Wellspring - Ending relationship and sexual abuse in Saratoga County


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Another Everyday Hero… by Way of Potato Skins

Tuesday is a great day for a feel good story.  

I loved this story about how one restaurant owner reacted to a customer's comment that his waitresses should show more skin. He was offended, but he didn't just gripe about it or berate the person who posted the comment. 

He did something to make a strong and memorable statement about such flippant sexism... that it's not anonymous-- it affects the women in our lives, our sisters, wives, daughters and mothers.  And through his creative response to the comment he drew the connection between sexism and sexual violence. What I most love about the story is his response was done with such humor that it got its message across in a way that builds bridges rather than creating divides.

Pete Seeger said "I think the world will be saved by millions of small things." I agree with him. Hats off to one more everyday hero.

And if reading this post has your tummy growling, here's a link to some creative potato skin recipes.

Another Everyday Hero… by Way of Potato Skins

Tuesday is a great day for a feel good story.  

I loved this story about how one restaurant owner reacted to a customer's comment that his waitresses should show more skin. He was offended, but he didn't just gripe about it or berate the person who posted the comment. 

He did something to make a strong and memorable statement about such flippant sexism... that it's not anonymous-- it affects the women in our lives, our sisters, wives, daughters and mothers.  And through his creative response to the comment he drew the connection between sexism and sexual violence. What I most love about the story is his response was done with such humor that it got its message across in a way that builds bridges rather than creating divides.

Pete Seeger said "I think the world will be saved by millions of small things." I agree with him. Hats off to one more everyday hero.

And if reading this post has your tummy growling, here's a link to some creative potato skin recipes.

Why Would Someone Feel Guilty if it Wasn’t Their Fault?

Sexual assault survivors often blame themselves ,at least in part, for the rape. That blame can keep them from reporting the crime to police, can prevent them from telling anyone, and can make them question all their relationships. They continue to question themselves no matter how much a friend or an advocate tells them, "It doesn't matter that you were _______  (drinking, out late, wearing a short skirt, flirting... you fill in the relevant words), you are not to blame for the rape." 


From the outside people may question why a victim would feel guilty if (s)he wasn't at least partially responsible. To them self-blame is may indicate that this wasn't  a sexual assault at all, or even that the victim is making up the story. Yet self-blame, guilt, and doubt are all totally normal and expected responses to sexual victimization.


For a new perspective on  why these responses are actually adaptive (*at least in the short-term) check out this Upworthy doodle by psychologist Nina Burrowes. She draws cartoons that help people to understand sexual abuse and recover. Yes, there are good reasons why  victims blame themselves... it helps them recover. 


If  you or someone you care about
has experienced relationship or sexual abuse, there is help.
You Are Not Alone.

DVRC can help; call us at 518-583-0280 for an appointment
or call the 24/7 hotline at 518-584-8188

What do you wish was NO MORE?

Blaming...ignorance... excuses... bystanding?


Millions of people have joined the NO MORE movement  to end relationship and sexual abuse. Watch this video  to see the world they envision. It can happen if we work together.


Why should I care?

The next time you’re in a room with 6 people, think about this:
  • 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men experience violence from their partners in their lifetimes.
  • 1 in 3 teens experience sexual or physical abuse or threats from a boyfriend or girlfriend in one year.
  • 1 in 5 women are survivors of rape.
  • 1 in 2 women and 1 in 5 men have experienced some form of sexual victimization in their lives.
  • 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men were sexually abused before the age of 18.
These are not numbers. They’re our mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, children, co-workers and friends. They’re the person you confide in most at work, the guy you play basketball with, the people in your book club, your poker buddy, your teenager’s best friend – or your teen, herself. The silence and shame must end for good.

There’s still so much to be done…by everyday heroes

As we're approaching Independence Day, I find myself  reflecting on how this country began. People who wanted a better world with freedom and equality took a risk and came to a strange land. Those leaders shared their vision with others and took a very public stand against oppression.

In every era in history there are examples of misuse of power, inhumanity, and greed... but there are also always individuals who envision a better tomorrow and work to make the world better. Sometimes they are famous leaders... far more often they're ordinary people making a difference in their community, influencing those they connect with in their day-to-day lives.

I just watched a video of high school boys who took a class on feminism. They talk  about how  feminism isn't just about women's rights and how because of the class they now view the world through a different lens and are committed to making a difference. I love what one 12th grader said at 3:26, "I'm not afraid to change my silence into action." Could any inspirational leader have been a more eloquent role model? So as you're  looking to the skies dazzled by the brilliant explosions of color, think  about the everyday heroes you know who also inspire us with their passion, vision and example.






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College Rape… What to Do?

Lately, the media has been abuzz about the issue of sexual assault on college campuses. And the opinions run the gamut, from:
  •  George Will's article lamenting that college campuses have created a culture where by educating  students to the subtle nuances of 'micro-aggressions',  they've created a culture "where victimhood [is]a coveted status that confers privileges, [and]victims proliferate." , to
  • Lisa Sendrow, whose rape experience Will belittled in his article, who claims that it's 'grotesque' opinions like those expressed by Will  that prevent victims from disclosing, to
  • Ross Douthat's NY Times article suggesting that our focus on after the assault judgments is faulty; why not try to change the college culture that contributes to binge drinking and sexual licentiousness...even though, he asserts, "we're not ready for that", to
  • James Marsh who sidesteps the emotional rollercoaster of other opinion  articles and provides  a legal interpretation about consent that , "Why College Drunk Sex = Rape"
While the opinions are dizzying, one thing is clear. Sexual violence is a significant issue on college campuses across the country. Some  folks think that false reporting of sexual assault is rampant, but studies show that the rate of false reports to police is about 2%... consistent with false reports of other crimes.  

