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The foundation of any successful marriage is a combination of love, trust and respect. Unfortunately, these feelings can sometimes transform into aggression and even violence. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, one in three women has experienced violence at the hands of an intimate partner. If you are one of these people or afraid you might become one, you are not alone, and you can get help.

There are several important principles to keep in mind when you are dealing with a spouse you are afraid of. Consider the following three tips for responding to abuse and taking action that will help you become safe in the long-term.

Report any physical abuse

It is imperative to make the authorities aware of any physical abuse that takes place in your home. If and when you later separate from your spouse, this will likely be a major issue, but it will be even more complicated if no official record of the abuse exists. Contact the police and create as much documentation as possible any time you are a victim of violence. 

 

Prioritize children’s safety

If you have kids, dealing with an abusive partner is even more difficult, but it is also more important than ever. Even if your children never become the targets of violence, when they see you being victimized, it can normalize such abuse in their eyes. It is imperative that you get out of such a situation for the well-being of your offspring as well as yourself.

File for divorce

Ultimately, you cannot remain married to a person you are afraid of. Though filing for divorce may be heartbreaking, it sometimes is the only way to ensure your future safety. It is important, however, to first establish yourself in a safe and secure place — apart from your spouse — so that he cannot inflict any harm or retaliate when he hears of the intent to separate.