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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

54 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

TereD

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I was 18 when I first met my abusive ex husband and stayed married for more than 20 years for the kids sake. At first, he was charming and friendly, a shoulder I could cry on. But it changed quickly especially after I ran off with him and got pregnant. The fist slap was before we got married and I was 3 montns pregnant. I, too, like so many women believed that the kids needed their mother and father together to have a "normal upbringing." My son and daughter are both successful adults and great people I'm very proud of, despite of it all, and are my silver linings through the dark clouds. However, the manipulation, verbal, mental, physical abuse that I went through as a naive, helpless, trapped young woman was too much to bear. Yet, I stayed and took it all in silence for years. I didn't know my rights at the time, did not call the police at all as I was both ashamed and at same time protecting my abuser thus becoming a victim who was complicit to her own abuse and misery by being silent. No one deserves to be abused nor anyone has any right to strike another person. My advice is to leave, report the person to the police, and get the proper help/support as it is not gonna get better by staying and being silent. Such silence just gives more power to the abuser believing that you will never leave nor do anything about it as my ex had taunted me with for years. So it was a shock to him when I did finally leave. He begged and harrassed me for more than a year. He was not just a coward but also a manipulator who was afraid to lose what he thought he can control.

My life has never been more peaceful since I left that dysfunctional marriage and my relationship with my son and daughter is also better. Living the life I want to live drama/abuse free and with zest. So take control and break the silence!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

One year ago my abuser dropped dead at my new apt . It was the best thing that could of happened to me . My friends always told me I would never get rid of him unless he dies . I couldn't of asked for a better miracle. This may sound insensitive ,but I suffered 9years of hell verbal abuse to its max . This person had the power to ruin my life ,and my inner spirit as well . Now that he is gone , The after affects are worse . I am on multiple anxiety medications , I have flashbacks, I am paranoid, I can't sleep , and I keep thinking he is coming back . I cannot focus .it's a life I would not wish on any woman . People say leave . Not as easy as yu might think . And if that person states that he is going to kill yu . Believe him , because he will . Get out . Your personal belongings mean nothing compared to your life . Having your life as your own back ,is the greatest gift yu will ever be thankful to get back .

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Break the Silence (BTS) changed my life. I attended the sisterhood retreat, and I left feeling empowered, loved, blessed beyond belief, and a lot of my anger was left behind. Now as a volunteer, I can help bring BTS to my community and help other survivors.

Pamela W.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have only interacted with BTSADV online but they have a great support network, providing resources and education as well as a platform for victims and survivors to come together in a safe place and share experiences.

Sheila Joel C.

Client Served

Rating: 5

The education and support received is top notch. I was in a grant program that offers financial services and they helped me purchase a car. I have never felt so supported and loved by an entire organization.

Laura357

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I cannot even begin to express my gratitude!! BTSADV was there for me when no other nonprofit was. I reached out to several and BTS is the only one who responded. They honor my Angel's all year long. Love you all sisters/brothers of BTS!

Previous Stories

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!

Read more

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Volunteering as the Holidays of Hope Coordinator for Break the Silence Against Domestic Violence (BTS) is fulfilling and an absolute honor! Not only does BTS strive to provide victims and survivors with services and resources, but also families who are affected by domestic violence. Additionally, what makes BTS so special and sets them apart from other organizations is their unconventional services and true dedication to victims, survivors, and families during times when they feel no one in the world could possibly understand or relate.

kcollins001

Client Served

Rating: 5

After the loss of my daughter to domestic violence Break the Silence stepped up and bought Christmas gifts for my grand daughters to ensure that they had a great Christmas!

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

Losing my daughter to domestic violence has been so very hard for our family. My daughter left behind two young girls ages 10 and 8. They miss their mama so much. This Christmas we received a blessing from Break the Silence by way of gifts for the girls! They were so excited to get what was on their wish list and so much more! Thank you so much Holidays of Hope for helping us make Christmas extra special for our grandaugters.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a thriving survivor, BTSADV was the first organization that gave me a platform to use my voice to tell my story of verbal and psychological abuse. Since that time, I have become the Director of the Angel Run 5k. The Angel Run allows us to honor those that have lost their lives at the hands of those that commit domestic violence. BTSADV gives a voice to those that no longer have theirs or are isolated from doing so. Thank you, BTSADV.

