Wellspring - Ending relationship and sexual abuse in Saratoga County

News & Events

3rd Annual Purple Pooch Parade for DV Awareness

Join DVRC, your favorite pet-friendly sponsors, and all your four-footed canine friends for the 3rd Annual Purple Pooch Parade for DV Awareness! 

Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 10:00am

(rain or shine)

Includes a blessing of the paws, photos, goodies for the pups, ‘paw-dicures’ and plenty other canine-friendly activities

 Congress Park, Saratoga Springs

Call or write DVRC for more information.

Only 2 Days Left to Vote … Help our Local Veterans

Guardian House, located in Ballston Spa is an innovative program run by the Saratoga County Rural Preservation Company that helps our returning female veterans integrate back into the commuity and achieve self-sufficiency. You can help support Guardian House by voting for them in the Home Depot Aprons in Action facebook contest. Vote now to support our local vets!

You Can Change the World Today

Cancer… it’s a scary word. We all hope for the day when we find a cure for cancer. According to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) it takes about 8 years to develop a successful new drug for treating the disease. The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society supports research, patient services and public awareness. You can help LLS achieve their vision of helping blood cancer patients live better, longer lives, simply by enjoying a night on the town this Wednesday night.   Vapor Night Club, the Refrigerators, silent auction… all for $10 to benefit this great cause. As they say at LLS, You can change the world today (and may I add have a great time doing it!).

Denim Day

Imagine if the clothes you wore to work one day made a political statement about unthinkable injustice that was still resounding 16 years later. 

Imagine if that wardrobe selection on one April morning started a global movement to challenge social attitudes about sexual violence. 

Imagine that women all over the world still continue remember an injustice done to one young girl in 1997, first by a rapist, then even more appallingly by the legal system that was supposed to protect her. Why do they remember? Maybe because even 16 years later victims of rape still can’t be certain that they won’t be victimized by the legal system.  

That’s why people in nations across the globe and 20 states in the US recognize Denim Day by wearing jeans to work to bring awareness about sexual violence. Because like those members of the Italian Parliament we’re still working to combat the stigma and social attitudes that perpetuate sexual violence. 

This year April 24th has been designated as Denim Day. Won’t you join me in recognizing Denim Day:
1)      Read the story.   That was 16 years ago… is it possible that this same injustice could happen in a courtroom today? Maybe. Rape victims still sometimes feel like they’re on trial instead of the accused…and many don’t pursue prosecution for this reason. Who wants to risk being victimized yet again in court?

2)      Take a stand on Denim Day… wear jeans, share the story… talk about our social attitudes about sexual assault.
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

There are Only Two Ways to Live

At today's Crime Victims' Vigil two articulate young women, both survivors of crimes, spoke eloquently about  how the actions of one person have forever changed their lives. One woman's life  was changed in a millisecond as she was struck by a drunk driver as she stepped out of her car at a gas station. The other endured almost a decade of victimization, as a relative exploited her trust and innocence as he sexually abused her from the time she was four years old until she became a teenager.

As the candles were lit, vigil attendees spoke the names of loved ones whose lives were taken from them far too soon. A child whose life ended after just a few years... because someone drove drunk. A daughter killed by a boyfriend, leaving behind children who would never know their mother. And on...Each year a scroll with crime victims names is displayed at the vigil... there are now 456 names on the scroll. At the vigil it's impossible to think of crime as just statistics. Numerous display boards show photos of love ones lost, but never forgotten.

Despite personal grief, many attendees also offered prayers for families in Newtown, Connecticut and victims of the Boston bombings, where tragedy struck so many at once.  John Kelly,  whom District Attorney Jim Murphy recognized at the vigil for a lifetime of work helping crime victims, offered words to reflect on as we recover from such mass violence, "There are only two ways to live your life... just two. One is in fear; the other is with hope."

Crime Victims’ Vigil: Remembering…Healing … HOPE

Remembering…Healing ... HOPE
This Sunday, April 21st I will once again be attending the annual Crime Victims’ Vigil. It’s certainly not an event I look forward to … but I’m there every year. Why? Because it’s important.

