Domestic violence happens at all ages. At SHALVA, we have always had a few older clients, but recently more women over 70 have been coming for counseling. #Metoo has been a big reason for this trend. “Those girls were so brave. It gave me the courage to pick up the phone and ask for help,” said one client.
Why does someone stay in an abusive relationship for so long? As another survivor stated:
“It’s hard to leave the relationship because you’ve invested so many years…And you just don’t give up something like that and admit that you failed…You thought you were going to reform him in all these years and you didn’t. So giving up is a heavy thing. It can leave an older person feeling really bad about herself…”
Sue* has been married to an abusive man for 35 years. Years of abuse destroyed her confidence and she blamed herself for her unhappy life and her children’s problems. After hearing so many #Metoo stories, Sue knew she didn’t want to do this for the rest of her life. At age 72, she picked up her phone and called SHALVA. “If not now, when?” she asked herself. Now, she is working weekly with her SHALVA counselor to rebuild her self-esteem, understand why she stayed and learn to forgive herself. “It has been a tremendous help to have your support. Thank you!”
*Name has been changed to protect confidentiality.