Previous Stories

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a survivor, you know the shame and secrets that come with a lifetime of scars that no one can see but that you always feel deeply. All I’ve known is blips of good marred by memories of pain, bruises and sadness. No one should ever endure violence - emotional, sexual or physical - but no one likes to talk about those “dirty things” either. Until I met Kristen, I hadn’t openly talked about the details of my abuse publicly. Kristen and BTSDV have helped me find strength and hope among the wreckage. I’m far from whole but I know now that I have sisters for a lifetime, no matter what anyone else sees or thinks. I found a place where I wasn’t pitied and I wasn’t shunned. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

cathygreen09

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a survivor of domestic violence. The reason I love this organization so much is because the help you get is from ANOTHER SURVIVOR. We all "get" what the other is going through. LOTS OF LOVE FOUND HERE!! All of us volunteers are survivors! We want to support others going through what we have gone through ♡♡♡

Amy J.2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Volunteering as a graphic designer for Break the Silence Against Domestic Violence (BTS) has been nothing but a blessing. Their mission is so beautiful and easy to get behind, that supporting and building their brand comes naturally. On top of making an amazing impact on the victims and loved ones of victims that we support, the people I work with never cease to amaze me with their genuine enthusiasm for the cause and their gratitude for the team. We all see the need for the work that we do, and despite how humbling the stories of our Angels and Survivors can be, we do our best to transform it into fuel for our cause. BTS is a vibrant organization overflowing with compassion and creativity, ensuring that all our voices are heard no matter who tries to silence us.

1 Jo B.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I attended the 2018 Survivor Retreat in Colorado Springs and WOW....it was incredible. Seriously, life changing. It was so well run, and I've never heard of anything like what they put on. There was so much healing and hope and encouragment. I could not recommend Break the Silence enough to anyone - if you need help, turn to them. If you can help, give to them - they are so worth it!

