Wellspring - Ending relationship and sexual abuse in Saratoga County

News & Events

"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.

When Abuse Leaves the Home and Comes to Work

What happens to your staff at home stays there right?  Did you know 21% of US employees experience relationship abuse? Of these, 40% report being harassed while at work. Indeed, 64% of victims report that their work performance is significantly impacted by their situation; they also average 26% more tardiness and absenteeism than those not experiencing abuse.
What would you do if your employee disclosed he/she was abused at home? It's hard enough running a business and addressing the needs of your employees at work. A manager's job gets even harder when an employee's home life impacts their work performance... and can also impact the safety of their co-workers. What can you do?
Cengage Learning, a leading educational services company is working with Domestic Violence and Rape Crisis Services of Saratoga County (DVRC) to help employers make a difference in the lives of their employees, and in their own bottom line. Volunteers from Cengage Learning have created a simple and easily accessible toolkit for employers to use and share with their employees. There are many early warning signs of relationship abuse. And there are easy ways to help. Employers can make a real difference for their employees and for their business.
The toolkit designed by Cengage helps you to focus on running your business. Did you also know that DVRC provides no-cost assistance to employers to help them best respond when domestic violence affects their employees or workplace. Call DVRC at 518-583-0280 to receive the toolkit or to talk with our staff about your concerns.
You can also speak with Cengage and DVRC directly this Wednesday, April 17thfrom 11:30 – 1:30 at the Women in Business Mid-Day Showcase at the Chamber of Southern Saratoga County.

Aprons in Action- cast your vote today

"When our perils are past,
shall our gratitude sleep?"
George Canning

You can help Saratoga County Rural Preservation Company secure $25,000 from the Home Depot for renovations to Guardian House, a housing program that helps female veterans transition back into the community and self-sufficiency. The proposed plans include a study area to help vets improve employment opportunities, an exercise area , and a garden... renovations to support our female vets in mind, body and spirit.

Please help Home Depot  support our local vets by visiting their Aprons in Action page on facebook and selecting Saratoga County RPC- Vet Help. They're in a close race to be the winner... your vote can make the difference, so don't wait!  You can vote every day until the end of April.


Sole Survivor- What You Need to Know After a Sexual Assault

 These shoes represent the 123 sexual assault survivors
DVRC assisted last year.
DVRC’s Sole Survivorproject aims to increase awareness about the prevalence of sexual assault. Awareness alone isn’t enough. It may be an interesting fact that DVRC assisted 123 survivors of sexual assault last year alone, but it’s not enough to just know the numbers. When I look at 123 pairs of shoes, I think about 123 people whose lives were irreparably changed because of the assault. In my April 9th blog post I spoke about the victims of sexual assault who never seek services from an agency like DVRC. Those people far outnumber the ones who do.

Why don’t people seek help? For many it’s simply because they never imagined ever being a rape victim and after the traumatizing assault they didn’t know where to turn. If someone you know is even in this situation, here’s what you need to know:

What to do if you are raped…
1. Go to a safe place
2. Do not shower, bathe, urinate, douche, or brush your teeth
3. Save all clothing from the assault
4. Do not disturb the crime scene
5. Seek medical help at the hospital
6. At the hospital a specially trained Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner can collect evidence that can be used to prosecute the crime if you choose to do so. You do not need to make this decision right away, but having the forensic exam preserves the evidence while you decide.

The decisions are yours to make:
1. You do not have to report to law enforcement to receive help.
2. A DVRC advocate can accompany you to medical services or to report the crime if you choose to do so.
3. We can discuss your options and available resources.
4. We are available 24 hours a day by calling 518-584-8188.


Let’s See Your Shoes Today

DVRC's staff taking a step to end sexual violence

April is
Sexual Assault
Awareness Month
Help us to increase awareness .
This Thursday, April 11th, 2013 take a stand against sexual assault. Let your friends know you're working to end sexual violence.
Today, change your facebook profile picture to a pair of your shoes and tag us to the photo. Remember to like our facebook page.


April 11th… Let Your Shoes Say It For You

 Sole Survivor
These shoes represent 123 sexual assault survivors ...
are there another 492 we don't see?

Saratoga County… it’s a safe community, good neighbors, cultural activities galore, economic growth. Even the best communities have their problems… and often they are hidden. We’re just not aware if we don’t see it. Domestic Violence and Rape Crisis Services assisted 123 sexual assault survivors in 2012 alone. Looking at the shoes I get a sense of just how many people that number 123 represents. That’s a lot.
The U.S. Dept. of Justice, reports that only 20% of sexual assault victims ever seek help from an agency such as ours. I imagine four more double flights of stairs representing the estimated 492 sexual assault victims we didn’t see, those who didn’t know where to turn for help… in 2012 alone. In Saratoga County? Who knew?
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Help us to increase awareness of sexual assault. Why?
· So that survivors of sexual assault get the support they need to recover, heal and find a measure of justice.
· So that we can we can reduce the number of sexual assaults in our county.
· Because even one victim who is sexually violated is one too many.
Help us to increase awareness. Please join me this Thursday, April 11th, 2013 and take a stand against sexual assault. Change your facebook profile picture to a pair of your shoes and tag us to the photo. And remember to like our page!
My shoes...standing for what I believe in


Related post:http://maggiefronk.blogspot.com/2013/04/sole-survivor123.html

If you need help or know someone who may, you can call our hotline 24/7
You are not alone

I’m Not Laughing this Time

I talk a lot about ending relationship abuse--all forms: dating violence, domestic violence, stalking and sexual assault. It sounds like an easy task doesn’t it? I’ve even had people say, “Who could possibly be in favor of those things?” Good point.

Sometimes, the hard part is recognizing the slippery slope of behaviors that lead to abuse. When does teasing become bullying? When does grumpiness after a hard day become a pattern of verbal abuse that leaves a partner continually walking on eggshells to avoid an outburst? When does phoning a dating partner often to check in become controlling and harassing?  When we see the news headline or the Lifetime movie, the abuses are always clear. But in our day to day life, it’s easy to totally miss behaviors which by themselves don’t seem outrageous, but when they become a pattern can be devastating.

Last night my family was watching America’s Funniest Videos. Along with the cute pet antics and adorable baby videos there are always: plenty of collisions involving vehicles from tricycles to monster trucks, gravity-inspired falls, crotch mishaps… and pranks.  Last night’s show had one segment with an older brother wearing a frightening mask and to scare his younger sibling in the shower...while videotaping the whole incident.  The younger boy was clearly upset by his brother’s intrusion… and kept saying so as the camera rolled.  I have two sons so  I've heard my share of brothers annoying each other. Grown up now they’re great friends, but as we sat on the couch last night I thought I saw the younger one shake his head remembering.

As I watched the show I, too, was shaking my head-- not only was brotherly bullying seen as funny, but funny enough to send in and share the moment with the whole country on prime time TV. Wasn’t there any adult somewhere along the line to say, “That’s enough” before that scene played itself out in my living room? Well I guess I was wrong, because that video was selected as the grand prize winner … worth a $30,000 prize. Wow that’s a big reward for a bullying behavior. Talking to the younger sib, Tom Bergeron said, “You didn’t seem scared… just really POed.” Yeah… so why did we reinforce this as funny by selecting it as the big winner?

Schools tell us bullying is a huge problem. We try to teach kids to be an ally and stand up for others. Yet a family-friendly TV show just ‘endorsed’ bullying behaviors, accompanied by the laughter of the audience and a big check.  Is it any wonder our kids get confused?