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Dear Mary: I'm so scared of my violent wife that I just want to die

QI am a foreigner in Ireland married with three kids. I came here first and then my wife joined me. My problem is that she is quick to start fights and is very violent and sometimes pushes me to show her that I am a man.

She threatens to kill me, she has tried stabbing me and throwing plates at me when we have a quarrel. She even pulled the steering wheel while I was driving.

She threatens that if I touch her she will tell the authorities that I assaulted her.

I am constantly worried that I may be thrown out of the house that I pay for. I'm so sick of this marriage that I just want either to die or to go back home.

She doesn't want a divorce or to go back home and I don't want to leave my children here because she goes out leaving them with the eldest who is only 14.

I don't know that my children would be safe if I went. I'm the one who brings them for their outdoor games -- if I don't, she won't. She always tells me that she wants a rich man, and she's only nice to me when I'm paid.

Will the Irish government protect me if not my kids? I am sick of my wife, please help.

APeople may be surprised to read your story, but there were more than 4,000 calls last year to AMEN which is a voluntary group providing a confidential helpline and support service to male victims of domestic abuse, and nine per cent of those calls were from non-nationals.

The expectation is that when there is spousal abuse it is from the male to the female, but these figures show that this assumption is not true.

Of course, your situation is complicated by the fact that you are not in your own country.

But you have to ask yourself what you would do if you were in the same situation back home.

As well as you being frightened for your own safety, it is very damaging for the children to witness violence of any sort.

It is also worrying that young children are put at risk by being left in the hands of a 14-year-old.

Your letter raises a lot of complicated issues and so I urge you to explore every avenue in order to bring about change in your life.

A good place to start would be by contacting AMEN on 046-9023718 or visiting their website at www.amen.ie.

Submit your letters to Mary anonymously at dearmary.ie.

Sunday Indo Living