1 Danika H.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Tonight I share my story while tears roll down my face. I’ve been silent for a while as my children’s father passed away a year and half-ago. The silence was out of respect. But the ashes and memories of abuse don’t disappear. In the past year and a half I’ve had to deal with the following- my abuser getting a brain tumor and finally coming to terms with his abuse and admitting it to me, having full custody of my children after a 12 year court indused- abusive custody battle with him, him dying unexpectedly in a freak boating accident, my son almost dying in front of my eyes the same night we return from his dads funeral in a drug overdose and spending the next 3 days in the hospital staring at my sons face thinking I just watched him jump out of 3 story building and live. I’m tired. I’ve done everything to make my kids life better and keep them safe. I packed up my entire life 2 weeks after this incident and moved us to a different state to better his life. He is doing much better. You are you hang around. Yet, people keep being unkind. I’ve watched my exes insurance money go to his mom. He NEVER paid child support. I’ve watched my family throw me under the bus. I continue to have women in my company gaslighting me. My children have NO IDEA what I’ve been through with their dad or my family... Every other week some made up story to the court- he was sooo angry I left and so abusive- he needed to win- at any cost. He didn’t care about the kids or co-parenting but certainly made the courts believe that. As soon as we left the building it was back to bullying and gaslighting me. It was relentless. The courts never took the records from another state where he had punched me in the face or harrasssed me at night and broke in to my apartment. (I know you’re asking yourself then why did I have kids with him- that’s when you ask about my childhood and why I’m so f*** up). I finally threw my hands in the air and said I can’t be this stressed out and unhappy anymore. I asked the universe to keep my kids safe and took a job back in San Diego. That same year their dad called me and said, “my marriage is failing and Jake is the reason. You can have Jake but Max is staying with me.” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing but knew he was finally breaking down. I knew it was my only hope. I said ok. Knowing that I needed to save Jake (he had already ran away 3 times from his dads house and called me) and let Max know he could depend on me. I played the “game” with their dad and got Jake all set up. Rented a u haul, got him enrolled in school and let Max know we would visit every month ( which I made happen). The following months were interesting. A man (their dad) that acted so strong and sure of himself became increasingly disturbing. Their dad called me one night claiming, “Jennifer was a sl**” He went on to say how she had an affair with her sons baseball coach, etc. I just listened. Therapy had helped me how to deal with him. I thought to myself, “weird, you told everyone the same thing when I left you, yet I never cheated on you and you actually threatened to end my life.”
I immediately went to the the courthouse and pulled his divorce records and found a restraining order from his second wife (Jennifer) for similar reasons I had one. I used this and other evidence such as the juvenile attorney that referenced interaction with my children and their father and myself in interviewing. It was enough to make their dad finally after 13 years of fighting admit he was down. He had lost his job, his second marriage and his eldest son. The boys were in my custody after a court Oder, a psychotic breakdown of their dad in front of police when he tried to keep them from me in his apartment, and my sons attorney writing a letter to the judge of the fear my children had with their father. After the years of things I endured- being strangled, slapped, told I was a piece of s***, told no one would ever want me, had the remote flung to my head, was forced to have se*, wasn’t allowed to be gone from the house too long, had my clothes torn, the list goes on....and I was expected to suck it up, get to work and stay silent.
Part of me felt sad when he died because for the first time in 13 years he was nice again. The tumor, loss and his new girlfriend, Anne Marie had changed him. I mean truly changed him. I couldn’t believe it. Then he died that same week we laughed and cried about our kids for the first time in 13 years.
But everyone expects me to act like I experienced nothing. I can’t take it anymore. I’m sorry. I experienced my husband telling the courts I did drugs. I wish I had! I was a total fitness freak and drugs are gross! But because I’m skinny and fit they believed him. I experienced my ex-husband making up stories about me every time I took I breath. He gaslighted me. He took advantage of me knowing I was loving and had a big heart. He knew I wasn’t capable of dealing with a manipulater and knew I would become emotionally distressed. He knew I am an incredible mother. He said when I left him- “you will never have these kids and live in a cardboard box.”
Who says that to their kids mother? I stayed home, breastfed, doted on my kids. They are my WORLD. And he took that from me.
I’m not playing victim. I’m tired of being silent. I’m tired of acting like this never happened.

Vianney R.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The retreat help me a lot I have been in group counseling and therapy a year before the retreat but I was still ashamed of the things my ex forced me to do and I had only told my therapist about it but in the retreat I opened up to some ladies there and they were supportive and caring and i never felt judged because it was never my fault

2 Amber Pettyqueen J.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

They have reached out to me so quickly to share my story and get involved you have women willing to. Listen and get you help with the situation your IN this is my first time hearing about this program and I hope I can get involved I've been a domestic survivor all my life and I think this program can help me and other women like me who have been in horrible accidents I do have a voice and it will be heard graphic photos below trigger warning but I'm a survivor thanks for this group listening and reaching out

Rachel M.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am a fifteen year old who is a child of domestic violence and the daughter of a Grants of Hope recipient. I was excited and surprised when I found out that BTS wanted to send me Christmas gifts this year through their Holidays of Hope program. I did not want many gifts this year, I just wanted one thing that I had been needing for a while: a laptop. I knew my mom could not afford to buy me a laptop and I needed one a lot for school. Though I asked for a laptop in any condition, even a used one, I did not expect BTS to be able to provide me with my lofty request. I was shocked when a big box showed up on my doorstep! It's size and the letter attached suggested it was a laptop, which had shown up just in time, so I could type up a essay that was due in a few days. Words cannot describe how thankful and touched I am for such a generous gift from my sponsor Jamie and this wonderful organization that supports families like mine. When you support BTS, you support kids like me. Thank you!

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

1

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!!