I went to the Million Women Rise March yesterday. It was a very special demonstration. We gathered on Oxford Street in the middle of the Saturday shopping crowd. The banners and placards were calling for women to join together to globally end male violence against women and girls. The protestors were in the majority young women and all the minority communities were represented. I am conditioned now to spot older women in any gathering and of course there were quite a few of us on this march. But none were representing old women as a group.
Before going to the march I looked for statistics about violence against older women. There seems to be none. After a certain age violence becomes abuse and neglect.
From http://www.womensaid.org.uk We do not know the extent to which older women are –
a) currently experiencing domestic violence
b) experiencing the consequences of past domestic violence (including permanent physical damage, disability, loss of confidence, confusion, depression and other mental health issues)
Old women are less likely to report violence: a) increased stigma or sense of shame b) different understandings of “abuse” c) belief that nothing can be done, and/or there is no appropriate service or help available d) fear of not being believed e) fear of consequences of any intervention f) (potential) responses of other family members, including adult children.
From http://www.helpageinternational.org: “Until governments recognise violence against older women is REAL and the perception o older women changes in society, communities and even by women themselves, the statistics will not change. Current international and national legislation needs to be tightened and include the wording “women of all ages” so that there are no legal loop holes.
I sported a sign saying :
VIOLENCE AGAINST OLDER WOMEN .
I was so surprised: it attracted the attention of many young women who asked for permission to take a photo.
My only regret was that I was not part of a group of old women.