Wellspring - Ending relationship and sexual abuse in Saratoga County


News & Events

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.

Homeless Kids in Saratoga County

Saratoga County's reputation is a bit like Lake Wobegon, an idyllic setting where there's no crime, no want, the problems are minor and all the children are above average. It's not a place you expect to see homelessness...and definitely not homeless families. In some ways this couldn't be more true- we don't see it. This isn't a community with  highly visible street homelessness. We don't have tent cities or folks sleeping on subway grates. But we do have homelessness.


In today's Times Union I was reading an article about local homeless families. Of course the highest concentration of homeless tends to be in urban areas like Albany, but *surprise* Ballston Spa also had 184 homeless children in 2012-3 according to the article. Many homeless families in local communities are living 'doubled up, or are 'couch surfing' ,i.e., moving from one temporary place to the next without a permanent home. Other families may have exhausted all their options and are staying in motels with assistance from the Department of Social Services. Often a whole family  is living for weeks or even months at a time in a single motel room without kitchen  facilities. Think about that. Imagine your  whole family spending months in a cramped motel, eating convenience food because you lack cooking facilities. It's a less than ideal. Individuals staying in these DSS-sponsored motels outnumber families, but on a single recent day in Saratoga County 2 families (as well as 26 individuals) were housed in these motels.

We may not be perfect, but we can do better than this. Local groups like the Saratoga County Housing Committee are working to bring programs and services to help homeless persons...and to address gaps in services that can help prevent homelessness. In fact this group has brought $4.1 million in housing and support services to address homelessness in Saratoga County. Want to know more? Want to get involved? For more information call the Saratoga Springs Office of Community
Development at 518-587-3550 x 575

Be Street-Safe… There’s an App for That, Kitestring

Nothing beats the summer vibe in Saratoga. People lunching in outdoor cafes, waving to friends on the street. Shoppers strolling leisurely. Within a 5 minute walk, we've got designer fashions, unique cooking gadgets, handcrafted fudge and artisanal breads, custom designed jewelry, a renowned bookstore,  gourmet olive oils, a fantasy-worthy toy store, souvenirs and Saratoga memorabilia, gourmet doggie treats, and of course, fantastical hats bedecked with feathers and flowers. There's a joyous pedestrian feel to the town.

At night the town really rocks with drink specials and live music on the outdoor patios of every bar. Heck, sometimes Gaffneys has a different band playing in every room. And locals can imbibe without worry as they can just hoof it back home, whether home is a dorm room at Skidmore or a high rise condo on Railroad Place. It's a safe town, but every city has crime...especially at night. Common sense and a bit of street smarts can prevent that great night out from ending with a mugging or a sexual assault. So even in a great place like Saratoga, be aware of your surroundings, cross the street or change your route if someone is following you...and don't walk alone at night.  Buddy up and get each other home safely. What to do if your friend walked you home, but now she/he's got a couple of blocks to walk alone?  Want to make sure everyone gets home safe? 


There's an app for that. With  Kitestring, you set your phone for how long it should take to get home. At the appointed time Kitestring checks up on you. If you're home safe you just reply. But if the unthinkable happens, Kitestring notifies your emergency contacts so they can follow up. It's free and you don't even need a smart phone. So enjoy the summer...but be street-safe.

3rd Annual Bullying Awareness March

On Friday, June 6, DVRC partnered with the Ballston Area Community Allies for the 3rd Annual Bullying Awareness March in Ballston Spa.  Over 80 local students participated in the March, using  the opportunity to voice their concerns about bullying to local leaders including Saratoga County District Attorney James A. Murphy, Ballston Spa Central School District Superintendent, Dr. Joseph Dragone, Mayor of the Village of Ballston Spa, the Honorable John P. Romano, and Milton Town Supervisor, Dan Lewza.

Bullying among children, teens, and young adults is on the rise.  According to the American Justice Department, one in four children will experience bullying sometime in their adolescence.  The March will give youth the opportunity to voice their concerns about bullying, share their solutions to stop bullying in the community, while giving community members a chance to show their support for the efforts of the children in speaking out against bullying. 

Local Community Leaders Greet the Marchers at Wiswall Park

Local Community Leaders Greet the Marchers at Wiswall Park

Students and community members gather to discuss their feelings on bullying with community leaders

Students and community members gather to discuss their feelings on bullying with community leaders

Participating students hold up their signs for the community leaders

Participating students hold up their signs for the community leaders

Students and community members gather to discuss their feelings on bullying with community leaders

Students and community members gather to discuss their feelings on bullying with community leaders

Students and community members show their ideas to address bullying

Students and community members show their ideas to address bullying

Shows her bullying awareness message

Shows her bullying awareness message

Ballston Area Community Allies Banner

The Honorable Mayor Romano with participants

The Honorable Mayor Romano with participants

No Place for Hate

No Place for Hate


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