Wellspring - Ending relationship and sexual abuse in Saratoga County


News & Events

Skip the Sale; Don’t Buy the Economy Size

Here's a parenting message you may not have heard . 
This information could save a teen's life.

Seasoned hikers know he importance of carrying a light pack. An old hiker's adage is "An ounce on the scale is a pound on the trail." I've known several hikers who've found that that a few pounds and an extra decade or two also take their toll on the joints after a couple of days on the trail. And some of those hikers have ended up in the emergency department with stomach and liver problems from accidently popping too much Tylenol to combat aches  resulting from the nexus of middle age and mountain miles. So I'm well aware that acetaminophen can be dangerous when misused. But until today I thought the risks were from accidental overdose. I never imagined this medicine cabinet staple might be the drug of choice for a suicide attempt.


The Times Union's Claire Hughes, reports that despondent teens often turn to acetaminophen when attempting suicide because it's readily available in sufficient quantities, inexpensive, and  right there in the family medicine cabinet. Her report quotes Dr. Heather Long of Albany Medical Center Hospital, "Acetaminophen is the most frequent pharmacological agent taken in intentional overdoses." 

Desperate actions are sometimes impulsive; don't have supplies on hand, unlocked that could be lethal.




Skip the Sale; Don’t Buy the Economy Size

Here's a parenting message you may not have heard . 
This information could save a teen's life.

Seasoned hikers know he importance of carrying a light pack. An old hiker's adage is "An ounce on the scale is a pound on the trail." I've known several hikers who've found that that a few pounds and an extra decade or two also take their toll on the joints after a couple of days on the trail. And some of those hikers have ended up in the emergency department with stomach and liver problems from accidently popping too much Tylenol to combat aches  resulting from the nexus of middle age and mountain miles. So I'm well aware that acetaminophen can be dangerous when misused. But until today I thought the risks were from accidental overdose. I never imagined this medicine cabinet staple might be the drug of choice for a suicide attempt.


The Times Union's Claire Hughes, reports that despondent teens often turn to acetaminophen when attempting suicide because it's readily available in sufficient quantities, inexpensive, and  right there in the family medicine cabinet. Her report quotes Dr. Heather Long of Albany Medical Center Hospital, "Acetaminophen is the most frequent pharmacological agent taken in intentional overdoses." 

Desperate actions are sometimes impulsive; don't have supplies on hand, unlocked that could be lethal.




Men’s Issue… Women’s Issue? Not the Point


Statistics. Sometimes they reveal the truth. Sometimes they obfuscate. Sometimes they're just confusing.  

Over the past few days I've blogged about male domestic violence victims and the unique challenges they face. I've also blogged about domestic homicide. For years domestic violence advocates have stated that domestic violence disproportionately affects women. Some people question that assertion... and cite valid data. In a landmark study, The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, notes that 53% of persons who had experienced physical violence in an intimate relationship were men. Whoa… so is this a women’s issue or a men’s issue?  

The study cautions about making assumptions across groups based on one single data point, because “the contrasts between the experiences of men and women sharpen when we look at the specific forms of IPV, the severity of the physical violenceexperienced, and the impact of the violence:

·         While 92% of male victims experienced onlyphysical violence, 36% of women experienced more than one form, including 12.5% of female victims who experienced all three (rape, physical violence, and stalking by an intimate partner). 

·         1 in 4 women have been the victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner, while 1 in 7 men have experienced the same.  

·         1in 6 women have been stalked during their lifetime, compared to 1 in 19 men.  

·         Over 80% of women who reported rape, physical violence, and/ or stalking by an intimate partner also reported one or more negative impacts (e.g., fear, injury, missed school/ work, etc), whereas, about 35% of men who experienced these forms of violence by an intimate reported an impact. 

So severity of abuse and the impact of the violence factor in. Are there gender differences when we look at the issue with these factors in mind? Or as the NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services 2012 reports, of the:
104 female homicide victims 57.7% were domestic homicides, compared to
532 male homicide victims, only 2.6% were attributable to  domestic violence. 

Michael Virtanen of the Chronicle sums it up the report more succinctly, 

“ the person most likely to kill a woman in NYS is
 her partner or ex.” 

So is this a women’s or a men’s issue? That’s not the point. It’s a social issue that affects us all.

