Wellspring - Ending relationship and sexual abuse in Saratoga County


News & Events

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)


Elders are Particularly Vulnerable to Financial Exploitation

Leadership Saratoga spearheaded a community outreach project for Domestic Violence and Rape Crisis Services  so we could to better understand elder abuse in Saratoga County. They found that financial abuse was one of the most frequent forms of elder abuse.Often the person exploiting the elder is a family member whom they rely on for support. On the positive side the Leadership Saratoga team also found that banking institutions routinely train their employees to be on the lookout for financial exploitation of elders.

The team  convened a forum of community leaders and professionals concerned with elder abuse to brainstorm what we can do to prevent, identify and reduce elder abuse. One suggestion was to train a variety of professionasl to be on the lookout for all forms of exploitation of elders. These creative professionals urged us to think outside the box and train professionals to look beyond the scope of their daily work to identify abuse. Their wise words rang true today when I read an article identifying doctors as key links in identifying elder abuse.  An elder may see his/her doctor more  often than any other professional. The doctor may also know more about  their stressors, support systems, and resources than anyone. In fact the survey cited in the article notes that more than 1 in 5 doctors are aware their elderly patients are victims of  financial exploitation.

The vast majority of these doctors reasoned that seniors are particularly vulnerable to abuse due to cognitive   impairments. We sometimes view elders as too trusting,,, even careless or gullible with regard to people. Actually changes in their brain can affect  their ability to accurately judge how trustworthy someone is. Studies show that even healthy seniors with no obvious cognitive difficulties may have difficulty making decisions...and this can increase their vulnerability to fraud and financial exploitation.

Gobankingrates.com gives the following tips for protecting loved ones from elder abuse: Visit their site to learn more about elder abuse.
If you are concerned about your elderly loved one, or think you may be the victim of elder abuse, there are a number of signs you can look for to make your confirmation:
  • Excessive withdrawals from a bank account
  • Items or cash missing from the senior’s household
  • Changes to power of attorney, wills, titles or insurance policies
  • Names added to signature cards
  • Unpaid bills despite a significant cash flow
  • Financial activity that couldn’t be completed by the senior citizen
  • Unnecessary services or goods


Elders are Particularly Vulnerable to Financial Exploitation

Leadership Saratoga spearheaded a community outreach project for Domestic Violence and Rape Crisis Services  so we could to better understand elder abuse in Saratoga County. They found that financial abuse was one of the most frequent forms of elder abuse.Often the person exploiting the elder is a family member whom they rely on for support. On the positive side the Leadership Saratoga team also found that banking institutions routinely train their employees to be on the lookout for financial exploitation of elders.

The team  convened a forum of community leaders and professionals concerned with elder abuse to brainstorm what we can do to prevent, identify and reduce elder abuse. One suggestion was to train a variety of professionasl to be on the lookout for all forms of exploitation of elders. These creative professionals urged us to think outside the box and train professionals to look beyond the scope of their daily work to identify abuse. Their wise words rang true today when I read an article identifying doctors as key links in identifying elder abuse.  An elder may see his/her doctor more  often than any other professional. The doctor may also know more about  their stressors, support systems, and resources than anyone. In fact the survey cited in the article notes that more than 1 in 5 doctors are aware their elderly patients are victims of  financial exploitation.

The vast majority of these doctors reasoned that seniors are particularly vulnerable to abuse due to cognitive   impairments. We sometimes view elders as too trusting,,, even careless or gullible with regard to people. Actually changes in their brain can affect  their ability to accurately judge how trustworthy someone is. Studies show that even healthy seniors with no obvious cognitive difficulties may have difficulty making decisions...and this can increase their vulnerability to fraud and financial exploitation.

Gobankingrates.com gives the following tips for protecting loved ones from elder abuse: Visit their site to learn more about elder abuse.
If you are concerned about your elderly loved one, or think you may be the victim of elder abuse, there are a number of signs you can look for to make your confirmation:
  • Excessive withdrawals from a bank account
  • Items or cash missing from the senior’s household
  • Changes to power of attorney, wills, titles or insurance policies
  • Names added to signature cards
  • Unpaid bills despite a significant cash flow
  • Financial activity that couldn’t be completed by the senior citizen
  • Unnecessary services or goods


"Fulton Woman Found Dead… Son Questioned"

At DVRC we've been working with our community to increase awareness of elder abuse. As I read in today's Saratogian an article entitled, Woman found dead in Fulton County home; son questioned, it resonated with me how important it is that we all be conscious of the prevalence and how to identify  elder abuse. This is an investigation in process, so we don't know the circumstances surrounding this woman's death.

June 15th was World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. A team from Leadership Saratoga helped us to begin a conversation with  businesses in our community who assist elders and are active in identifying and intervening to aid at risk elders. Click here to hear what Charles Wait  has to say about why this project was so important to his team.



The folks at WNYT helped us to get the message out on World Elder Abuse Awareness day by talking with me about elder abuse. But we need to be aware of elder abuse not just one day a year, but every day. So here are some facts:

  • 1 in 10 elders in the US are abused.
  • In 90% of cases elders are abused by family members.
  • 65% of elder abuse victims are women.
  • For elders experiencing abuse, the risk of death increases by 300%.
Upcoming posts:
What is Elder Abuse?
What can YOU do?




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