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2017 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Break the Silence Against Domestic Violence Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Mission: The organization has been formed to instruct individuals for the purpose of improving or developing their capabilities, to educate the public on subjects useful to the individual and beneficial to the community, and to provide relief to the poor, distressed and underprivileged. Our organization has designed and developed a program to educate the community about domestic violence and help victims and survivors of this issue find resources if needed.

Programs: Annual wellness retreat for victims and survivors of domestic violence, child abuse or secual assault. Retreat includes breakout sessions, learning sessions, open mic sessions & fund exercises. They provide mental and emotional healing and support.

semi-annual education days for students in high school and college to learn more about domestic violence and how to get involved to stop it. Fliers, brochures, new beginnings emergency kits, and contact information will be provided.

Women’s Revitalization Retreat: To support a leadership development program, which empowers female survivors of domestic violence as they partake in workshops devoted to promoting a positive self-image, individual development, life skills training, and enrichment courses. Empowerment Groups: Break the Silence against Domestic Violence offers a holistic and hands-on approach to connecting victims and survivors through a safe and welcoming meeting space bi-weekly for individuals to gain valuable community resources and self-empowerment. *We now provide these groups via webcast for survivors worldwide. The Grants of Hope Financial Empowerment Program: provides survivors of domestic violence with financial assistance to help overcome economic challenges as a direct result from financial abuse. National Scholarship Program: Break the Silence against Domestic Violence recognizes and honors victims, survivors, children, and relatives of those affected by domestic violence through our annual scholarship program. Recipients must be committed to academic excellence, leadership, and community service. Holidays of Hope: Blessing families with hope during the holiday season with gifts as a small reminder that there will be better days. BTS Talks: BTS Workshops provide education on domestic violence to help youth, young adults and professionals gain an overall understanding of domestic violence.

Community Stories

36 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Kyra B.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Break the Silence changed my life. I was looking for a family to be able to share what I have been through and not feel judged. The BTS retreat just did that ! I now have a sisterhood of women I can share with and I know will always be here! I am a Senior at UAlbany and now volunteer with BTS I want to help as many women as possible BTS gives me the support and platform to be able to do this with