No one deserves to be abused.
All victims deserve access to support services.
Let’s work together toward a community free from relationship or sexual abuse... for all people.

Nothing Would Indicate that She Was In Danger

Carol Stanford and Joshua McWain. They took long walks together. He had problems, but she looked after him. She was the mother of this 27 year old man. Some neighbors say they fought; others say they were close.

No one expected that he would bludgeon her to death and bury her body under the shed. That doesn’t happen in Saratoga County. But it did in October 2012. The accused pled guilty last Friday and will be sentenced in September. The murder happened after a fight about chores.

About chores ! Sound unbelievable? According to the NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services, 58% of the 171 domestic homicides in 2011 resulted from an argument.  From the report we also learn that:
· Among all domestic homicides, females accounted for 60.8%  of victims.

· There were 23 elderly victims of domestic homicide, seven were killed by an intimate partner and 16 by other family members.

· The total number of domestic homicides ranged from a low of 131 in 2007 to a high of 171 in 2011

While Saratoga County’s homicide rate is low compared to other counties, we had 2 homicides in 2011, both attributed to domestic violence. 

I was speaking with a friend about a homicide case in an adjacent county. She said, “You talk about domestic violence, but I never imagined it could lead to murder.” Saratoga County District Attorney James A. Murphy III said the evidence against Joshua McWain was overwhelming and he “had some history of violence, but nothing that would indicate his mother was in danger.”  

And that’s the problem. So often we can’t recognize the danger until it’s far too late. Fortunately domestic homicides are not daily headlines in Saratoga County, but they happen.  Often there have been red flags along the way. Sometimes there’s been a long-standing pattern of abuse. Sometimes the homicide happens when the victim tries to leave the relationship. We never know for certain when an abusive relationship will become lethal.   

I recently read a shocking blog. It’s called IntimateViolenceDeaths in the News,  and it tells the story of victim after victim who has been murdered by a partner. It’s haunting reading. And I’d bet every community says “we never thought that would happen here.” As I read those stories I’m saddened that we didn’t so something earlier to end relationship abuse before there’s such tragedy.  How can we be so complacent about abuse until it reaches the level of murder? The blog opens with a quote that resonates as you read the stories,

Tolerance becomes a crime when applied to evil
~ Thomas Mann~

Please find out what you can do to help us all to realize the vision of a community without relationship or sexual abuse. Because the unthinkable does happen... even here.

 
 
Related posts:
No MORE
http://maggiefronk.blogspot.com/2013/03/this-weekend-i-was-wearing-pini-created_11.html

Be  a friend... Help a friend
http://maggiefronk.blogspot.com/2013/03/be-friend-break-silence.html





She’s Hitting HIM… What Would You Do?

In the jargon of the domestic violence field it's called bystander accountability, but I think the airlines say it much better, "If you see something- Say Something." When DVRC staff are working with kids in prevention education programs, we teach the importance of being an ally and what that means. It doesn't just mean not committing abusive behaviors, or being there when a friend needs to talk. Sometimes it means making the hard decision to publicly intervene when you see injustice. The kids get it... sometimes more than we adults do.
 
Have you ever walked by a bad situation and just pretended not to notice even when you could have done something to help? Why? Lots of reasons. I'm not sure what to do. I've never considered this situation and in the moment indecision leads to avoidance. Sometimes my brain's objections override  that feeling in my gut to do something. Typically my brain says something like:

It's not my business. That's a private matter; I shouldn't get involved., or
What if I do something that makes the situation worse, or
You think somebody would say something. I can't imagine why no one is intervening.

You get the idea. I'll admit I'm as guilty as the next person. I'm embarrassed to say it, but if I see injustice, I  sometimes walk on by. Then I'm often haunted by the lingering feeling of failure... failure to do the right thing to help someone in need. Here's an interesting question. Is my willingness to help gender biased? Here's a video that raises the question is justice gender-biased?

It's shocking to watch. Perplexing to hear the rationale. And  something to think about and remember.

Related Posts:
I Need You to Step In  http://maggiefronk.blogspot.com/2013/03/i-need-you-to-step-in.html

It’s the Same Old Domestic Violence … Or Is It?

The exchange, videotaped on the victim's phone, lasted more than two  minutes. Throughout the incident the victim was yelled at, pummeled, grabbed by the hair and slapped, All the while the victim pleads," Please stop. Stop, you're hurting me. Just let me go home..."

