When Your Partner Threatens Suicide

 “I’ll kill myself if you leave me.”

It seems like a no-win situation. When someone you’re close to says something like this, it can feel like the world just stopped spinning.

People who have a mental illness, such as Borderline Personality Disorder, typically have a higher risk for suicide. Depression, a history of substance abuse, and other disorders carry risks as well. If your partner truly wishes to die and has a plan and intention to follow through, get immediate help. Call your local emergency number, or call the National Suicide Prevention Helpline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

But what if your boyfriend or girlfriend regularly threatens suicide, particularly whenever you’re not doing something he or she wants you to do? First, understand that this is a form of emotional abuse: your partner is trying to manipulate you by playing on your feelings of love and fear for them. You might get angry when this happens, but you also might feel stuck giving in to them in order to avoid a potential tragedy. When your partner makes these threats repeatedly, there are steps you can take to protect yourself and possibly help your partner as well:

Tell your partner you care about them, but stick to your boundaries. Giving in to threats over and over does not make a relationship healthy, and it only allows anger and resentment to build on your end. You could say something like, “You know I care about you very much, and I understand you’re upset right now, but I will not _____.”

Put the choice to live or die where it belongs – on your partner. You can’t be responsible for another person’s actions, no matter what – and this includes when your partner chooses to be abusive. Say something like, “I think our relationship should be based on love and respect, not threats. I really care about you, but this is your choice and I can’t stop you from making it.”

Remember that no matter what your partner says, you don’t have to prove anything. Even though they might be saying something like, “If you really loved me, you’d stop me from killing myself,” the real truth is that there are unhealthy patterns in your relationship. Until those unhealthy patterns are addressed, they will most likely continue no matter how many times you give in to your partner’s demands.

Keep in mind that if your partner often says they’re going to kill themselves when things aren’t going their way, they’re not showing you love or a romantic gesture – they’re likely trying to control your actions. If this is the case, think about the tips above and try to get help where you can. You might try talking to a trusted family member, a school counselor, or other professional therapist. But remember, you are not your partner’s counselor, and you can’t force your partner to get help if they don’t want to. They have to make that choice for themselves.

Get in touch with one of our advocates by phone, chat, or text 24/7 if you need to talk or find additional support in your area. We’re here for you!

via loveisrespect.org

Domestic Violence Awareness Campaign Sparks Tattoo Trend

Survivors of domestic violence from around the country have been getting “Forever BTS” tattoos, reminding themselves and others to “Break the Silence”

By Monica Garske

A San Diego-based domestic violence organization has found support and solidarity in survivors – and in the ink on their bodies.

Break the Silence Against Domestic Violence (BTS) aims to provide programs and services for victims and survivors of domestic violence.

In a growing campaign dubbed “SurvivorINK BTS,” founder Kristen Paruginog says survivors across the country have been getting tattoos with the letters “BTS” as a symbol of their strength.

Across the country, tattoo artists have been busy with the campaign. In San Diego, Paruginog says a local tattoo artist, Tattoos by Ceez, has been participating in the campaign. As a contractor for various shops, Paruginog says the artist inks the “Forever BTS” tattoo on residents across the county.

As part of the campaign, the organization is asking tattoo artists around the world to tattoo the infinity symbol with the letters “BTS” on participating supporters and donate the proceeds from the ink work back to the organization. The group is asking tattoo artists to charge a minimum of $30 for the ink.

The proceeds will be used to continue to fund the organization’s mission to inspire survivors or domestic violence, child abuse and sexual assault by breaking the silence and empowering those individuals to embark on new beginnings for a healthy, self-sufficient life.

According to BTS, the tattoo campaign will last as long as it takes to make a difference. There is no time limit.

Over the past few months, the organization has received photos of “Forever BTS” tattoos from around the U.S., each with its own personal story.

For instance, a survivor from Massachusetts said she got the symbol on her right wrist because “it’s a well-seen spot to bring up awareness and you have to raise your right hand to be sworn in to testify in court, which I’ll be doing.”

Another domestic violence survivor from California said she got the ink to remind her of the best decision she ever made.

“This may be the smallest tattoo I have, but it has the most meaning. ‘Break the Silence’ are the three most powerful words. ‘Break the Silence’ not only helped me get my life back, but saved not just my own life but my daughter’s life! I wear my tattoo very proudly because I am a survivor.”

BTS has created a running photo album on its Facebook page of “Forever BTS” tattoos from around the country, meant to inspire more unity and strengthen the bond among survivors of domestic violence.

