Monday, November 30, 2015

Tuesday is the Day for Giving

So the turkey leftovers are all gone. Hopefully between Black Friday and Small Business Saturday, you've gotten a start on your holiday shopping.  And if you're like me and prefer to skip the crowds, today's the day to sit on the couch and take advantage of the Cyber Monday deals; then wait for the packages to arrive on the porch in a few days. 
But before you put the list away, there's one more important item. Don't forget about #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving. So think about the causes you care about. While you’re making the season brighter for friends and family, you can also make an impact by supporting the nonprofit agencies dedicated to that cause. While you may not get the immediate thrill of seeing joy on someone’s face after they tear off the wrapping paper, you’ll know that you’ve made a difference. 
If  you’re interested in helping to address Saratoga County’s the #2 violent  crime, #1 cause of family homelessness, and top cause of homicide,  might I suggest a donation to Wellspring. 
  • $20 provides taxi fare for a domestic violence victim to get to court 
  • $50 helps a family with their first week of groceries as they move into a violence-free home 
  • $200 provides legal advocacy so a domestic violence victim can access an order of protection, and  
  • $500 provides 3 days of prevention programs in a local high school reducing the incidence of dating violence and sexual assault for our youth.  
Click here to make a one-time or a recurring donation to Wellspring.

Whether you care about saving the manatees, bringing music to disadvantaged neighborhoods, or ending relationship and sexual abuse, thanks for caring and sharing this holiday season by supporting your favorite charity.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Orange is the New Purple?

In the past, I've asked you to wear purple during October (Domestic Violence Awareness Month), teal in April (Sexual Assault Awareness Month) and denim on Denim Day. I  hope you've got a rainbow of colors in your closet because tomorrow I'm suggesting you wear orange. Why? In 1999, the United Nations' General Assembly   declared November 25th as the International Day for the Awareness of Violence Against Women. Here's why:

  • 35% of women and girls globally experience some form of physical and or sexual violence in their lifetime with up to seven in ten women facing this abuse in some countries.

  • An estimated 133 million girls and women have experienced some form of female genital mutilation/cutting in the 29 countries in Africa and the Middle East where the harmful practice is most common.

  • Worldwide, more than 700 million women alive today were married as children, 250 million of whom were married before the age of 15. Girls who marry before the age of 18 are less likely to complete their education and more likely to experience domestic violence and complications in childbirth.

  • The costs and consequence of violence against women last for generations.

  • As I'm thinking of all the things in my life to be thankful for, I'm glad I live in the US. While we certainly have problems with gender based violence, the magnitude pales in comparison to other parts of the world. Want to learn more? Take a moment to view this infographic about worldwide violence against women.

    Join me tomorrow in raising awareness so we can achieve peace and equality for women worldwide.

    Wednesday, November 18, 2015


    Imagine what it feels like to not trust that your thoughts, observations and recollections of events are true. Imagine the embarrassment of having a loved one regularly correct what you say explaining what really happened.

    Now imagine that the trusted loved one is deliberately manipulating the truth to cause you doubt, psychological dissonance... and to control you. That's gaslighting... and it's a common form of psychological control used in abusive relationships. To learn more about gaslighting click here.

    Alone,  gaslighting itself is damaging, destructive and frightening, but it rarely occurs as a sole abuse tactic. Often it's combined with social isolation, where the abuser gradually and insidiously decimates his/her partner's social support system.  Sometimes this is subtle;
    " Let's not go out; when I'm not at work I just want to be with you... no one else." or
    "Are you going out with friends again; what about me?"
    Gradually it may become more insistent,
    "Your sister keeps trying to come between us; I don't like it when you spend time with her." 
    Sometimes, the abuser may physically separate his/her partner from social supports, e.g., by taking a job and moving the family to a distant location and limiting contact with friends or family.

    When gaslighting is combined with social isolation the domestic violence victim's world may shrink down to only the input of his/her abusive partner. Without others to provide feedback, the abuser's voice becomes the only source of feedback... and as he/she regularly denies and contradicts their reality, the victim starts to question every thought. This psychological abuse doesn't happen overnight, but over time becomes absolutely crippling as every thought, decision or action is questioned.

    Often people think of domestic violence as physical abuse. The 'black eye poster', the dramatic movie with a terribly bruised woman, and yes, even the recent elevator video... these are the images that inform our concept of domestic violence. In the absence of physical abuse, victims often minimize the abuse. So even though we understand that domestic violence also includes emotional and psychological abuse, social isolation, economic abuse and sexual abuse, too often when physical abuse is lacking we fail to identify domestic violence... and fail to seek help.
    If you or someone you know experiences any form of abusive power and control, call us...we can help.

    24 hour hotline 518-584-8188
    Office 518-583-0280