Campus sexual violence affects freshmen and sophomores disproportionately,  84% of women experiencing sexually coercive experiences had these incidents during their first four semesters on campus. There's even a name for the period between freshman orientation and Thanksgiivng  break- the Red Zone- because of the heightened risk of sexual assault in the first months of college life. At freshman orientation colleges address the issue (some schools even recommend that each party signs a mutual consent agreement prior to sex.) Yet one in four college women are sexually assaulted. The vast majority, 84%, of college rape victims know their assailant. We need to do more. Not just to provide services for victims or to educate students about rape... but to address the cultural and environmental factors that contribute to sexual violence on campuses... so we can focus on learning.

College Rape… What to Do?

Lately, the media has been abuzz about the issue of sexual assault on college campuses. And the opinions run the gamut, from:
  •  George Will's article lamenting that college campuses have created a culture where by educating  students to the subtle nuances of 'micro-aggressions',  they've created a culture "where victimhood [is]a coveted status that confers privileges, [and]victims proliferate." , to
  • Lisa Sendrow, whose rape experience Will belittled in his article, who claims that it's 'grotesque' opinions like those expressed by Will  that prevent victims from disclosing, to
  • Ross Douthat's NY Times article suggesting that our focus on after the assault judgments is faulty; why not try to change the college culture that contributes to binge drinking and sexual licentiousness...even though, he asserts, "we're not ready for that", to
  • James Marsh who sidesteps the emotional rollercoaster of other opinion  articles and provides  a legal interpretation about consent that , "Why College Drunk Sex = Rape"
While the opinions are dizzying, one thing is clear. Sexual violence is a significant issue on college campuses across the country. Some  folks think that false reporting of sexual assault is rampant, but studies show that the rate of false reports to police is about 2%... consistent with false reports of other crimes.  

Campus sexual violence affects freshmen and sophomores disproportionately,  84% of women experiencing sexually coercive experiences had these incidents during their first four semesters on campus. There's even a name for the period between freshman orientation and Thanksgiivng  break- the Red Zone- because of the heightened risk of sexual assault in the first months of college life. At freshman orientation colleges address the issue (some schools even recommend that each party signs a mutual consent agreement prior to sex.) Yet one in four college women are sexually assaulted. The vast majority, 84%, of college rape victims know their assailant. We need to do more. Not just to provide services for victims or to educate students about rape... but to address the cultural and environmental factors that contribute to sexual violence on campuses... so we can focus on learning.

Run, Don’t Walk, From This Relationship


Today on Upworthy I saw a quick video called 'If You're Dating Someone and Get this Phone Call- Run- Don't Walk Away'.  It shows typical dynamics of power and control and how many can play out in just a 47 second conversation. People are often perplexed by how folks end up in abusive relationships... and why they stay. The relationships don't start out abusive. Often the abuser initially seems caring and thoughtful. I'm struck by how similar some of the early red flags of abuse are to the early characteristics of love; the often-hard-to distinguish differences are degree, choice and intent:

  • social isolation- It's natural at the start of a relationship to want to spend as much time together as possible. Sometimes that means less time with friends and family. But when your partner is constantly checking up on where you go and who you're with, or preventing you from spending time with others, "Your sister is just jealous of what we've got, stay away from her"-  that's control.
  • possessiveness- This can start out as something that feels wonderful. "You're so beautiful/handsome that you turn heads when you walk into the  room." But in time this compliment can turn to control. "Why were you looking at that guy (or girl)? Were you flirting with them?"... and then to "I know you're cheating on me."
  • constantly checking up on their partner- At first this seems sweet. He (she) calls frequently throughout the day, "I was just thinking of you and wanted to say hi" to "so what are you doing?"... but in time progresses to, "Where are you, why are you there, who are you with?"
These changes can be so subtle and insidious that it's hard recognize them at first. For a neat look at an abusive relationship played  in reverse, check out this video 'Catch Domestic Violence Early', made for DVRC by Skidmore students. By showing us the abuse first and then rewinding the relationship back we can more easily identify see seemingly harmless moments in the courtship that were early red flags of a pattern of power and control.

DWI… It’s Not What You’d Expect

Today I read an  NBC report that surprised me. A recent study indicates that drinking may cause 1 in 10 deaths among working age people. One in ten. Of course alcohol-related auto accidents come to mind as a cause of death. And the damage to the bodies of chronic alcoholics who just can't overcome the addiction. But the study suggests that even folks who aren't addicted, but who binge drink, may be at higher risk... that 5 or more drinks for men and 4  for women. The researchers indicate alcohol related deaths are the 3rd leading cause of preventable death. And click here to find out what folks living in the western mountain states should know.

On a more positive note, teen drinking and driving is down 54% since 1991 Today's kids have been raised with strong messages about the dangers of drinking and driving.  But there's a new danger, and we haven't succeeded yet in getting this message across to teens...or adults. It's texting while driving and it was a factor in almost 1 in four accidents in 2011. Worse yet, 15% of kids have watched their parents texting and driving. Check out this great infographic to learn more about texting and driving...and a new definition of DWI.

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