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As more news about R&B performer Chris Brown’s alleged assault on singer Rihanna comes our way, we ask the question, is it easier to walk away or stay with a partner who is violent?

I’m sure most of us know someone who has been in an abusive relationship and while it’s not an easy subject to discuss, we need to make our young women aware that you do not need to stay and subject yourself to being abused. Men are just as likely to be victims of domestic violence as women. The National Violence Against Women survey (National Institute of Justice/Centers for Disease Control) estimates 1.5 million women and 835,000 men battered each year.

Here are some high profile examples where women broke free from their abusive relationships:

The Chris Brown/Rihanna incident comes just two days after the end of National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Week, a three-year-old effort to get out the warning signs about violence among young people (16-24) in relationships.

Among those signs, according to experts, are intense jealousy, excessive text messaging or calling, monitoring calls or e-mails, frequently showing up unannounced, telling the other person what to do or wear, publicly embarrassing your partner, frequent accusations of “cheating” or flirting, keeping your partner from doing things they enjoy, and threats of suicide or self-injury in the event of a breakup.

Here are some ways to get out of an abusive relationship:

1) See the warning signs: Humiliation, Isolation, Threats, Intimidation, Denial and Blame.

If any of these sound familiar go here for more.

2) Change your cell phone or home phone number immediately after you’ve escaped the situation.

3) Change your everyday routine. Take a new route to work or leave your home at a different time every day. These changes may help prevent your abuser from stalking you.

4) Speak with a family law advocate at your local crisis center. He or she can help you press charges against the perpetrator, file a temporary restraining order and advise you on how to seek a permanent restraining order.

5) Arrange to meet the abuser in a public place, if necessary. While it’s best to avoid the abuser completely, if you must exchange documents or personal effects, do it in broad daylight where plenty of people are around. Even better, have some friends make the exchange for you or ask them to accompany you if you must meet with the abuser.

If you’re in an abusive relationship and need to find out where to go for help, click here for more information.

Do you know any young women who are in or have been in abusive relationships? Tell us your story.

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