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I was in a 34 year marriage of verbal emotional and physical abuse I had 3 children and I chose to suffer in silence because I wanted them to have a normal upbringing and I am proud to say that they did. I didn't see any red flags we were both the same age when we married 27 years we were both catholic he was Irish my father was Irish it was like it was meant to be my first punch to my stomach came 3 months into the marriage it was only 15 months from meeting him to getting married but that first punch I'll never forget I was to ashamed to tell my family and the next day he said sorry and it will never happen again. For a lot of years it was all verbal and emotional I was fat ugly bellittled in front of people to make him look good I hated myself but for some strange reason I truly thought I loved him when he became physical I blamed the drink because he said sorry the next day and he really must control hid drinking but he only got worse we lived on a farm and it usually took place in the shed so the kids couldn't hear and he was so clever he bruised me where I could cover up after 15 years of marriage I still covered for him I felt so alone and ashamed I hated myself and I started to believe I was ugly fat and stupid and because he Owns a company and for tax reasons put my name on the company I couldn't work so of course in front of the children he would say I was lazy and no good to any one not like the lady next door or the lady up the road who worked to help there husbands I was a lazy selfish ugly no good for nothing to anyone and continued to tell me that no one liked me because I was lazy in the end I found I blamed myself and thought I had no friends as he wouldn't allow me and I had limited time with my family but he was right because everyone who met him seemed to be happy around him so yes if I burnt the potatoes and got hit well I did deserve to get hit because it was my fault I added water to them turned the gas low but I did go out the back and have a smoke so yes of course it was all my fault I was stupid and I couldn't leave because I had no money I only had my parents who's home wasn't big enough for me and my 3 kids so I couldn't go anywhere and bedsides I'm thinking it's what I'm meant to do in life as I'm Irish catholic so yes this is what I was put on this earth to do look after my family I think you can see where I'm going with my storyline I will end it now as if after 34 years I would as you people would imagine I would be writing a novel but on the 24 th September 2016 my life took an unexpected turn it was a Saturday night at approximately 7.56 pm I hadn't seen him nearly all day he had been in the shed for most of the time but I didn't think about him I was folding clothes and putting them away I was then 61 years old humming away to myself my 2 sons no longer lived at home my daughter did but was out for the night leaving us 2 alone in the house I was in a happy mood next he ran in the house threw a case on the bed he screamed you low lying f... c... you have 5 minutes to pack the case or I will go to the shed and get an axe and split your head in two and I will do a good job this time as your worth sitting in a f cell for you c I tried to calm him as I looked at him for the first time in 34 years I can't believe he's completely sober no alcohol maybe just a couple his eyes were black his face was red and distorted I had never well I have but only once before but my daughter pulled him off me but this time we were alone and now he's screaming f ... C ... 3 minutes before I get the axe your not packing fast enough now I was terrified he'd gone out to the kitchen area but I had to walk past him to get out to the garage where my car was I was shaking uncontrollably in fear I rang the only person I couldn't stand but out of desperation and she only lived around the corner I rang in my bathroom very softly his niece could she please just come and talk to him and calm him down she said NO she had 2 drinks and could not drive but with her youth and long legs I thought she would run around but no she wouldn't help me I don't know where I got the courage but I got the case car keys in my hand $5 in my purse ran past him to my car and drove to my mums house shaking so much I seriously don't know how I drove but because he was sober I couldn't blame the drink anymore I never went back he tried to get me back but from that moment on I knew he would one day kill me I am a survivor it's been a year now I'm in the family court with him I managed to get a lawyer and I have after 10 months of sleeping in my mums bed as it's only 2 bedroom and my brother lives there also it wasn't fair on my 83 year old mother or myself at 61 years but I'm now on my own in a rental unit as because he's wealthy and the company I cannot get help from the government he's paying me spousel maintenance and now it's a year we can have everything valued and I am hoping to be able in time to buy a small unit for myself and help my now 3 adult children I'm so happy now and apart from giving me the 3 kids that terrible night was the biggest favour he's ever done for me as I know now it was never normal because sometimes it would all get to me and I would say to myself if I just go back to him it will be normal it's that one word that stops me because it was never normal I didn't in 34 years of marriage once call the police and I never because he was there father and I guess self blame no self respect or esteem I never once bad mouthed him to the kids that's a problem I'm having at the moment with my eldest son and his partner to them if he was this bad why didn't I call the police why didn't I leave it's so very hard for them to understand he's almost 32 years and him and his partner have no contact with me because they don't really believe me but if my son is happy I'm happy as I know it's his girlfriend that's putting him in a situation he probably doesn't want to be in but he doesn't believe that his father would do that and my other son and his partner are fine with me also my daughter but he still is delusional I will one day go back to him No Never not until HELL FREEZES OVER I Am A SURVIVOR it's been the fight of my life but after 34 years of marriage that was emotional verbal and physical abuse I've never been happier and in a way because my children have turned out to be children I'm so very proud of I think if I had to suffer in silence for them I would but now I don't love that monster I feel absolutely nothing for him I'm amazed every day by that because I never in a million years thought I'd ever be capable of hate but I feel contempt for him now I refuse to even call him a man I call him a pathetic person and I've learned how to google and he's Narcissistic and I suffer but I am getting stronger I've been hospitalized twice this year for my nerves but yes I'm becoming stronger now but I do suffer from Battered Women Syndrome but getting abused for 34 years is it any wonder I bless everyday now and now I have a life at 62 years I have lunch with girlfriends and movies or just there house the support was absolutely amazing and my family have been supportive so say a prayer for me please whoever reads this as I still need to find the strength to fight this man in court and for giving me the strength not to go back because I know if I do one day he will definitely have killed me thanks for letting me get it out and anyone especially if your only young listen to an old woman who has lived abuse and survived please try and look for signs just when you start dating because it doesn't matter how many times the man will tell you it will never happen again well it does only it gets worse and to the point woman are dying at the hands of these evil monsters God Bless Shelagh

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We lost our Alicia December 27, 2016. Kristen and I spoke just a few weeks after her murder. She was so caring and compassionate. I was given a brief history of BTS and know I wanted to do something to help against this horrid cycle, that is more rampant that the public may realize.

