Ask Ava

Ask Ava, Episode 171: "What should I do if my partner threatens to hurt my family?"

July 20, 2023 Safe+Sound Somerset Season 1 Episode 171
Ask Ava
Ask Ava, Episode 171: "What should I do if my partner threatens to hurt my family?"
Show Notes Transcript

Episode 171: "What should I do if my partner threatens to hurt my family?"

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You’re listening to the Ask Ava Podcast, where we give real answers to real questions from teens and young adults about relationships, consent, dating violence, and more.

My name is Jessica Skultety. I’m an Outreach and Prevention Manager at Safe+Sound Somerset. We are Somerset County, New Jersey’s lead organization for domestic and sexual violence services and prevention, and we have free services for children, teens, and adults who witness or experience violence.

Today’s question is: Dear Ava, What should I do if my partner threatens to hurt my family?

Threats are really scary. Even if your partner hasn’t hurt anyone or anything, you don’t know what will happen. Sometimes it will come off as a joke, and sometimes it will be really serious or sound really serious. If they threaten to hurt someone, that could be a friend, you, themselves, a family member. And none of this is okay.

When someone threatens, it takes away the other person’s power and control in the relationship. That means they lose the ability to make choices for themselves, to set boundaries, and to give or take away consent. They might also lose the ability to leave the relationship safely because this other person is threatening them. This is not okay, and it’s a huge warning sign of an abusive and unsafe relationship.

If you’re able to say so, you could tell your partner that the threats are not okay, and it’s not funny to say that. But, if your partner is threatening, it may not be safe for you to challenge them back. Trust your gut.

When people ask us this question, we always say: get someone else involved right away, like a trusted adult. We realize that might be hard to do, but it’s important. You might want to call 911. Take threats seriously even if they sound like a joke. And you could even call 911 with a trusted adult together.

Write down and document everything that has happened or been said. You can sreenshot social media messages or texts, and keep track of whatever your partner has said in person. You can call our helpline to see if you’re able to get something like a legal protection order or restraining order.

It can be really hard. Take care of yourself. Reach out to someone like a trusted adult or our helpline, or the National Domestic Violence Hotline if you’re outside of Somerset County, NJ. You don’t have to go through this alone.

To speak with an expert about relationship or sexual violence, call or text the Safe+Sound Somerset 24/7 confidential helpline at 866-685-1122 for supportive listening, information, and safety planning. In the United States, you can also call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233, or the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-4673.  

Want to “Ask Ava” a question? Submit it at www.safe-sound.org/ask-ava. Thank you for listening today. Join us next time here on Ask Ava.