Wellspring - Ending relationship and sexual abuse in Saratoga County


News & Events

All I want for Christmas

What might an 8 year old boy want  for Christmas? A toy helicopter? A remote control car? Sounds right.

But for one boy there was something he wanted even more... for schoolmates to stop bullying his sister. As often happens, the twins' mom wasn't aware of the extent of the bullying until reading her son's letter to Santa. Sometimes as adults it's hard to relate to how much bullying can devastate a child. Reading the boy's letter to Santa makes me realize how powerless a kid can feel when faced with bullying. 

How big a problem is bullying? The statistics are startling:

  • 56% of students have witnessed a bullying crime while in school.
  • 71% of kids report bullying is an ongoing problem.
  • 10% of students drop out of school because of bullying.
  • There's a strong correlation between bullying and suicide.


Your kids…what’s in their text messages?

"She was absolutely terrorized on social media." That's what the NBC news report said of a 12 year old girl who committed suicide. Other girls in her class were texting continual messages like, "No one likes you.' and 'You should kill yourself.', and Go die.'

As an adult, I can't even imagine how tortuous it would be to be taunted and humiliated not only in person, but also everywhere I went via social media. But as an adult I would have the options to pick up and move away. Kids don't have that option.

If you think  bullying is just a typical part of growing up, watch the video. Technology has given bullies power and access never before seen.  This is a serious problem...and often we don't know about it until it's too late.  12 years old is too young to feel such pain that death is the only escape.

Parents- want to know more? The Center for Disease Control created a tip sheet to help parents recognize and talk to their kids about electronic aggression. It's worth a read.

Your kids…what’s in their text messages?

"She was absolutely terrorized on social media." That's what the NBC news report said of a 12 year old girl who committed suicide. Other girls in her class were texting continual messages like, "No one likes you.' and 'You should kill yourself.', and Go die.'

As an adult, I can't even imagine how tortuous it would be to be taunted and humiliated not only in person, but also everywhere I went via social media. But as an adult I would have the options to pick up and move away. Kids don't have that option.

If you think  bullying is just a typical part of growing up, watch the video. Technology has given bullies power and access never before seen.  This is a serious problem...and often we don't know about it until it's too late.  12 years old is too young to feel such pain that death is the only escape.

Parents- want to know more? The Center for Disease Control created a tip sheet to help parents recognize and talk to their kids about electronic aggression. It's worth a read.

Raped Again

"No wonder, considering what has happened since". those were the words Washington Post columnist, Ruth Marcus, used to describe why a US Naval Academy alleged rape victim was reluctant to cooperate in the investigation of the incident. The scene described is all too typical of so many sexual assaults...a party gone bad with alcohol-fueled decisions, pervasive sexual license, social media drama, morning-after realizations, and life-changing consequences for all involved persons. This incident involved military recruits, but the same scenario gets played out every week with college students, high school students, athletes and business associates.

We weren't present the night of the incident, so we don't know if the victim was forcibly raped, too incapacitated to consent, or a willing participant. Those decisions require more detailed facts than the news reports offer. Journalists protect the identity of this rape victim by not releasing her name but, without question. we've already formed our opinions of her. Consider:
  • the court process itself is invasive, publicly humiliating and re-traumatizing  for the victim. Many victims have said, "On the stand, I felt like l was being raped again." 
  • even before a verdict has been determined, there is often more judgment about the victim than the accused. 
From just the limited information in media coverage of the case, we're already forming opinions about the alleged victim. Consider:
  • all news stories indicate the victim was drinking excessively and the next morning had limited recollection the night before
  • during the hearing she was asked  whether she was wearing a bra or underwear, how wide she opens her mouth during oral sex, and if she had consensual sexual relations the next morning with another Academy football player in the same house where the alleged assault took place
  • new reports indicate she is being disciplined for underage drinking 
  • her credibility has been cast as questionable as she initially was reticent to cooperate  fully with the investigation, then later testified that a medical exam did not result in any diagnosis, and
  •  that she has been pressured and harassed in person and via social media since making the allegations.

