Wellspring - Ending relationship and sexual abuse in Saratoga County


News & Events

Trade-up your jeans for survivors of relationship abuse

jeans

Chico’s Clothing store is partnering with the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) and Domestic Violence and Rape Crisis of Saratoga County (DVRC) to provide jeans for survivors of domestic violence. From Monday, July 29th through Sunday, August 18th donate your gently worn jeans at any Chicos store and Chicos will pass along your donation to DV survivors AND give you $20 off any denim purchase. The offer is good at all Chico’s locations.

But wait, there’s more – Chicos at 329 Broadway in Saratoga Springs is taking their gift to a higher level. On Thursday, August 1st – for each customer who makes a purchase AND tells them they were referred by DVRC Chico’s will donate 10% of their total purchase to DVRC.

Ageless Wisdom from a 17 Year Old


My last post pondered how Barbie dolls may cause our young girls to focus on unrealistic standards of physical beauty.  And today’s post is in recognition of a local beauty pageant winner. Am I confused? Conflicted? Forgetful?

Maybe, but that’s a topic for another day. Ballston Spa’s Krysta Prehoda was recently crowned Miss New York Outstanding Teen. In an interview with the Ballston Journal she said she grew up watching the Miss America pageant and always dreamed of her chance in the spotlight just like the pageant contestants.  It’s no small accomplishment that she entered the competition and won the NYS title. But what I find impressive is that her motivation wasn’t the ‘beauty contest’, but achieving the exemplary academic performance, volunteerism and social concern, poise and comfort with public speaking and personal character to be considered for the contest. A contestant needs . Krysta chose the Outstanding Teen pageant because the focus is on who you are as a person, not just beauty.

In her moment in the limelight she's speaking out to end cyber-bullying.  While bullying has been around since Colonial children played roil the hoop with a stick and wagon wheel, cyber-bullying is a relatively new crime. Correction... it's  actually it’s the same old bullying, but it’s exponentially more dangerous given the anonymity and ability to reach large numbers with just a click of a mouse or send button on a phone. Technology creates a distance where the perpetrator doesn't need face-to-face contact with the victim. The harassment can follow the victim to every area of life through e-mails, texts and social media.

Every technology has its benefits and its dark side. Cyber-bullying is the dark side of our digital communications. Kudos to Krysta Prehoda for educating her peers and using her moment I the spotlight to speak out and help other teens.  

And her ageless words of wisdom?

“…stay true to who you are. That will take you farther than you think.”

Now that’s a reflection of true beauty… inside and out. Good luck to her!
 

 
 

Related posts:
Youth who make a difference:
Bullying:
 
 

 

If Barbie was the Girl Next Door

As a kid I wasn’t into dolls and later I had two sons, so I’m clearly not the expert on Barbie or how this  11 ½ inch doll influences girls’ body image and sense of what’s important. But I’ve heard enough mothers talking about their 3, 5, 7 and 8 year old daughters’ fascination with being just like Barbie, using lipstick, having pretty clothes and lots of stuff, that I do wonder if Barbie and all the other gender-specific modeling we provide our daughters with gives mixed messages when contrasted with parents' encouragement to study hard because you can be anything.

Sure Barbie has gotten more serious. Her accessories now include business suits, briefcases, a stethoscope and other accoutrements of a professional life. But, even for an adult,  it’s hard to look past the cascading blonde hair, sparkling blue eyes , and flawless cheekbones. And let’s not even mention the teeny waist, dainty feet and generous bust. After a day trying cases, Trial Lawyer Barbie would probably have a walloping backache (assuming she could actually stand upright to begin with.)

Is Barbie at the root of gender discrimination, girls’ eating disorders, or excessive materialism… probably not.  But is Barbie an early introduction to an unrealistic version of beauty and feminine appeal for many young girls… probably.

Nicolay Lamm has reimagined Barbie using what the CDC tells us is a typical 19 year olds’ body.  He’s proposing that Barbie gets a new look, based on normal body measurements. She’s still blonde with sparkling blue eyes, but this version looks less like a Vegas showgirl and more like the girl next door.  You can imagine her as a cheerleader, but also as the school’s soccer star, classical pianist, math whiz, valedictorian… or just the nice girl who sits in the next row in class.  And those sturdier ankles and feet will come in handy in a few years when she’s pleading a case to the jury.

Will changing Barbie’s look end eating disorders, materialism, sexual  victimization or help women break the glass ceiling… no… but maybe it’s a place to start.