To learn more about BTS, including how to volunteer with the organization, visit this website.

via  NBC San Diego

Ten Warning Signs of Teen Dating Violence

Ten Warning Signs of Teen Dating Violence

  • History of discipline problems.
  • Blames you for his/her anger.
  • Serious drug or alcohol use.
  • History of violent behavior.
  • Threatens others regularly.
  • Insults you or calls you names.
  • Trouble controlling feelings like anger.
  • Tells you what to wear, what to do or how to act.
  • Threatens or intimidates you in order to get their way.
  • Prevents you from spending time with friends or family.

Could you be in an abusive relationship?
Create a Safety Plan!

  • Do you know an adult that you can trust?
  • Plan in advance to have a safe place to go.
  • Keep money and your cell phone or calling card with you at all times.
  • Memorize important phone numbers – cell phones are sometimes taken by abusers.
  • Establish a code word or sign so that family, friends, teachers and co-workers know when to call for help.
1-866-331-9474
1-866-331-8453
(TTY for deaf/hearing impaired)
National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline

via “Jennifer Ann’s Group”

Francesca’s Story

* Note from The Hotline: Special thanks to Francesca for bravely sharing her story with us.*

Living with a man like my ex-husband is like having a gun pointed at your head every single day, and you just don’t know when the gun is going to go off.

I am writing to tell my story – of how I have been a victim and survivor of repeated, relentless domestic violence – and to bring the weaknesses in the justice system and the general lack of knowledge in the community about domestic violence to your attention.

I married my ex-husband in October of 2005 thinking that he was a kind, gentle, compassionate, and caring man. Not until I was pregnant with our child did I see his true character. When I was about six months pregnant, he slapped me across my face, leaving me with a black eye and knocking me to the ground. Luckily nothing happened to my baby, but the abuse did not end there. At the time, I was living in Ecuador. I was trapped and scared.

My daughter was born in June of 2007, and we traveled to the U.S. permanently in August of 2007. Once there he did not hold back. Just three weeks after arriving in the U.S., there had already been three calls made to the police on domestic disputes, and he was arrested after battering me while I had our infant daughter in my arms. As I tried to call 9-1-1, he ripped the phone cord out of the wall. He threatened me that if I testified against him that he would kill me, and I believed him.

Rape was a regular occurrence in our home, and I cannot count the number of times I laid in bed crying as he raped me. He also strangled me on a regular basis, slammed my head into the walls of our home, leaving large holes, tortured me sexually, mentally, psychologically, and ruined me financially.

He hit our three your old daughter in the face, leaving a large bruise, then kept her home from day care for several days until the bruise was no longer visible. He put her head through our bathroom wall, which was reported to the Illinois DCFS (Department of Children and Family Services). DCFS decided that he did, in fact, abuse our daughter, but they did not pursue the case any further.

I tried so hard to protect her from him, but every time he would hit her, I would step in, and receive my own beating on her behalf. I did not report it since I was sure he would kill me or kidnap my daughter if I did.

Perhaps one of the worst parts of this whole story is that he almost killed me. Actually, he did kill me, but thankfully doctors were able to revive me. In this particular incident we were involved in a heated discussion because I had to leave Ecuador to return to the U.S. for medical school and my graduate work in biochemistry. He had not obtained a visa to come to the U.S. at that point, and threatened to divorce me if I did not stay with him in Ecuador. He grabbed my wrists, screamed at me, and then threatened me with a screwdriver. I walked home knowing that I would divorce him, and knowing that I had a flight back to the U.S. in about three days. I laid down to take a nap, and did not wake up until four days later.

I was on a ventilator in the hospital, and they informed me that I had undergone cardiac arrest on several occasions. The coma was so profound that I received the lowest rating on the Glasgow coma scale. It is truly a miracle that I survived.

It is my firm belief that my ex-husband poisoned me with scopolamine, a common date rape drug in parts of Latin America. He called my medical school and told them I had tried to kill myself, instead of giving them the true story, which then led to me being expelled from school. He has sabotaged my career, my jobs, did not allow me to have any friends or family in my life, destroyed my home and beat my pets

When I have told my story to friends and family, a few people’s reaction is to ask why I didn’t leave sooner, or they simply don’t believe me at all. It is a shock to me how undereducated the public is on domestic violence.

People do not understand how difficult it is to escape. It is almost impossible to gather evidence, because the abuser will find a way to destroy it. No one on the outside knows what is happening because the abuser has the victim trapped and alone. He cuts her off from all outside interaction, and attempts to control her mind, and in many cases, he is successful.

If a woman does manage to escape, the justice system does little to help or protect her. I have had a domestic violence advocate tell me that there is only a 50/50 chance that someone will get convicted of domestic battery in my county, even in cases where there are bloody pictures, good witnesses, hospital reports, and other evidence. This is why women cannot simply just walk out the door. It is a real life or death risk to leave a man that believes he owns you. You could, and many have, die in the process. 4 out of 5 deaths due to domestic battery occur when a woman tries to leave.