When we all arrived at the location of the angel retreat, we were instantly family. We hugged, talked, looked into each others eyes, all knowing every one of us understood exactly the emotional, mental and even physical trauma we have endured from not just the brutal murders, but the court cases, the family members that fall by the wayside or just flat betray you because they are grieving in their own ways and don't know how to handle it.

I will always be a part of BTS to help raise awareness against domestic violence by being Alicia's voice for the remainder of my life.

I would encourage anyone who has survived or lost someone due to domestic violence, please reach out. It is a healing experience that is full of love and amazing people who truly understand and be by your side.

Bring on Angel Run 2018!!

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am passionate about raising DV awareness. I lost my mother to DV when she was 43 & I was 23. I left my own relationship that was turning bad fast. The Angel Retreat program allowed me to meet other survivors healing from the loss of a Loved one.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I became aware of BTSADV the fall of 2015 after the demise of a verbally & psychologically abusive relationship. I was searching online for answers and came across their Facebook page. August of 2016 BTSADV published my survivor story. I first met Kristen and other survivors in the fall of 2016 after I was invited to a meet and greet in Colorado Springs, CO. By January of 2017 I decided to become a volunteer and was tasked with coordinating the Angel Run in Colorado Springs. The support I have received and the connections I have made have allowed me to feel confident sharing my story so that others can feel confident, too. BTSADV and the programs that are provided to various communities are so beneficial to so many. Kristen is a motivational, inspiring leader and I am proud to be associated.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have had the opportunity to get to know the people who are part of this organization. I wish there was an organization like this when I needed them in the early 90's. This organization absolutely has a passion and has compassion for the fight against domestic violence. I have volunteered with other organizations and I am very impressed by this one. BTS doesn't just help others, they empower them, they support them, they cheer people on while they learn to be independent. I am honored to be a part of this organization and to have such an outreach to be able to help others.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My daughter Audrey was only 19 when she was murdered by her ex-fiancé. She left behind her 8 months old baby. Break the Silence has helped me learn there are so many avenues of help and healing. Recently I was blessed to attend their first annual Angel Retreat and it absolutely changed my life. I had been withdrawn and had so many walls built up around me because I felt alone in this journey and was apprehensive about attending and being around people but from the second I walked into the retreat I felt loved and at peace for the first time in over 7 years. This family that we are now will forever be part of my life and has given me a new purpose to stand up and break the silence!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Break the Silence ADV has had a huge positive impact on my life. In 2012 I was attacked and sent to the hospital by my abuser, leaving me with some serious trauma. When I came back to California I seeked help, support and services online.... and came across BTSADV. In May 2017 I attended the Survivor's Retreat and immediately felt the connections and support I was needing. I obtained the strentgh and courage to share my story and be able to break my silence. I am now a DV advocate and help this nonprofit organization in any way that I can.

Thank you BTSADV!!!!

xo,
Mimi

Laura357

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I recently attended the 1st Angel Family Retreat. I was a little nervous about going because I felt like I would be alone. I was so wrong! I've felt so much love from everyone. I addressed my hurt and pain that I haven't really addressed because I have had the strong one in my family. The 4 days we were there we bonded as a family. I highly recommend anyone who has lost a loved one to domestic violence, attend this retreat. Everyone there understands your pain and is dedicated to helping you heal. I love my BTS family!

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

What I love about BTS is that we are all family. I know I can contact any of my BTS sisters about anything and they are always there for me, no matter what! Love you sisters!!