Here’s a Guy Who Deserves Respect


Here's a common scenario for a sexual assault:
It's a party. A young girl has too much to drink, She's totally out of it, barely able to function, and clearly unable to consent to sex.. A guy, or several guys, at the party who have also been drinking find her intoxication either funny or convenient and proceed to rape her.

 

Boys just having fun? Absolutely not!  

Was the girl to blame for the assault because she became so intoxicated that she couldn't defend herself?  Absolutely not!  

 

Recently there have been several court cases that have hammered home that this is rape. Teenaged lives (both those of the victim and perpetrator) have been irreparably changed due to poor judgment and willful sexual violation. A highly public case in Steubenville, Ohio, two 16 year old high school football players were found guilty of rape under circumstances just like those described. In Saratoga, California a similar incident was linked to the death of a 15 year old girl who committed suicide after pictures of the rape were posted on line and went viral. But these aren't isolated cases... this happens far more often that you'd imagine. 

 

Why? Do young men really think it's totally OK to rape a girl? If that's true then we need some clearer messages.

 

And that's what one young man did. Watch the video, How to Treat a Girl (or anyone).

What a message!
Share it... talk about it... live it.
 

Here’s a Guy Who Deserves Respect


Here's a common scenario for a sexual assault:
It's a party. A young girl has too much to drink, She's totally out of it, barely able to function, and clearly unable to consent to sex.. A guy, or several guys, at the party who have also been drinking find her intoxication either funny or convenient and proceed to rape her.

 

Boys just having fun? Absolutely not!  

Was the girl to blame for the assault because she became so intoxicated that she couldn't defend herself?  Absolutely not!  

 

Recently there have been several court cases that have hammered home that this is rape. Teenaged lives (both those of the victim and perpetrator) have been irreparably changed due to poor judgment and willful sexual violation. A highly public case in Steubenville, Ohio, two 16 year old high school football players were found guilty of rape under circumstances just like those described. In Saratoga, California a similar incident was linked to the death of a 15 year old girl who committed suicide after pictures of the rape were posted on line and went viral. But these aren't isolated cases... this happens far more often that you'd imagine. 

 

Why? Do young men really think it's totally OK to rape a girl? If that's true then we need some clearer messages.

 

And that's what one young man did. Watch the video, How to Treat a Girl (or anyone).

What a message!
Share it... talk about it... live it.
 

Leslie Morgan Steiner Answers the Question, "Why Did She Stay?"

It's the question I'm asked most often when talk about my work, Why does any woman or man stay in an abusive relationship?" My answer varies depending on the discussion:
  •  Sometimes I talk about how insidious the process is; a person may not realize he/she is in an abusive relationship until they are truly trapped.
  • Sometimes I talk about how they feel this is the safer alternative; if they were to leave, they fear the abuse would escalate to murder (often the abuser has promised them this will happen.)
  • Sometimes I talk about how they truly love this person. They don't wish to leave their partner...just for the abuse to end.
  • Sometimes I talk about how they are protecting children, family or loved ones from becoming the targets of the abuse.
  • Sometimes I talk about shame and the victim's belief that they are the only one experiencing such horrors in a 'loving relationship', and
  • Sometimes I talk about how very difficult it is to totally break free, especially if there are children in common and the court will require visitation agreements that keep the victim in regular contact with the abuser.
It's an simple question, "Why doesn't she or he leave?" I don't have a simple answer. But today I
viewed one of the most articulate and compelling discussions about why it's so hard for a domestic violence victim to leave the abusive relationship. Leslie Morgan Steiner, a domestic violence survivor, told her story. If you've ever wondered how or why someone stays in an abusive relationship, take just 15 minutes and watch this video. It will forever answer that question for you.

At the end of the video Ms. Steiner challenges each of us, not just those personally affected,  to take action to end abuse... and tells us how to do it. It's worth watching!

Do Shelters Cause Homelessness?

Andy Kessler, former hedge fund manager, has caused quite a stir with his assertion that shelters and the people who volunteer in them (including his own teenaged son) are the root cause of homelessness. His comments have generated quite a discussion throughout the country (and undoubtedly at his own dinner table)… what do you think? Quite simply, he reasons it’s because shelters provide food, clothing and a ‘home’ that people living in shelters are disencented from working and contributing to the economic stability of our country. He’s not the first to make the argument that we have these problems in our community because we offer help.