Contrast this with what we know about the men accused of gang raping this woman:

  • their identities are not protected, thus we know their names. This is embarrassing, will follow them throughout life and is unquestionably career changing. But it also humanizes them. We've even seen their photos, clean shaven men in military dress uniform
  • they are football players
  • all 3 accused men are older than the victim, thus not guilty of underage drinking. The question of whether they provided alcohol to the inebriated underage victim, a criminal activity, has not been addressed
  • one of them had a previous 'casual sex' relationship with the alleged victim in the past and asked her to lie to his current girlfriend denying a sexual encounter on the night of the alleged rape.
  • all three men have denied any wrongdoing.
When I look at media coverage of sexual assaults, it disturbs me how the focus right from the start is often more on the victim and her character and decisions than on the accused. Even when a guilty verdict is rendered, so often it's the actions of victim that we recollect. It's no wonder victims are reluctant to report and cooperate in the prosecution. No wonder they feel "raped again."


Raped Again

"No wonder, considering what has happened since". those were the words Washington Post columnist, Ruth Marcus, used to describe why a US Naval Academy alleged rape victim was reluctant to cooperate in the investigation of the incident. The scene described is all too typical of so many sexual assaults...a party gone bad with alcohol-fueled decisions, pervasive sexual license, social media drama, morning-after realizations, and life-changing consequences for all involved persons. This incident involved military recruits, but the same scenario gets played out every week with college students, high school students, athletes and business associates.

We weren't present the night of the incident, so we don't know if the victim was forcibly raped, too incapacitated to consent, or a willing participant. Those decisions require more detailed facts than the news reports offer. Journalists protect the identity of this rape victim by not releasing her name but, without question. we've already formed our opinions of her. Consider:
  • the court process itself is invasive, publicly humiliating and re-traumatizing  for the victim. Many victims have said, "On the stand, I felt like l was being raped again." 
  • even before a verdict has been determined, there is often more judgment about the victim than the accused. 
From just the limited information in media coverage of the case, we're already forming opinions about the alleged victim. Consider:
  • all news stories indicate the victim was drinking excessively and the next morning had limited recollection the night before
  • during the hearing she was asked  whether she was wearing a bra or underwear, how wide she opens her mouth during oral sex, and if she had consensual sexual relations the next morning with another Academy football player in the same house where the alleged assault took place
  • new reports indicate she is being disciplined for underage drinking 
  • her credibility has been cast as questionable as she initially was reticent to cooperate  fully with the investigation, then later testified that a medical exam did not result in any diagnosis, and
  •  that she has been pressured and harassed in person and via social media since making the allegations.

Contrast this with what we know about the men accused of gang raping this woman:

  • their identities are not protected, thus we know their names. This is embarrassing, will follow them throughout life and is unquestionably career changing. But it also humanizes them. We've even seen their photos, clean shaven men in military dress uniform
  • they are football players
  • all 3 accused men are older than the victim, thus not guilty of underage drinking. The question of whether they provided alcohol to the inebriated underage victim, a criminal activity, has not been addressed
  • one of them had a previous 'casual sex' relationship with the alleged victim in the past and asked her to lie to his current girlfriend denying a sexual encounter on the night of the alleged rape.
  • all three men have denied any wrongdoing.
When I look at media coverage of sexual assaults, it disturbs me how the focus right from the start is often more on the victim and her character and decisions than on the accused. Even when a guilty verdict is rendered, so often it's the actions of victim that we recollect. It's no wonder victims are reluctant to report and cooperate in the prosecution. No wonder they feel "raped again."


Welcome to college?

St. Mary's University in Nova Scotia achieved a moment of infamy when their students' Frosh Week bonding activities included a rally with a planned, scripted chant about rape.
 
SMU boys... we like them young
Y is for your sister
O is for 'Oh so tight'
U is for underage
N is for No consent
G is for grab that ass
 
What's the point of Frosh Week? To orient new students to school, create social connections, and set the tone for the year. 80 student leaders lead hundreds of incoming freshmen joined in the chant... but no one ever considered the message they were giving to new students... that forced sex is fun and part of the college experience. This wasn't a sudden 'What was I thinking?' slip;  one of the student leaders says he's been shouting this same chant since he was a freshman in 2009. Welcome to college life!
 