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I attended the Women's Revitalization Reatreat in May of 2016. After almost losing my life to my abuser in Dec 2009, I had already come a long way in my healing - however, I knew I would still get something out of going. I can honestly say it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. It is an indescribable feeling to be around 35 other women who have been through what you have. I always had a large support system of family and friends, that being said, no one really knows how damaging it is to be in an abusive relationship unless they have been through it themselves. To have the support of so many others who understand you without having to explain yourself is an incredible feeling. I realized then that BTS is so much more than an organization, it is truly a family of survivors helping and supporting each other all over the country. I believe wholeheartedly in the mission and values of BTS and knew it was an organization I wanted to stand begind 100%. I now am an admin for the Facebook page, am co-chair of the fundraising committee, and serve on the Board of Directors. BTS has inspired and empowered me in more ways than I thought possible and I couldn't be more proud to be a part of such a phenomenal organization.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a survivor of domestic violence who endured all forms of abuse for over four years. By the time I was able to find a window of opportunity to escape my abuser in 12/2012, he had become so physically violent that risk of fatality was a certainty. While I have worked through so much of the damage that waited for me, I still occasionally struggle with PTSD triggers as well as recurrent health issues directly related to injuries sustained during the abuse.

When I left, I had not yet connected with Break the Silence Against Domestic Violence. I connected to the organization and its amazing founder, Kristen Paruginog, through Facebook in 2014. From the beginning, I noticed something special about her and BTS and became a regular donor. Recently, I was invited by Kristen into BTS as a blogger and social media admin. I feel blessed to have been able to witness not only the growth of BTS but how its passion touches and improves the lives of so many.

Not only is BTS committed to helping victims break free of abuse, Kristen has also made it a priority to provide continued support for survivors and invests herself fully in our healing and progress. Beyond that, BTS is actively involved in community outreach in terms of education and awareness of domestic violence. All the advocates and volunteers are bonded by the same passion to make sure we all can live lives free of violence. Kristen's enthusiasm, energy, and compassion are contagious, and we are all blessed with her and the collective group's passion to end domestic violence.

2 Amy_315

Volunteer

Rating: 5

How can I put Into words what this Organization has done for me? I pray that my words do justice because this was the beginning of a major life change for me.

As a survivor of childhood neglect and abuse as well as a survivor of domestic violence in my adult life, I stumbled on BTS by chance on Facebook.

For the first time I didn't feel alone in my feelings, overnight I became part of a "family" of survivors who understood me! I no longer felt alone because I never really was.

With the support of this new family of mine I opened up my broken heart and got real healing for the first time! I broke my silence.

I have attended the last 3 years of women's revitalization retreat. Last year as a leader to help others and will doing the same in 2017.

I went from being a broken victim to an empowered survivor/thriver.

I realized I am not my abuse, that is just a part of my story that doesn't have to define me. I was able to get the counseling I needed and work on breaking the cycle of abuse for future generations. As a family we have openly talked about and actively worked on our healing together.

I am in the process of writing my story in a book for healing and will actively be touring the country this year to speak to others about my transformation as an effort to empower others to break free of the chains of abuse.

Without BTS I never would have learned to love myself and found my true healer Jesus Christ along the way!

Thank you from the bottom of my heart

1 Doris12

Volunteer

Rating: 5

BTS is an organization who truly cares for their members and their communities. It is an organization who makes you feel like family. As a survivor of domestic violence, you often feel alone. BTS removes that feeling of loneliness from those who have been through these tragic issues and embraces them as part of their family.

They not only help survivors through their retreats, grant programs, support groups, etc., they take proactive measures to help educate others so that domestic violence can be prevented.

The founder, Kristen, and her team are some of the most kindest and genuine people you can meet. They are not only passionate about the cause...they have lived it and understand what it is to be victimized and survive.