I am asking for your help to educate the public on these issues. Women are beaten every day by their husbands, and it is a misdemeanor. You can get a felony charge for getting in a bar fight, but if you beat your wife, the justice system is sending a message that you will only get a slap on the wrist, if even that.

One of the most difficult problems I think battered women and children face is that the abuser isolates the victim to the point where most of the time there are no eyewitnesses. Because of this, it makes these cases very difficult to prosecute, but even worse, it makes the state’s attorney’s office reluctant to even pursue it because they see it as a waste of money and resources.

Domestic violence is NOT a family matter. It is everyone’s business. It affects us all even if we are not directly abused. Women should be able to speak out against their abusers. They should be able to bring their abusers to justice. The public should be educated about what it means to be battered, and why it is so difficult to escape. With stiffer punishments, and better prevention, many women would be able to leave sooner. PLEASE help me and all women fight for what is fundamentally right.

via  The National Domestic Violence Hotline

Tax Relief for Survivors

March 10, 2014 – by 

tax-options

Tax season is no one’s favorite time of the year – and an abusive relationship (whether you’re in one, planning on leaving, or have recently left) complicates it even further.

Fortunately, there are a few economic resources that can be powerful tools in changing your circumstances for the better. Filing tax returns and seeking income tax credit refunds can help you pull together funds that may be needed to leave an abusive relationship or begin financial independence after leaving.

This may seem like a difficult process, but it’s doable! If you’re not familiar with filing taxes, check out the Get Help section at the bottom of this post for resources.

When and why should you file a tax return?

  • When you have a certain amount of income – either your own or, if married, the income of a spouse
  • To receive tax benefits (i.e. refund or tax credits)
  • To establish a separate tax “existence” from a spouse or ex
  • To help save up money (ex. if you’re planning on leaving)

Concerns about tax refunds

What are your rights?

  • To see and understand the entire return before signing a joint return
  • To refuse to sign a joint return (married people don’t have to file together)
  • To request an automatic 4-month extension of time to file
  • To get copies of prior year returns from the IRS

Three Federal Tax Credits You May be Eligible For:

1) Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)

  • This is a wage supplement for low- and moderate-income workers.
  • You must have some earned income.
  • You must be a citizen, legal resident, or be married to one.
  • You must have a valid SSN.
  • Can claim this if you file as “Married Filing Jointly,” “Single,” “Head of Household,” but NOT “Married Filing Separately”
  • To claim children with this, the child must be related, adopted or a foster child. The child must live with you for over half the year. The child must be under 19 (24 if a student, and no age limit if disabled)
  • EITC is not counted as income in most public benefit programs including: TANF, SSI, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (Food Stamps), Medicaid, CHIP, and federally assisted housing. Receipt of the credit will not affect your eligibility for such benefits. Read more about keeping your benefits.

2) Child Tax Credit

  • This is intended to help offset some costs of raising children.
  • You can claim up to $1,000 per child. The child must be claimed as a dependent, and the age limit is 17.
  • Married survivors can file jointly or separately.
  • If you don’t owe enough taxes to use all of the Child Tax Credit, you may be eligible for a refund.

3) Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit

  • This can help you meet your child and dependent care expenses.
  • The care has to be employment-related (If money was spent on childcare while a parent was working or looking for work)
  • The percentage of eligible expenses you can claim is based on adjusted gross income.

Three Types of Relief You May Be Eligible For:

1) Innocent Spouse Relief
If you’re faced with tax debt or burden because of something your spouse did wrong on a jointly filed tax return, you could be eligible for this. There are different categories and different procedures for filing.

2) Relief By Separation
This involves separating the understatement of tax (plus interest and penalties) on your joint return between you and your (former or current) spouse

3) Equitable Relief
You may still be relieved of responsibility for tax/interest/penalties through this type of relief if you are not eligible for the other types.

Get Help

Further Resources

Everyone’s circumstances are different, so we encourage you to consult the resources in this post and take advantage of the programs designed to help with your situation. While our advocates at the hotline are not able to give legal or tax advice, we can talk to you about what’s going on, discuss possible courses of action, and refer you to the best resources for legal help. Feel free to give us a call anytime, 24/7, at 1-800-799-7233.

via The National Domestic Violence Hotline

Our Life Was Once Chaotic…

Our life was once chaotic

“He thought he could destroy us. He thought we wouldn’t make it this far.  He thought he had total control. He thought we were less than him.  He thought I would never leave him. He thought wrong.  My little one and I have been so much happier than we have ever been.  Life Goes on! To be continued . . .”   DV Survivor