One in four college women is sexually assaulted; one-third of those are freshmen. The period between freshman orientation and Thanksgiving is the highest risk period for sexual assaults on college campuses. Much energy on campus goes into awareness and rape prevention activities...but how can they possibly be effective when, from the moment students set foot on campus, there are clear message from  that rape is just part of the college experience? St. Mary's isn't the only college with these traditions. After a student's blog brought the St. Mary's incident such international attention, students at other colleges in Canada and the US have talked about similar experiences.
 
There's a good side to this story. St. Mary's (and I'm sure many other universities) will be taking a hard look at freshmen orientation practices. That's good. But I continue to be perplexed. From the time they're in elementary school, students are showered with programs on character education, bullying, and being an ally... how is it that 800+ bright kids and youth leaders can shout joyously about rape- year after year!- and only one student  speaks out against it?
 
Related posts:
Talking to Teens about Sexual Assault

Welcome to college?

St. Mary's University in Nova Scotia achieved a moment of infamy when their students' Frosh Week bonding activities included a rally with a planned, scripted chant about rape.
 
SMU boys... we like them young
Y is for your sister
O is for 'Oh so tight'
U is for underage
N is for No consent
G is for grab that ass
 
What's the point of Frosh Week? To orient new students to school, create social connections, and set the tone for the year. 80 student leaders lead hundreds of incoming freshmen joined in the chant... but no one ever considered the message they were giving to new students... that forced sex is fun and part of the college experience. This wasn't a sudden 'What was I thinking?' slip;  one of the student leaders says he's been shouting this same chant since he was a freshman in 2009. Welcome to college life!
 
One in four college women is sexually assaulted; one-third of those are freshmen. The period between freshman orientation and Thanksgiving is the highest risk period for sexual assaults on college campuses. Much energy on campus goes into awareness and rape prevention activities...but how can they possibly be effective when, from the moment students set foot on campus, there are clear message from  that rape is just part of the college experience? St. Mary's isn't the only college with these traditions. After a student's blog brought the St. Mary's incident such international attention, students at other colleges in Canada and the US have talked about similar experiences.
 
There's a good side to this story. St. Mary's (and I'm sure many other universities) will be taking a hard look at freshmen orientation practices. That's good. But I continue to be perplexed. From the time they're in elementary school, students are showered with programs on character education, bullying, and being an ally... how is it that 800+ bright kids and youth leaders can shout joyously about rape- year after year!- and only one student  speaks out against it?
 
Related posts:
Talking to Teens about Sexual Assault

Fear and Everyday Heroes

It's 9/11.

Forever that day will have a haunting meaning for Americans. We've healed, for the most part, since that September  11th, but we still carry scars that have changed us . Since then there have been many other tragedies, most recently the bombing in Boston. Everyone responds differently. For some  people the sense of loss, violation and fear permeates every aspect of their daily lives...  and others reach toward healing and understanding.

I just watched a video on Upworthy   that at times makes me cringe, makes me want to cry, helps me understand how difficult it is for people of certain ethnicities to carry on each day in the US, and leaves me absolutely inspired and in awe of how every day people stand up for what's right. They are our heroes.  Don't miss the inspiring words of the soldier at the end; his words echo with the principles upon which this country was built.

All that it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to stand by and do nothing.
Edmund Burke
 
Share the video. We need to see the struggles and the scars and how we can make a difference.

Fear and Everyday Heroes

It's 9/11.

Forever that day will have a haunting meaning for Americans. We've healed, for the most part, since that September  11th, but we still carry scars that have changed us . Since then there have been many other tragedies, most recently the bombing in Boston. Everyone responds differently. For some  people the sense of loss, violation and fear permeates every aspect of their daily lives...  and others reach toward healing and understanding.

I just watched a video on Upworthy   that at times makes me cringe, makes me want to cry, helps me understand how difficult it is for people of certain ethnicities to carry on each day in the US, and leaves me absolutely inspired and in awe of how every day people stand up for what's right. They are our heroes.  Don't miss the inspiring words of the soldier at the end; his words echo with the principles upon which this country was built.

All that it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to stand by and do nothing.
Edmund Burke
 
Share the video. We need to see the struggles and the scars and how we can make a difference.

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