This is a great organization to get involved with and help support. You will help save lives!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

On May 22, 2016 a day before my niece Nevaeh turned 11 years old my older sister, Nevaeh's mother was murdered in her presence. Our family has been greatly affected by this tragedy. My sister was a victim of domestic violence and was unable to free herself from the situation. She was abused daily and felt like she was not worth anything but she was and is still worth more than she could ever imagine. My sister left behind five beautiful girls and two of them with disabilities. We have been blessed to have been able to have these wonderful people wrap their arms around us. I could write so much more but my heart is still aching at this moment

Megan146

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Hi!! I'm BTS Sister Meg :) I am a DV survivor of 15 years. I have been a survivor since 4/2014. I also have multiple sclerosis which makes me tired and quite sick often, along with physical and emotional DV trauma I live with daily. I am a disabled, single mother of 2 beautiful girls, Kylie and Zoey, ages 7 and 3. Their smiles and laughs light up my life. I have remained strong throughout everything I have been through thanks to BTS and continue to be an inspiration to so many through BTS and in my hometown in upstate NY. I am an admin of the BTS FB page, posting on Thursdays and the BTS NY/NJ page. I am also gearing up to be on the BTS survivor hotline soon. I went to the BTS retreat this past May and loved the experience. I found a loving sisterhood for life. They are truly like family to me. It's nice to know I'm not alone. I was a survivor speaker twice, once in my hometown and again in NYC for BTS this past October. It is my passion to help people along their healing journeys. BTS has made me not feel ashamed to tell my story or be hesitant to post anything DV related. I have found so much support and encouragement with BTS. I feel good that I broke my silence and BTS has been there for me all the way, which in turn encourages me to be there to help and heal others, as they did for me.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

It was two years after my 22 year old daughter was murdered on Thanksgiving night. I was struggling to exist in a world without my child. I stumbled across this Facebook page with a young woman sharing her story of abuse and how she would not be silenced ever again. She had so many things in common with my daughter. Everything from her love of pageants to making others laugh and smile. I shared my daughter's tragic story with the founder. Little did I know that we were meant to meet, we were meant to become family, we were meant to join forces and change the world ...one victim at a time. She held my hand and led me out of the darkness of grief and helped me begin my healing process. And now we share our Angel's story with the world and empower victims to begin their own personal journey to healing. My daughter thought she could leave tomorrow but her tomorrow never came. Love, hugs and prayers from Mama Tammy

Board Member

Rating: 5

Break the Silence fills a very unique and much needed place of belonging for domestic violence survivors like me. My interaction with other survivors has been healing, but it is even more rewarding to know that my investment of time and money is literally saving and changing lives.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter was murdered along with the man she was dating by her ex boyfriend. She left behind her son Caleb. I'm raising him now. He is such a blessing to me . I reached out to BTS after finding them on Facebook. They continue to remember not only my daughter, but also her son . They have helped us in continuing to live life and know that they love and care about us. No one else, let alone a large organization like BTS has shown us that kind of caring. Kristen Paruginog, the amazing person that started this is always working on new projects. Many of these include our angels that didn't make it and our families. I can't say enough about this wonderful, life changing organization!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have enjoyed volunteering with BTS. From the beginning I have seen the founder, Kristen Paruginog, be concerned that no one else will find them self in the same situation that she was in. She tirelessly educates all will listen about red flags in relationships, what to do if you need to get out of an abusive relationship, and the organizatioin is help to reach out financially to help those wanting to be free, or who need help after they walk out of these relationships. Her vision is huge and she has a caring and compassionate heart. She has found others just like her to stand beside her and further her vision. I am amzed at what she has done in such a small amount of time.

2 Lee_58

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I'm so grateful and fulfilled to meet Kristen owner of BTS. The organization is so amazing. There are women from all over the states who emotionally, spiritually support my kids and I! BTS REALLY backs up every word they speak of. Definition of love, support, and healing!! I really was able to release pain I've been carrying for 13 years. I shed so much pain and anger being apart of BTS only 1 month lol! Ive gained lifetime friends!! I thank God for BTS who has created a Life changing experience for me!!