You can picture the scene, can't you? Without knowing more you can fill in the details of that incident...the story is all too familiar. Well, this time there may be some details that you hadn't considered.

Are you surprised that the batterer is an Iraq war veteran? Are you surprised to learn that the batterer is an NFL cheerleader? That's right, in an alcohol-fueled, jealous rage she unceasingly assaults her boyfriend, who eventually calls the police. Was this the scene you pictured?

It's a fact, domestic violence occurs in all types of intimate relationships, and occurs in the same frequency in gay and straight relationships. And even though it challenges our basic understanding of intimate partner violence, in some relationships the abuser is the woman and the victim is a male. Sometimes the abuse is physical, sometimes emotional, psychological, financial or sexual. It's the same dynamic of power and control.

What's different?
Stigma can be an even stronger deterrent to a male victim seeking assistance. It's hard for a male victim to say, "I'm being abused by my girlfriend." Male victims wonder if they'll be believed, or will they get the reaction "You're bigger and stronger than her. How could she hurt you?" For the same reason, they're often afraid to fend off the blows, lest they be accused of being the aggressor. If they call the police will they end up being arrested? Many male victims report they've been told since they were children, "Men don't hit women." They've never been told what to do if they're being hit by a woman...and because it's rarely spoken about they're too embarrassed to ask.

Lack of awareness of resources can prevent men from seeking support services. As domestic violence advocates, we've fallen short on letting male victims know that we can help them (and, in fact, unlike DVRC, some advocacy programs only assist female victims.)

Call it what you will, relationship abuse, power and control, domestic violence. The message is the same. No one deserves to be abused. All relationships should be safe. For men and for women.

At DVRC we say:

  If you're a woman who is a victim of abuse, You are not alone...we can help.

And we also say:

If you're a man who is a victim of abuse, You are not alone...we can help.


Related posts:
For more information about domestic violence
http://maggiefronk.blogspot.com/2013/03/be-friend-break-silence.html








It’s the Same Old Domestic Violence … Or Is It?

The exchange, videotaped on the victim's phone, lasted more than two  minutes. Throughout the incident the victim was yelled at, pummeled, grabbed by the hair and slapped, All the while the victim pleads," Please stop. Stop, you're hurting me. Just let me go home..."

You can picture the scene, can't you? Without knowing more you can fill in the details of that incident...the story is all too familiar. Well, this time there may be some details that you hadn't considered.

Are you surprised that the batterer is an Iraq war veteran? Are you surprised to learn that the batterer is an NFL cheerleader? That's right, in an alcohol-fueled, jealous rage she unceasingly assaults her boyfriend, who eventually calls the police. Was this the scene you pictured?

It's a fact, domestic violence occurs in all types of intimate relationships, and occurs in the same frequency in gay and straight relationships. And even though it challenges our basic understanding of intimate partner violence, in some relationships the abuser is the woman and the victim is a male. Sometimes the abuse is physical, sometimes emotional, psychological, financial or sexual. It's the same dynamic of power and control.

What's different?
Stigma can be an even stronger deterrent to a male victim seeking assistance. It's hard for a male victim to say, "I'm being abused by my girlfriend." Male victims wonder if they'll be believed, or will they get the reaction "You're bigger and stronger than her. How could she hurt you?" For the same reason, they're often afraid to fend off the blows, lest they be accused of being the aggressor. If they call the police will they end up being arrested? Many male victims report they've been told since they were children, "Men don't hit women." They've never been told what to do if they're being hit by a woman...and because it's rarely spoken about they're too embarrassed to ask.

Lack of awareness of resources can prevent men from seeking support services. As domestic violence advocates, we've fallen short on letting male victims know that we can help them (and, in fact, unlike DVRC, some advocacy programs only assist female victims.)

Call it what you will, relationship abuse, power and control, domestic violence. The message is the same. No one deserves to be abused. All relationships should be safe. For men and for women.

At DVRC we say:

  If you're a woman who is a victim of abuse, You are not alone...we can help.

And we also say:

If you're a man who is a victim of abuse, You are not alone...we can help.


Related posts:
For more information about domestic violence
http://maggiefronk.blogspot.com/2013/03/be-friend-break-silence.html








Your Kids Are Watching

Would You Step In?