Contrary to what you may think, people who work in human service agencies aren’t pushovers offering a tissue and free access to a shoulder to cry on. Yes, we tend to be compassionate and caring… but we’re also really pragmatic. We absolutely offer support and assistance when someone is in crisis, but we use that crisis as a beginning. What factors contributed to the crisis? And what actions does the person need to take to correct not just the immediate problem but the factors that contributed to it. Often this means getting a job (or a second one), reducing spending, and taking a hard look at the choices they were making (cell phone, cable TV, smaller apartment, owning a car vs. public transportation.) Many of the homeless persons we assist are working; they just couldn’t make ends meet. So the focus becomes finding out why…not to make excuses, but to create needed change.  Because human service non-profit agencies can’t offer generous salaries, folks who work in the field tend to be really good at these practical decisions; that’s how they get by.

So it’s true our nonprofits may provide a meal to someone who is hungry, a roof when they have nowhere to go, or a warm coat in the winter, but that’s just where our services start. Our true goal is to help people achieve safe, stable lives. That process isn’t easy and generally requires some candid conversations and personal change. ..along with understanding and compassion.

In the past few years as our economy became more challenging I’ve heard many people saying their understanding of homelessness has changed. It’s not just the chronically addicted person or someone with severe mental health issues unwilling to accept treatment who becomes homeless. More and more I hear people sign, “So many of us are just one tragedy or one paycheck away from a housing crisis.”

I ‘m glad that if that happens, we have agencies and people who care to help us get back on track.

What is Elder Abuse? NYS Bar Associaition Answers

You seek help from the elders. A society with elders is healthy.
Bernard Legat
 
 
"According to Under the Radar: New York State Elder Abuse Prevalence Study,  14% of older adults in NYS have experienced some form of elder abuse. Yet for every incident documented by NYS government agencies there are nearly 24 that go unreported."1   

Yesterday's post covered the need to educate professionals from all sectors about elder abuse. While a client or patient may not be accessing the professional because of elder abuse, doctors, attorneys, bankers and other professionals  may have opportunities to identify elder abuse and intervene. In recognition of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, the NYS Bar Association created  a FAQ document for distribution to attorneys. That's a great start. This info is helpful not just to attorneys, but to all of us: 

What is elder abuse?

Elder abuse is an action or lack of appropriate actions, which causes harm, risk of harm, or distress to an individual 60 years of age or older and occurs:

a) within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust; or

b) when the targeted act is directed towards an elder person by virtue of age or disabilities. 

Elder abuse can be intentional or unintentional, can take various forms, and includes but is not limited to emotional, physical, sexual, or financial abuse, neglect and abandonment.2
 

What are some general signs that might indicate elder abuse?

·         Unexplained physical injuries
·         Social or physical isolation (denying the older adult contact with others, or limiting his/her ability to speak to others unobserved)
·         Emotional distress, fearfulness or withdrawal
·         Self-destructive behavior
·         Unexplained loss of financial independence or confusion about financial transactions
·         Lack of basic care (e.g., adequate nutrition, clothing, medical care)


What is Elder Abuse? NYS Bar Associaition Answers

You seek help from the elders. A society with elders is healthy.
Bernard Legat
 
 
"According to Under the Radar: New York State Elder Abuse Prevalence Study,  14% of older adults in NYS have experienced some form of elder abuse. Yet for every incident documented by NYS government agencies there are nearly 24 that go unreported."1   

Yesterday's post covered the need to educate professionals from all sectors about elder abuse. While a client or patient may not be accessing the professional because of elder abuse, doctors, attorneys, bankers and other professionals  may have opportunities to identify elder abuse and intervene. In recognition of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, the NYS Bar Association created  a FAQ document for distribution to attorneys. That's a great start. This info is helpful not just to attorneys, but to all of us: 

What is elder abuse?

Elder abuse is an action or lack of appropriate actions, which causes harm, risk of harm, or distress to an individual 60 years of age or older and occurs:

a) within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust; or

b) when the targeted act is directed towards an elder person by virtue of age or disabilities. 

Elder abuse can be intentional or unintentional, can take various forms, and includes but is not limited to emotional, physical, sexual, or financial abuse, neglect and abandonment.2
 

What are some general signs that might indicate elder abuse?

·         Unexplained physical injuries
·         Social or physical isolation (denying the older adult contact with others, or limiting his/her ability to speak to others unobserved)
·         Emotional distress, fearfulness or withdrawal
·         Self-destructive behavior
·         Unexplained loss of financial independence or confusion about financial transactions
·         Lack of basic care (e.g., adequate nutrition, clothing, medical care)



X