Wellspring - Ending relationship and sexual abuse in Saratoga County

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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?   

Thinking Outside the Lunchbox

I love it-- thinking outside the box to find creative solutions to everyday problems.  

For Shelters of Saratoga (SOS), the creative approach has provided an opportunity to provide delicious, nutritious meals to the homeless in their emergency homeless shelter while also supporting local youth and inspiring them to become active helping the less fortunate  in their community . 

For several months, students in the BOCES culinary program have been preparing meals for guests at the SOS homeless shelter.   Now they’ve been selected to participate in a nationwide State Farm Neighborhood Assist contest to win $25,000.  Those funds will be used to purchase the ingredients needed for the preparation of meals each weekday for the 32 homeless adults residing at SOS. But they need your votes between April  4 to April 22 to be selected for the $25,000.  

Simply log onto your Facebook account and click on the link below. Then vote "Culinary Kids Caring" until "0 votes remain" (you can vote 10 times with just one visit.)   


Sole Survivor…123

Byron R. White was right, Short of homicide, [rape] is the "ultimate violation of self." 
At DVRC we see women and men who have experienced that ultimate violation… and who have survived.  And what do we mean by survive? Each individual’s path to recovery, healing and trust is different. Some may try to just move on with everyday life and put the sexual assault out of their mind… only to have it creep back in weeks, months or even decades later. 
Some may choose to report the crime and through the courts seek a measure of justice for themselves and the hope that their actions will prevent another rape from happening. Sometimes the road to justice itself can be difficult and traumatizing. As Freda Alder said, “Rape is the only crime in which the victim becomes the accused.” 
The path from victim to survivor is as individual as the people who have trod those miles. Last year, DVRC provided counseling to 123 such survivors…123.  Some came to us only after long periods of keeping the rape a secret, but found healing once they sought support. Each journey is different. If you or someone you know had been sexually assaulted, you are not alone and we can help. 
DVRC’s Sole Survivorcampaign is a pictorial tribute to the brave souls who have traveled that path from victim to survivor. 123 …it’s just a number, but each pair of shoes represents one person who has experienced that ultimate violation. When I look at the shoes, I cannot help but imagine the person who may have been wearing those shoes, and I begin to think about the people I know and imagine if 123 people I knew had been raped.  And then I realize what a huge number 123 really is, and I want to take action: first to make sure that every victim has access to support… then to work to reduce that number. 
123 is 123 too many.

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

Put Yourself in Her Shoes

Shoes… Can you think of  an apparel item that’s more universally connected to us? Shoes protect us on our journeys. Support us. Keep us warm and dry. And footwear certainly expresses our individualism. Stilettos, hiking boots, flip flops, sneakers… they tell a lot about us.  In our everyday language, the mention of shoes is often a call to empathy and human connection:
             Don’t judge a man until you’ve walked a mile in his moccasins.
              Those are going to be hard shoes to fill.

               None of the village’s children have ever even worn shoes.


Every pair of shoes  below represents one rape crisis client at DVRC in 2012.

Think about it... every pair of shoes represents one rape survivor helped by DVRC  in 2012
When we read in the newspaper about a rape happening, we’re shocked and concerned for our community’s safety, but do we think of that victim and how the assault will change her/his life?  I’m often struck by our desire for the media to tell us more, to answer all our  unanswered questions… I think we forget that there’s a victim out there who  was traumatized by the assault and whose life continues to be impacted every time (s)he watches the evening news, walks to class and sees  a campus safety alert, or overhears a conversation at the water cooler. It’s easy to forget that news reports are about people and that rape changes a person’s life forever.  But when I look at their shoes, I’m reminded.

The wearer knows best where the shoe pinches.

 Irish proverb

Shoes … in Reflection

It looks like the piles of shoes at DVRC  that I mentioned in yesterday's post have taken to the streets. If you're pondering what this is about, here's  something to guide your thinking.

The solemnity of the War Memorial in Congress Park, provides the right ambience for this young woman to contemplate the shoes on their first public appearance.

Shoe Obsession.. or Something More?

Shoes! This is a familiar scene in DVRC's offices this week. In fact, we have about 13 piles that look just like this.
What's up? Are we cleaning out our closets? Was there a big sale at Shoes-R-Us? Have we hired someone named Imelda? Why are shoes suddenly so important to us?

Check the blog all this week for more info. (Hint: It has nothing to do with April Fools Day.)