Cyberbullying, what are these kids thinking?! Where did they learn this? Have they become so focused on their electronic devices that they’ve forgotten manners?The answer might just be closer than we think. We talk about how kids are so attached to their devices that they’re losing the art of person-to-person communication. HMMM... Step away from the Instagram and look in the mirror. Then watch the video at the end of this post.

Several times a week I watch a family of three talking a long walk together. They’ve been doing it for years. I watched them when their son was learning to ride a new bike with training wheels, and still see them now that he’s taller than dad. What a great sight; a family doing things together, exercising out in the great outdoors, planned quality time.  Norman Rockwell , here’s a  true picture of Americana. But something changed over the years. They used to talk and laugh… these days  mom and dad are both occupied on their cell phones and Jr. lopes along behind them, for all practical purposes on a solo walk… every time. What would Norman Rockwell think? Admittedly,  I do it too. I’m in the living room chatting with my son and my cell phone vibrates, and like Pavlov’s dog that sound stops me midsentence and I  pick up the phone.  

We tell our kids bullying is bad. Do they see us watching TV shows where contestants backstab others in the hopes they’ll raise in the ranks? Ever read the comments section after an on-line news article? Different opinions and spirited debate are healthy. But how often do the commenters take cheap personal shots at other commenters? Would they speak to someone so disparagingly in person?  Or does the cover of anonymity give license for sniping and barbed rudeness? High school students attend assemblies where the DA and school officials tell them how a knuckleheaded teenaged decision to send a revealing pic to that special someone can lead to exponential humiliation when that pic is shared electronically… and can lead to criminal charges, and sometimes personal tragedy.   Where do they learn this? Could it be from reading headlines about both local professionals and leaders as well as celebrities who regularly send such pics. Yeesh mom, everybody’s doing it!

How do we teach our kids to do the right thing? The answer is simple… let them see us in action. Schools  and groups like DVRC’s Ballston Area Community Allies have character education programs to teach kids  to step in when they see someone harassing another person …to “Be an Ally”. Be honest… would you step in or would you stand by uncomfortably,  watching silently? Here’s what happened when an undercover camera explored  just that dilemma.

 

 

 

Your Kids Are Watching

Would You Step In?

Cyberbullying, what are these kids thinking?! Where did they learn this? Have they become so focused on their electronic devices that they’ve forgotten manners?The answer might just be closer than we think. We talk about how kids are so attached to their devices that they’re losing the art of person-to-person communication. HMMM... Step away from the Instagram and look in the mirror. Then watch the video at the end of this post.

Several times a week I watch a family of three talking a long walk together. They’ve been doing it for years. I watched them when their son was learning to ride a new bike with training wheels, and still see them now that he’s taller than dad. What a great sight; a family doing things together, exercising out in the great outdoors, planned quality time.  Norman Rockwell , here’s a  true picture of Americana. But something changed over the years. They used to talk and laugh… these days  mom and dad are both occupied on their cell phones and Jr. lopes along behind them, for all practical purposes on a solo walk… every time. What would Norman Rockwell think? Admittedly,  I do it too. I’m in the living room chatting with my son and my cell phone vibrates, and like Pavlov’s dog that sound stops me midsentence and I  pick up the phone.  

We tell our kids bullying is bad. Do they see us watching TV shows where contestants backstab others in the hopes they’ll raise in the ranks? Ever read the comments section after an on-line news article? Different opinions and spirited debate are healthy. But how often do the commenters take cheap personal shots at other commenters? Would they speak to someone so disparagingly in person?  Or does the cover of anonymity give license for sniping and barbed rudeness? High school students attend assemblies where the DA and school officials tell them how a knuckleheaded teenaged decision to send a revealing pic to that special someone can lead to exponential humiliation when that pic is shared electronically… and can lead to criminal charges, and sometimes personal tragedy.   Where do they learn this? Could it be from reading headlines about both local professionals and leaders as well as celebrities who regularly send such pics. Yeesh mom, everybody’s doing it!

How do we teach our kids to do the right thing? The answer is simple… let them see us in action. Schools  and groups like DVRC’s Ballston Area Community Allies have character education programs to teach kids  to step in when they see someone harassing another person …to “Be an Ally”. Be honest… would you step in or would you stand by uncomfortably,  watching silently? Here’s what happened when an undercover camera explored  just that dilemma.

 

 

 

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