Wellspring - Ending relationship and sexual abuse in Saratoga County


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From Different Nations, but United as Women


Friday was International Women’s Day, but the spirit continued Saturday at Skidmore. I had the honor of participating in a roundtable discussion with 25 women in leadership roles, 17 from South American countries and 8 local women leaders.  

Early in our discussions, I was stuck by the differences in their cultures and ours. Some women described their homeland as a place where girls’ education often ended at elementary school. This aborted schooling was an impediment to equality; without education women lack a voice in government, are less able to become business owners, and have limited economic independence. She spoke about efforts to teach business skills so these women could prosper despite a lack of formal education.

Yet at that table were 17 highly educated and articulate women, attorneys, businesswomen, elected officials and high ranking public servants. It was clear that each woman had struggled against social norms to achieve her post… and each was very conscious that she was a role model and a voice for other women. I was honored to sit among such inspiring leaders.

As our conversation continued, our differences dissolved and the similarities in the issues that concern us brought us to a common ground that gave depth to our exchanges: access to health care, bullying, discrimination against minorities.  When the conversation turned to issues of domestic violence, the issues raised were the very ones I discuss every day. Unquestionably, resources in the US are more plentiful -- one woman stated her country had only one domestic violence shelter in the capital city, although law stipulates states are required to have shelter. But the underlying issues were the same: economic dependence, access to employment and pay equity as obstacles to leaving abuse, concerns for child welfare, and the desire for social change… not only to benefit women, but to benefit families and the country as a whole. When there is justice… all citizens benefit.

SSPD: Prepared to Respond When Needed


Be Prepared… it’s the motto of the Boy Scouts, but good advice for all of us. It may even have played a part in the peaceful resolution of a threat against a Skidmore student earlier this week.  

Over the past two weeks all members of the Saratoga Springs Police Department  attended a half-day training by Bob Passano of the NYS Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence… little did they know that this training would relate to such a high profile incident just days later. Domestic incidents are among the most common situations police respond to … and they are most dangerous and potentially fatal.

Personally, I appreciate Assistant Chief Veitch’s commitment to public safety by coordinating this training, and the work of law enforcement every day in providing a skilled, professional response to victims of intimate partner violence.
 

Abuse starts at home, but doesn’t end there.

Did you know?

21% of adults working full-time have been victims of domestic violence.

40% of these victims report being harassed at work by their abuser.

74% of perpetrators had easy access to their partner’s place of employment, and

21% of offenders contacted their victim at work in violation of an order of protection.1

Domestic violence impacts business through decreased productivity, as well as,  increased absenteeism, employee turnover and health-related costs. When violence leaves the home and enters the workplace, not only the targeted employee, but coworkers and customers are also at risk.

You’ve got a busy business to run… what’s an employer to do?

Employees from the Clifton Park offices of Cengage Learning, a leader in creating instructional materials for schools and universities world-wide, saw this need and took action. They created a toolkit to help Saratoga County business owners better understand how relationship abuse impacts the workplace and developed simple tools to help business owners and supervisors increase awareness, promote workplace safety and address situations.  Contact DVRC today to request your Employer Toolkit… don’t wait until your workplace experiences a crisis.

Cengage Learning has developed tools you can put to use right away to promote the safety and well-being of your employees and the health of your business so you can focus on what you do best… running your business.  Call DVRC at 518-583-0280 to request your Employer Toolkit. You can make a difference!

1.Relationship Abuse: Impacting Businesses in Saratoga County, created by Cengage Learning, 2012

Skidmore Lockdown. Tragedy Averted… This Time

At a Soroptimist meeting last night one conversation turned to the recent Skidmore lockdown. It sounds like campus officials and the SSPD worked diligently to protect not only the student who was the target of this threat, but also the campus and our community.  Our local Soroptimist club has had a long-term, passionate investment in helping domestic violence victims. One member said to me, “Wow, this was an unusual incident in how it escalated to such a crisis.” I immediately said, “No it’s not…we hear about coercion, about threats to cause serious injury every day!”  But in one sense she’s correct. This incident was a headline story in the newspaper… that’s not an everyday occurrence. So why wasthis different?  It’s the same fear/terror … the same calculated threat to control … same sense of powerlessness to know when/where the abuser may strike… what’s different?

This one became public; it’s that simple. A campus was on alert for the safety of all students and the community members surrounding the school. Lately we’ve seen too many tragic examples when personal violence has spilled into public areas, causing devastating tragedy. At DVRC  abuse victims often say they spend their lives walking on eggshells around the abuser so the violence doesn’t erupt. In some sense we’ve become a nation that’s walking on eggshells around the issue of violence… we’ve seen too many instances with senseless and unpredictable deaths.
Domestic violence isn’t a women’s issue… it isn’t a private issue…it affects all of us. Yesterday that message resonated very close to home. Let’s heed that message now… we have to work together to END abuse, not just in our own relationships, but in our community. This tragedy was averted… and the next one? 

Later this week look for more posts about what YOU can do.

16th Annual Bartenders’ Ball

16th Annual Bartenders’ Ball
Saturday, February 9, 2013
6:30 pm – 12 am Midnight
Saratoga Springs City Center

Live music by The Audiostars

Gaming tables by the Lions Club of Saratoga

Proceeds benefit Domestic Violence and Rape Crisis Services of Saratoga County

For information and reservations call 518-583-0280

DVRC Saratoga 30th Anniversary Fundraiser – October 30th

Tickets on SALE NOW!! CALL DVRC at 518-583-0280 or Buy Tickets Online

October marks the National Domestic Violence Awareness month and it is fitting that Saratoga County’s own Domestic Violence Rape Crisis (DVRC) is hosting its 30th Anniversary Fundraiser on October 30th from 6-8:30pm at the Saratoga Springs City Center.

At the Color ME Purple event, DVRC will honor Leadership Saratoga and Soroptimist International of Saratoga County as well as Saratoga County Assistant District Attorney Lyn Murphy and Katharine Winderlin,

Home Instead’s NYS Senior Heroes 2012 Awardee. These groups and individuals have long been dedicated to helping DVRC and victims of domestic and sexual violence. During this event DVRC will also share the promising next steps in our journey to END domestic and sexual violence in Saratoga County and invite everyone to join us.The cost of the event is $75 per person ($35 of each ticket is a charitable donation). There will be complimentary beer, wine, and hors d’oeuvres, and a silent auction.DVRC is founded on the premise that relationships should be safe. No-one should be controlled by or afraid of someone they love. DVRC offers crisis intervention via emergency hotline and shelter, and support services including counseling, legal advocacy, comprehensive case management, support groups, and specialized youth services to over 1,000 victims of domestic and sexual violence each year. All services are confidential, non-judgmental, and free of charge. Contact the 24-hour hotline at 518-584-8188 for assistance.

Please come. Please help END domestic and sexual abuse in Saratoga County. To buy tickets, please contact DVRC at 518-583-0280.

2nd Annual Purple Pooch Parade – Saturday October 6th

Come join us for our 2nd Annual Pooch Parade! As a part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month (October) we are hosting an awareness event in downtown Saratoga Springs on Saturday, October 6th. Each dog requires a $5 registration fee, (and will receive some goodies) but humans are free! Make sure to don your purple and come spend what is sure to be a wonderful Saturday for a walk in the park

Schedule:
10:00am – Activities start and Registration table opens
11:00am – Blessing of the paws and walk begins


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