At 4 p.m. the Presbyterian New England Congregational Church will be full of people remembering…grieving…honoring… and healing. There will be many familiar faces from past vigils. Their grief may be less raw…time moves forward; but their losses no less devastating. Other faces are new; this is their first vigil.
Each year District Attorney Jim Murphy honors individuals who have committed their lives to supporting crime victims and protecting their right. These folks always seem humbled by the recognition; they  do this difficult work not for glory, but for justice.
The heart wrenching stories of how crime has taken a son or daughter, has  shattered dreams, or has left a survivor forever scarred, remind me that newspaper accounts about crime can’t possibly convey it’s impact. I think we become desensitized as we read the paper or watch the evening news; the vigil has the opposite effect.
Each year I’m left with one haunting image. There is a scroll with the names of victims written on it. Each year more names are added to the scroll. I recall a decade ago when I first attended the vigil that the unrolled scroll reached to the first few pews of the church. At my first vigil looking at all the names on the scroll I was overcome with sadness. Each year as the scroll unrolls farther down the aisle, almost past the confines of the room, I think, “Is there no end?”
Such sadness--you may question why I go year after year. Because, like Pandora’s box, just when all seems lost the vigil evokes a beaming light radiating throughout the room- Hope. In a room filled with people whose lives have been shattered by crime and whose loved ones have been taken from them, there is support, healing and hope. May we soon see the day when that scroll stops with not one more name added.
Crime Victims’ Vigil
4 p.m. Sunday April 21, 2013
New England Congregational Church
24 Circular Street, Saratoga Springs

"Our Whole Community Needs to Work Together"

Pete Bardunias, president and CEO of the Chamber of Southern Saratoga County, said it best , "These are times our whole community needs to work together to make sure everyone has a good quality of life.” Those are good words of wisdom for building a healthy and vibrant community.   

And that’s what happened at the Women in Business Showcase yesterday. From health screenings to financial health and fitness to fine food provided by Pasta Pane, Chamber women represented their businesses. One business, Cengage Learning, was a prime example of Pete’s strategy of working together to improve everyone’s quality of life.  

DVRC's Kate van Buren  and Erin Coffin
of Cengage Learning helped create the employer awareness kit. 
Cengage, created an employers’ toolkit increase awareness of how relationship abuse can affect the workplace, which they distributed at the Business Showcase. The toolkit, which has an employee awareness poster and a resource guide for managers and supervisors, is designed to give businesses tools to promote workplace safety and to offer resources if an employee experiences relationship abuse. Looking at the resource guide, one business executive remarked, “I’m going to keep this in my files, because I know that someday I’m going to need this. It’s nice to know I’m prepared.”  

To get your employers toolkit, just call DVRC at 518-583-0280… it’s good to be prepared.

Is the Answer as Simple as Kindness?

Lately, we’ve seen national news stories about teen sexual assaults (Steubenvuille, Ohio and Saratoga, California). In recent posts I’ve spoken a lot about underage drinking as a contributing factor. But underage drinking and impaired judgment alone don’t explain why these assaults occur. These assaults have occurred at parties, among friends, even with bystanders observing, laughing and taking photos while the boys take advantage of a drunk girl. We may think of a rapist as a masked stranger who jumps out of the bushes with ill intent. In reality the victim generally knows the rapist. He may be a boyfriend, a date, a family member, an acquaintance or a co-worker.  

That’s the part that has the community confounded. We think rapists are evil people who consciously harm. Yet, in Steubenville the boys never identified that they were sexually assaulting a helpless victim. Onlookers didn’t intervene either. How is it boys who are ‘good kids’ are committing these acts? I recently read an article by Kim Simon, No More Steubenvilles; How to Raise Boys to Be Kind Men, about how we’ve created a culture that contributes to sexual violence. It’s an interesting look at a complicated problem.  

It Can Happen Here Saratoga

Just a few weeks ago I was writing about the Steubenville, Ohio rape case. As I spoke about the volatile mix of underage drinking, cyber-bullying and sexual assault, I noted this could happen anywhere…it could happen here. Today’s news echoes a similar incident in Saratoga… not Saratoga County, NY but Saratoga, California. Tragically, in this case the 15 year old girl committed suicide after the alleged assault. 

This case is still being investigated, but how many such tragedies will happen before we take a firm stand on underage drinking?  

Adolescent drinking is not a rite of passage. Many teens think social drinking and even bingeing are normal when getting together with friends. Teenagers bodies and brains are still developing. Parents, this is important. Any alcohol use jeopardizes your son’s or daughter’s well-being. Adolescent brains function differently. When in emotionally charged situations adolescents do not make decisions using the same rational processes as adults. So although your teen is generally responsible, he/she may behave very differently under  peer pressure and fueled by alcohol. 

There are far too many of these stories of teen lives destroyed when a ‘party’ gets out of control. Your values shape your child’s decisions more than you think. Letting your kids know you do not approve of underage drinking (even if other adults have different views on this) does influence their decisions. Talk to your kids about this and don’t provide alcohol to minors.  

Tomorrow: Alcohol is just one contributing factor in sexual assault like those in Steubenville. Social norms about respecting women and obtaining consent are key factors.