opened up new opportunities for youth to get help with serious issues affecting them. It also can give us real  time data  on these issues so we  can more effectively respond. That phone in your back pocket is a really powerful tool.