Relationship abuse is a pattern of behavior used to maintain control over an intimate partner or spouse. It’s important to recognize the signs of domestic abuse and to protect yourself if you are being abused. Remember that you are not alone: Intimate Partner Violence, or IPV, affects 12 million people per year in the United States. But getting out of an abusive relationship isn’t easy. It’s important to think about your safety, and, if you have a family, the safety of your children. If you or your family members are in immediate danger, it’s important that you call 911 or your local emergency service.
Here are some resources to help you find the strength to break out of an abusive marriage. (A reminder, though: Be aware that your abuser can view what websites you visit on your home computer. Consider using your work computer or an internet cafe for your research.)
The National Domestic Violence Hotline has dedicated advocates and staff on call 24/7 that are trained to help callers deal with domestic violence. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services also has resources for abuse victims. The U.S. Office of Women’s Health is another great avenue with its complete list of resources.
Local Referral Organizations
In Maryland, the Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence can help connect you to local resources. In Virginia, the Virginia Sexual & Domestic Violence Action Alliance serves as an advocacy group and resource provider, while there are a number of in-person support groups in Maryland and Virginia.
If you’re experiencing domestic abuse in an LGBTQ+ relationship, the Anti-Violence Project provides support for LGBTQ, as well as HIV-positive survivors of different types of abuse, including intimate partner violence and sexual violence.
If you’re thinking about leaving your abusive partner, it’s important to get knowledgeable professional legal advice.